From the Editor

"Boondocks" vs. "Harlem River"

By Charles Michael Byrd
C. Byrd
(Photo by Lynn Goldsmith)

The current uproar over Aaron McGruder's "Boondocks" comic strip brings to mind the decades-old question of whether "blacks" can be racist. Since the 1960s, the radical-left has posited that while "blacks" are certainly capable of being prejudiced or bigoted against other individuals or groups of individuals, they cannot be racist because the power element is lacking from the equation. What equation am I referring to? The one that reads: Racism = Race Prejudice + Power. Since "blacks," as permanent victims of "white" oppression here in America, lack the political and economic power necessary to enforce their racial prejudice or bigotry, they cannot possibly manifest any truly racists acts toward anyone.

To this day, that lame dogma continues to provide cover for attitudes and actions that any thinking person would interpret as racist. Leading the pack of those who refuse to acknowledge Spike Lee's ability (read: power) to bankroll a film, "Jungle Fever," that denigrates interracial romance and marriage for the racism it is are Caucasians who, inexplicably, feel guilty about slavery. They don't dare speak against it for fear of someone calling them racists. For the same reason they will not open their mouths about Aaron McGruder's ability (read: power) to portray multiracial females as confused (don't they know they're 100% "black") cutie-pies in a nationally syndicated comic strip. Do I even have to go into the NAACP's ability (read: power) to thwart the multiracial Census initiative? I didn't think so.

Contrariwise, "blacks" certainly recognize the existence of the equation's power element but are too busy delighting in and celebrating their new found mastery to notice what they have become -- a one-hundred and eighty degree opposite number of that which they have so long fought against. If, then, the only individuals willing to open their mouths about it are self-identified multiracials, so be it.

Now, I can't draw worth a damn, but suppose I collaborated with someone on a comic strip that we'll call "Harlem River." The main character or protagonist, my good buddy Cat Michaels, self-identifies as mixed, multiracial, mulatto or whatever. While walking through the upper east side of Manhattan, he approaches a man we'll name Joe who self-identifies as "black." The following dialogue, regarding contemporary identity politics, ensues through the strip's panels:

Panel #1
Joe: "I'm a black man."

Cat: "No you're not. I mean have you ever seen anyone the color of coal or snow? Exactly what part of you, besides your shoes, is black, Joe? 'Black' people are actually a shade of brown as all humans are."

Panel #2
Joe: (Looking up from his feet, fairly glaring at Cat) "Man, what I mean is, I'm a member of the black race. I'm part of the African Diaspora, the global black community."

Cat: "Race has no scientific validity, Joe, and were you actually born in Africa? Obviously, you can call yourself what you want, but at least give some thought to the labels we all use to identify ourselves, names we use to present ourselves to the world at large. Nowadays, 'black' and 'white' are just political identifiers. Okay, Joe?"

Panel #3
Joe: "Well I don't know about all that political stuff, but I'll keep it in mind. Later."

With that, Cat watches as Joe trots back onto the nearby basketball court for another game of HORSE, confused as ever about this thing called "blackness."

Since this is just a harmless comic strip -- to mimic McGruder's supporters -- should I expect no outcry from the "black" community, or is that an extremely naive notion? First, no newspaper in America would run it, because it is politically-incorrect. It does not buy into the prevailing mindset that "mixed" is synonymous with "black," and most newspaper editors will go out of their way not to offend self-identified "blacks" as well as the civil rights industry.

Second, do I believe America's newspapers should ban "Boondocks" from their comic sections? Absolutely not. As a libertarian who believes that the free speech prerogative must reign supreme, I wholeheartedly support McGruder's right to promote whatever race-based credo he desires. Let us also not forget that many within the "black" power establishment -- as well as their allies both in the media and in the United States government -- would dearly love to see Interracial Voice and our sister websites go out of business for good.

Aaron McGruder, however, is in dire need of a good dose of enlightenment vis--vis the question of power. The young man is wielding it in a racist manner that those on the left, the right and in the middle can plainly see.



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