Wednesday, April 30, 2014
My Interview With Homeboy Sandman About Sterling
Image courtesy of Gawker.com I thought the most brilliant, most necessary, and most important response to the Donald Sterling incident was Homeboy Sandman’s article posted Monday on Gawker.com called “Black People Are Cowards.” I also agree that the NBA players should boycott until all public schools in urban cities are reopened and all prisons are closed since Obama’s inauguration. If Wall Street really cares about ending racism, they would do this. I asked Homeboy to respond to Alan Silver’s disciplinary action against Sterling yesterday and to Kimberly Foster’s article “Who’s A Coward” and got these responses in an email this morning. I am most grateful for his feedback, especially to my third question. –RF. RF: What is your reaction to the NBA banning Sterling from owning the Clippers? Does this change your argument that the Clippers or the NBA should be boycotted? HS: I think that the owner of a playoff team making racist remarks, during the playoffs, while the team had a game to play during his tenure, provided a phenomenal opportunity for a show of force. I feel that now that Sterling has been removed, that that particular window of opportunity has closed. RF: How do you respond to Kimberly N Foster's article "Who's A Coward"? HS: I appreciate her passion and her taking the time to voice her opinion. It appears that her and I look at risk differently. I'm concerned with the risk of being oppressed on this planet forever. She appears more concerned with financial security. A difference in priorities. To be fair, she also voices a risk of losing life. I think that life is way more important than finances. However, I personally think that me losing my life would be much less of a disaster than black people being oppressed on this planet forever (or at least until we're wiped out). I also disagree with her assertion that people, specifically myself, who were unhappy with the lack of protest (or "silent protest" as some have called it) are not making the same demands of the racists holding power. Demanding respect from the racists holding power is exactly what my piece is all about. A request is not enough. An appeal is not enough. A plea is not enough. My piece is a call to the oppressed to demand our respect. Is she suggesting that I demand the same thing of the people in power? How would that work? Demand that they demand from themselves that they stop being racist? Okay. I demand that too. I think demanding that looks a lot like the thing I was originally trying to demand though. I also disagree with her that audacity involves a safety net. That's the whole point of audacity. There is no safety net. That's what makes it audacious instead of safe. Lacking the safety net to cultivate audacity is like lacking the water to cultivate fire. I definitely disagree with her that black men who averted their eyes when whites walked by weren't being cowardly. That's actually an example that I might use if i were trying to explain to someone exactly what the word "cowardly" means. Isn't that a perfect example? Why is it so bad for me to say that? I feel sympathy for those men. They were in a horrific circumstance that I'm very blessed to not be in. That doesn't change the fact that they were cowards. I'm not trying to insult anybody. If I can't state the plain truth, then what's the point? I also disagree with her that Sallie Mae has any jurisdiction over anyone's life at all. Sallie Mae is another bully that can kiss my ass and that I believe everyone should tell to kiss their ass (yes, despite risk of negative consequences). That's the only way we're going to put an end to the ridiculous student loan scam that's being run in this country. I'm also confused at how she could be thankful for the Fannys, Rosas, and Ellas, while simultaneously taking a position making it abundantly clear that if any woman attempted to spur movements the magnitude of theirs today that she would find them unreasonable, unrealistic, and self righteous to the point of suggesting that they weren't even human (given her assertion that the Clippers' decision to stage a silent "protest" and play is what makes them human. Would choosing not to play have meant they weren't human? Is she implying that willingness to sacrifice is itself a nonhuman trait? I disagree. Not only are those women human but they're three of the most courageous humans to have ever lived. If she's pissed at me, imagine the fury she'd have had for them). I'm also not sure why she keeps insinuating that I have nothing at stake. I'm an independent artist who's livelihood is predicated entirely on the hip hop community supporting me, who just released an article titled "Black People Are Cowards." Is that not risky enough for you? I'm not sure that I agree with her that we can't dismantle racism ourselves (in a situation where there is a bully and a bullied it appears to me that either can bring an end to the situation independent of the other; the bully by ceasing to bully, or the bullied by choosing to stand up for him or herself). However, assuming for the sake of argument that we can't dismantle racism ourselves, is she arguing that since we can't do it ourselves that we are absolved from responsibility to do anything at all? I don't see how anything is going to get solved that way. Lastly, I was surprised when she said that she hopes that people who experience oppression will seize opportunities to disrupt the status quo, since she'd spent the entirety of the piece up to that point making the argument that that wasn't really their responsibility. RF: How do you respond to the argument that you are getting paid by wealthy white men who believe what Sterling believes but would never say it? HS: I'm pretty sure Peanut Butter Wolf doesn't feel that way. RF: How do you respond to the argument that it is pointless to try to build a boycott because the U.S. government will simply remove by assassination or imprisonment any leaders encouraging this, like they did to Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, or Malcolm X's grandson? HS: There are people who believe that the achievements of those men are pointless? Yikes. RF: Are you prepared to relinquish your record deal for the same cause that you think the Clippers should fight for? Explain. HS: I'm willing to relinquish everything. I love being alive, but I'd never want to be alive without loving it.