The way to serve blacks is to end racial feudalism

January 18, 1998|By GREGORY KANE

WELCOME, Baltimoreans, to Hate Talk 101.

Tuesday, Radio One owner Cathy Hughes took to the air on WOLB, her talk radio station. She ranted and raved and railed against Uncle Toms, handkerchief heads and crackers, leaving some listeners to start a pool on exactly how many screws she had popped loose.

The next day, it was her hatchet man's turn. C. Miles, who has single-handedly reduced the talk show format to levels of buffoonery previously thought unattainable, figured he was just the guy to defend Hughes' honor. Especially vexing to Miles was my column of Wednesday, in which I referred to Hughes as loony.

"This is the same fool I ate up on 'The Bottom Line,' " Miles huffed, once again demonstrating he has delusions of competence. The guy still thinks he won our debate on Kweisi Mfume's Saturday morning television show, but the fact is Miles isn't a debater. He's a ranter. His first rant was a criticism of my Marx Brothers suspenders, which I wore on the show. As it turned out, my choice of the suspenders was appropriate, since I ended up sitting next to Baltimore's most prominent clown.

Miles then again challenged me to a boxing match, ranting that he wanted to kick my ass. Ah, a simple solution, for the simplest of minds. Then, proving he's an even bigger idiot than I had previously given him credit for, Miles accused me of calling folks in his hometown, Atlanta, to dig up some dirt on him. He made this charge without the slightest evidence. In fact, there is no evidence. I've made no calls to Atlanta. Everything I need to know about Miles I can learn from listening to his radio show right here in Baltimore.

He's a master of hate speech. His show Wednesday was filled with it. Once again he resorted to calling me an Uncle Tom, which is hate speech directed by blacks against other blacks. What's so bad about this particular form of hate speech is that it shows the speaker's ignorance.

Black writer John Oliver Killens said as much in his book "Black Man's Burden." The literary character Uncle Tom died not for the white man, but resisting him. The proper literary analogy, Killens wrote, for a person of color displaying excessive loyalty to the white race is Gunga Din, not Uncle Tom.

Miles then called me a media faggot, apparently unaware that he was not insulting me, but gays. Miles wants our boxing match to take place this summer, but I suspect there'll be some well-built gay men who want to take my place. I think I'll let them. Next in line will be the local black ministers Miles has so gratuitously insulted.

Once again Miles impugned my racial loyalty, implying that by criticizing Hughes, I was a traitor to the race. Two ninnies, probably inspired by Miles' tirade, called and left voice messages, parroting the same nonsense. Why, both wondered, was I so servile to whites as to criticize her highness Cathy Hughes?

Because I don't live on the ideological plantation run by Massa Miles and Miss Cathy, that's why. Some blacks do and are afraid to as much as crawl off the plantation, much less walk off proudly. They have no thoughts save for what Miles and Hughes say are the proper thoughts.

Is that too harsh? Perhaps. But that's what they think of black conservatives: that we have no thoughts except what the white man gives us, that we can't think for ourselves. Rather than sincerely believe I have an objection to the language that Hughes used, Miles concocts some fantasy that my column was inspired after I met a white editor at a water cooler.

Stop serving the white man, the callers urged me. I'm not. The fact is, I'm serving black people. I'm serving them by letting them know they don't have to be on anyone's ideological plantation, Hughes', Miles' or anyone else's. I'm trying to end the racial feudalism that Hughes and Miles are trying to impose on black people.

Under a feudal system, vassals give allegiance to lords. The lords can have opinions, can hand out edicts and orders, but can't be criticized. Any vassal criticizing a lord is summarily dismissed as disloyal.

Under the black system of racial feudalism, a Lord Cathy Hughes or a Lord C. Miles want the right to call those not agreeing with them Uncle Toms and traitors. But anyone who objects to such language, who fights back, who differs in opinion, is disloyal. To venture the opinion, for example, that Radio One's talk shows engage in a systematic pattern of hate speech -- some of it directed at other blacks -- is to be accused of such disloyalty. Such a system of racial feudalism doesn't advance black progress. It retards it.

So I hope the lords of the racial feudal system get this message: I write because I'm not one of their vassals. I write because I'm determined to see racial feudalism ended. And I write especially to rankle buffoons like C. Miles.

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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