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Fox News Does The "Scary Black Man" Thing - Again!

Reported by Priscilla - May 12, 2011 -

Since the days of Jim Crow, the forces that seek to strengthen the racist ties that bind have worked relentlessly to create a mythology of an African American male as a brutish creature who menaces innocent white folks - in other words, a scary black man. DW Griffith's pro-Confederacy movie, "Birth of a Nation," portrayed the black man as a primitive schemer intent on robbing white women of their virginity. During the following decades, the image of the black man was that of a threatening thug. The very existence of the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers struck fear into the hearts of a white America which ignored the growing threats of a violent white militia and anti-abortion movement. Flash forward to the 21st century. The Jim Crow mentality is alive and well (at least on Fox Nation) and Fox News is still playing that fear of the scary black man card - and now that there is a scary black man in the White House, who is (gasp) hosting another scary black man (a scary black rapper), the ante had been upped! Ain't it America for you and me...

The Fox News coverage of the New Black Panther so called "voter intimidation" played to these fears and caused Fox contributor Kirsten Powers to accuse Megyn Kelly of fomenting the fear of the "scary black man." But what really embodies the modern "scary black man" is the rap artist. This music was born from the deprivations and depredations of the brutal world of the black inner city - a place where it wasn't "morning again in America." As such, it presents a view of life which is alien and, as such, threatening to Fox audience types who also view our first African American president as alien and threatening. So when it was announced that a black rapper was going to perform at the White House, Fox News pulled out all the propaganda stops in a full blown hate-a-palooza. Not only was this an opportunity to bash the president and further the meme of "us vs. them" (or literally, black vs. white); but it was an opportunity to remind Fox "America" about those "scary black men."

Media Matters has a compilation of Fox attacks on Chicago rapper "Common," described in the headline of a Fox Nation lede article as a "Defender and Promoter of Cop Killing." The article referenced how, OMG, Common supported the scary black man and former Obama preacher Rev. Wright who had been his preacher for many years. Meanwhile Fox contributor Sarah Palin was all a twitterin about this outrage. That Common rapped about violence seemed to be a big problem for those who had no problem with the vile, violent things that right wing singer and Mike Huckabee pal Ted Nugent said about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now I realize that Nugent never performed at the White House; but the Bush White House did have, as a guest, a male prostitute so go figure! The lyrics that had the Fox right wing's white panties in a bunch were included in one of the Fox Nation articles. And yes, they were rough; but they were rapped from the perspective of a young black man for whom America had not been exceptional. As said on Huffpo:

"It shouldn't take a genius to explain what's going on in this poem: It is what the title suggests, a "letter" to the source of moral authority written from the perspective of inner city black youths who feel that the police don't protect them, that the media loves to blow up and then tear down their community's celebrities and that the government has been acting more gangsta -- in terms of their invasion/occupation of Iraq -- than they could ever hope. There's an obvious sad note at the end, that the writers of this "letter" might perpetuate the cycle of decline themselves, but the hope is that, by seeking knowledge over violence, they might prevail. (The reference to "My Uzi Weighs A Ton" is key, here: Common is referencing an old Public Enemy song that posits that the mind is the greatest weapon.)"

But Fox did get called out on their hypocrisy. We pointed out that Common had been praised by Fox as being a "conscious rapper." Jon Stewart did a brilliant take down on the whole thing.

And Common rapped at the White House with lyrics which included the thought that "it's hard to see blessings in a violent world."

But Fox News seeks to overcome that violence by bringing people together. Just kidding. Fox "News" - America's Newsroom - no scary black men!

Some video of Common's performance:

Editor's Note: In several places in this post, "Common" was incorrectly referred to as "Comfort." That has been corrected.

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