Prison for Bad Pigs

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less." -- Eldridge Cleaver I should've known it would be a bust. My brother wasn't even there. Randy is the Original Negro Tour Guide. He's

Apr 12, 2001 at 2:06 pm

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less."

— Eldridge Cleaver

I should've known it would be a bust. My brother wasn't even there.

Randy is the Original Negro Tour Guide. He's been stomping down the Blues for 40 years and he's hipped me to more insights and more corkscrewy ways of looking at things — especially black folks — in all my years than I ever got out of a classroom.

He's the poster child for the Angry Black Man. But his anger is smoothing over. He's either tired, jaded or both.

So when I didn't see him April 5 on Fountain Square during the diluted and delusional "rally" of the New Black Panther Party, I should have turned and left.

The fact that the event was so poorly attended that I could detect my brother's absence is indicative of the turnout. There were the usual suspects: a few fringe Negroes, several more curious black onlookers, Asian sightseers, the white lunch crowd with its sandwich baggies and a few old-school black activists taking the usual busman's holiday, not getting involved but seeing what little work is yet being done.

The white lunch crowd appeared to be listening, although it was hard telling, because there wasn't anything worth listening to.

Besides, white folks will chow during an execution on the square so long as the sun is shining.

I personally could care less about the New Black Panther Party. I went to Fountain Square out of black guilt, a sort of psychosomatic condition that's far more critical and life-threatening than its cousin, Jewish guilt.

I got off the bus, heard the shouting from Sixth Street and saw some black folks heading toward and coming from the square. I remembered then that Randy had told me about the Panthers, so like a lemming I fell in line and went.

I wanted to be pleasantly surprised and was instead bored and angry.

In the end, it felt very much like patronizing a black business for the sake of race. If you're black and you haven't experienced this, you should and you may.

It is when the service of said black business is substandard and the selection laughable but you're there because you want to hand your money to black folks. Instead you leave embarrassed and confused.

Same thing happened last Thursday. There we all were, trying to make heads or tails of what was being screamed. That's one thing I've never understood about black folks. When we have a "cause," we scream about it in an attempt to hype the crowd — especially if the underlying message is weak. Which, in this case, it was. We think volume compensates for content, and it does not.

I could barely follow the message, and I went to school. Something about bad pigs or crooked pigs, black unity and black love, a tumble of disjointed statistics about the disproportionate amount of imprisoned black men.

And to top off the "rally" with surreal edutainment like a cheap show in Vegas, there was an exhibition by a multi-racial drill squad of young girls. They gave us some half-hearted, rhyming, quasi-Jesse Jackson rhetoric about unity and freedom and justice and being "somebody."

The stage was bookended by a few crudely written signs, also difficult to make sense of. The one most prominent in my mind read, "Prison for bad pigs." It especially resonated with me after several people mentioned one of the day's speakers said he'd attended the "Jewniversity of Cincinnati."

So I'm thinking, that does whom what good? Observing the races for the benefit of clear, concise and honest dissemination is one thing. But dropping idiot bombs in a lame attempt to infuriate people into some sort of maniacal action is another.

If the intent of the New Black Panther Party was to come to Cincinnati and light fires under the 10 or 20 people who actually listened to them, they failed.

See, to mobilize people you must first have a platform, and that isn't just a tall thing you stand on. Secondly, to best articulate that platform you must be, well, articulate. If you're not passionate or intelligent enough to speak about something as critical and titillating as police brutality without reading from a poorly constructed speech, then sit down or step aside.

Finally, peppering that speech with stereotypically derogatory terms and phrases is lazy and irresponsible. Time is a valuable commodity. The New Black Panther Party and their few local supporters wasted everyone's time on April 5.

Anyway, what makes them think anyone will "win" if they swing with fists clinched closed and filled with stupidity?

They become, in effect, who and what they most detest: oppressive, ignorant hate police. And to that, I flip the script. I say for every "Prison for bad pigs" sentiment there is "Bad pigs for niggers." It's equally as myopic and inflammatory.

So the two should make like Survivor and vote each other off the Earth.