Gates Case has Everything to do With Racism, Which is Probably why it Won’t go Away.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. participates in a panel on CNN's live show 'Moment of Truth: Countdown to Black in America 2,' Wednesday, July 22, 2009 in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. participates in a panel on CNN's live show 'Moment of Truth: Countdown to Black in America 2,' Wednesday, July 22, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The ink had barely dried on Henry Louis Gates’ arrest record before people were falling over themselves to debate whether or not the arrest had anyhing to do with race. Even President Obama was asked to weigh in at a White House press conference. But at least one person involved in the scandal—the eminent Harvard professor himself—believes race was a factor.* In fact, expressing this opinion to Officer Crowley is what got him arrested.

Somewhere in this mess is Lucia Whalen, the 911 caller who’s been accused of racism for mentioning to the dispatcher that the suspects were Black. The recently released 911 tape provides some vindication—some vindication because, while she does not specifically use the word “Black,” she does tell the dispatcher that one of the suspects looked “kind of Hispanic.” Kind of Hispanic? What exactly does kind of Hispanic look like anyway? Because pictures of Gates’ accomplice have been hard to come by, it’s safe to assume Gates—with his mocha skin—was very likely the Hispanic-looking one. But it doesn’t matter because in Boston—which doesn’t exactly have a great reputation for racial inclusivity—“kind of Hispanic” translates into “not White,” which pretty much answers the dispatcher’s question about the suspects’ race.

If race was not a factor, why then does a suspect’s skin color matter in the first place? Wouldn’t “what are they wearing?” be just as good for identifying suspects? After all, the police are perfectly capable of identifying suspects by their clothes, hairstyles, or physical features, no? Gates, for example, has a very recognizable limp. So again, if race didn’t play a role, why was it so important to the dispatcher?

But wait! Just when things couldn’t seem more cut and dry, genetics throws a spanner into the works. In an ironic twist, professor Gates has traced part of his genetic ancestry to an Irish warlord! Even more astonishing is the fact that Officer Crowley, who maintains that his decision to arrest Gates had nothing to do with race, is descended from the same warlord!!! This means that Professor Gates and Officer Crowley are related!!!

So the question becomes: if not for racism, how on earth could Officer Crowley and Professor Gates end up in the confrontation that splashed their photos all over the national press and got them invited to the White House for beers with the President? On the one hand you have Crowley, a White police officer, a symbol of law and order in his community. On the other hand, you have Gates, a Black man and a renowned Harvard professor—albeit surprisingly unknown and unrecognizable to Crowley. On the 911 tape, Crowley tells the dispatcher, “I have an ID of a Henry Louis Gates.” Apparently, he had no idea who this “gentleman” even was! So again, how did Gates become a burglary suspect in his own home? More importantly, how did these two men—who share DNA!—wind up on opposite ends of the racial binary, one presumed to be an upstanding, fairminded citizen and the other so easily mistaken for a burglar? It seems pretty cut and dry.

According to Officer Crowley, Gates was “uncooperative”—as anyone with any dignity or self-respect would have been in that situation—so the handcuffs had to come out. But giving a police officer a piece of your mind because he basically accused you of burglarizing your own home is not disorderly conduct, it’s freedom of expression. Expecting any person to grin and bear such indignity and humiliation is not only unfair and insenstive, it borders on tyranny. Isn’t protection from the caprices of an overbearing executive one of the foundational principles of the Constitiution, a document with which Professor Gates is no doubt familiar? Luckily, Cambridge PD sympathized with the professor and dropped the charges. That should have been enough vindication.

But not for everyone. In nearby Boston, Officer Justin Barrett was so incensed by a local columnist’s defense of Gates that he wrote her an email in which he called the professor a “banana-eating jungle monkey”! Even more troubling is Barrett’s assertion:

I am not a racist, but I am prejudice [sic] towards people who are stupid.

Apparently, Officer Barrett, despite his dislike of stupid people, is incapable of recognizing racism. He goes on to conclude that Professor Gates “has indeed transcended back to a bumbling jungle monkey,” and adds that, had he been in Officer Crowley’s place, he would have pepper-sprayed the professor in the face.

So we’re back to the same question: on what foundation did Barrett’s letter rest, riddled as it was with “frequent grammatical and spelling errors”? This barely literate man, despite having been an English teacher, does not even know the meaning of transcend—to rise above, to move onwards and upwards—or that it has a positive connotation (the word he was looking for is “regressed”). Yet for some reason, he confidently and mercilessly denigrates an acclaimed Harvard professor! In fact, this incident defies logic and can only be understood as an irrational emotional response born of prejudice and ignorance. Kinda like . . . racism?

But, lest anyone get the impression that this case is all about race and nothing else, it’s only fair to point out that Officer Barrett also had a few choice words for the columnist, Yvonne Abraham:

Barrett, who identified himself as a veteran . . . also took issue with Abraham’s journalistic ability, calling her ‘a hot little bird with minimal experience in a harsh field,’ as well as ‘an infidel.’ The rambling e-mail also suggested that she ‘should serve me coffee and donuts on Sunday morning,’ later returning to that line of thought with, ‘I like a warm cruller and hot Panamanian, black. No sugar.’

Good to see that Officer Barrett is well-rounded in his prejudice. After all, his sentiments give the impression that having been born with a penis—kinda like having been born with  the right skin color—entitles him to insult and dismiss a professional journalist for no reason other than that she was born with the wrong genitals. Oh, and he disagrees with her on the Gates issue.

The only good that might come out of this episode is that Officer Barrett will be removed from the police force, prompting a huge collective sigh of relief from “infidels,” “hot little birds,” and “jungle monkeys” all over the Boston area. In the meantime, I gotta cancel my subscription to Ms. Magazine and tear up my NAACP membership card. I won’t be needing those anymore!

*Considering Professor Gates has written books on the question of race and racism in America, I’m going to have to assume he knows what he’s talking about and agree with him.
Advertisements

This Is Mexico . . ..

I’ve been in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for four days now, and have only now had the time and ability to write a short post. I had intended to write a cheerful and upbeat post about how great Puerto Vallarta is, but made the mistake of checking my email first.

In my inbox were emails from several people who had sent me links to the latest news on the verdict in the Luis Ramirez case, which I’d blogged about since Ramirez, a Mexican, was beaten to death in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. On a July night last year, he was walking home with a teenaged girl when he encountered a group of teenaged boys in a park. Words were exchanged—not a few of them racist insults hurled in Ramirez’s direction—and the situation escalated into an all-out fistfight that ended with Luis Ramirex laying on the ground unconscious and foaming at the mouth. He died in hospital two days later from severe head injuries sustained during the fight.

The jury was tasked with, among other things, sorting out who exactly delivered the blow that killed Luis, since at least three of the teens fought with him directly. They found the accused not guilty of all but the least serious charge: simple assault. I understand that sometimes, people make mistakes. But some mistakes are more serious than others. For example, someone might make the mistake of drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car. If they make it home safely, fine. But if they accidentally run over a pedestrian and kill him, they do not get off simply because they made a mistake. Yet here we have a case in which a human being’s life was taken by people using their fists and feet as weapons, yet they got off scott free.

So, as I sit here watching the orange sun set over a glassy bay, I find myself writing a very different post from the one I had intended. I wanted to write about how amazing Puerto Vallarta is. Every single person I have met here has been nothing but wonderful: warm, hospitable, generous, and good-humored. It was everywhere around me, once I left the taxi-and-package-tour-hustle-and-bustle of the airport. This was what I had planned to write about . . . before I checked my email. Now, the kindness and warmth of the Mexicans I’ve met stands out even more starkly when viewed against the backdrop of the Luis Ramirez case: I cannot imagine a situation in which six Mexican teenagers would find cause to make a disparaging remark towards me or any of the people I’m here with, let alone attack any of us so viciously as to leave us brain-damaged and dying in a park.

I know I’m here as a tourist and that tourist dollars are the lifeblood of the local economy. But I’m also here as a foreigner. I look physically different from every single Mexican I’ve seen, and my Spanish is far from good enough to allow me to pass. Yet nobody has yelled a racial slur in my direction, and nobody has told me—out of contempt or frustration—to learn Spanish. And, while I’m sure Puerto Vallarta has its share of crime both petty and violent, I haven’t found myself in a situation in which I’m made to feel uncomfortable or threatened because of my skin color, hair texture, or non-flueny in the local language.

After all, despite the obvious benefits tourists bring to the towns along Mexico’s coasts, there is more than enough reason for Mexicans to be hostile towards me. I’m a foreigner, a tourist, and an American. There is a long history of tension between our two countries, and I’m sure some tourists and foreigners comport themselves in a less-than-decent way with the locals. But none of this has been enough—in my admittedly limited time in Mexico—to cause the locals to treat me with suspicion, scorn, resentment, or outright hostility. When I attempt to communicate in my piss-poor Spanish, they listen patiently, correct me when I ask for correction and, when I eventually give up and ask if they speak English, graciously switch to fluent or near-perfect English.

I imagine that, had the teenagers who were found not guilty of beating Luis Ramirez to death ever found themselves in Mexico, they would have met the same reception as me and my fellow travelers. I imagine that Brian Scully too—the one who made the comment that started the fight and who yelled racial epithets while his friends were beating Luis Ramirez—would have been treated with nothing but kindness, warmth, and good humor.

Tragically, the reception Luis Ramirez got in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania was markedly different from the one I am getting from his compatriots in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In fact, his experience could not have been more different, a difference made even more grotesque by the fact that his attackers were ultimately found to be not responsible for his death.

Luis Ramirez’s Killers About to Stand Trial

Derrick Donchak (top), Brandon Piekarsky (middle), and Colin Walsh (bottom), have been charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Ramirez died two days later from head injuries sustained during the attack.

Derrick Donchak (top), Brandon Piekarsky (middle), and Colin Walsh (bottom), have been charged in the beating death of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Ramirez died two days later from head injuries sustained during the attack.

The Republican Herald reports that jury selection in the trial of Derek Donchak, Colin Walsh, and Brandon Piekarsky will begin on April 22, with the trial itself set to start on April 27.

Last summer, the three accused attacked Luis Ramirez after they ran into him and a young woman in a park. The woman turned out to be the younger sister of Ramirez’s fiancee, whom he was walking home. Donchak, Walsh, and Piekarsky had—according to witness testimony—been drinking malt liquor in the woods near the park.

The ensuing attack left Luis Ramirez unconscious and foaming at the mouth. One question that will hopefully be answered by the trial is whether it was Colin Walsh or Brandon Piekarsky who delivered the fatal blow. Walsh’s sucker punch knocked Ramirez down and left him unconscious on the ground, where he lay when Brandon Piekarsky delivered a final kick to his head. The unconscious Ramirez was transferred to hospital, where he died two days later. 

Elsewhere, it is being reported that Colin Walsh has agreed to testify against his co-accused. There is also some confusion about whether or not the charges against him will be/have been dropped in exchange for his cooperation. Hopefully more information will come out about the details of the various plea arrangements.

The announcement that justice will be done in the Luis Ramirez beating-death case comes as good news for supporters of the rule of law. And, as anti-immigrant rhetoric is ratcheted up and anti-immigrant hate crimes continue to increase, it is important that those who are found to have committed hate crimes are punished according to the law.

The law does not require anyone to like anyone else, but it does state explicitly that a person may not physically assault or kill another person. Hopefully justice will be done.

Hate Speech is Not Free Speech: Chilean Students’ Killer had a History of Xenophobia

On the morning of Thursday, February 27, 14 friends gathered at a townhome in Miramar Beach, Florida for a party. At around 1:45 am, Dannie Roy Baker, who lived in the same complex as the hosts, crossed the compound with a rifle and opened fire on the partygoers.

By the time police arrived at the scene, five people had been shot—two of them fatally—and the shooter had returned to his home, where he awaited the arrival of police. Since his arrest, Dannie Baker has not spoken to the police so his motive for the killings is not known. But enough information has come out to indicate that it was at least partially motivated by the fact that the victims’ were not native-born Americans. All 14 people at the party, including Baker’s five victims, are Latinos. The two he killed were Chilean students visiting the US as part of a work-study program.

The story is not getting widely picked up in the national media and one of the first places to compile details was the Daily KOS, who reports that Dannie Baker had volunteered with the local Republican Electoral Committee during the 2004 presidential race, after which he apparently sent “radical” and “inappropriate” emails to other members. Baker’s emails were so disturbing that they were reported to the local sheriff’s department but, because the emails did not contain threats against a specific person, the sheriff’s department took no further action against him. The actual text of these emails has not yet been released.

Although Baker had no history of violence, it appears he was not entirely mentally or emotionally stable. According to Jim Anders, a member of the Republican Executive Committee, Baker was very “eccentric” and seemed to have “some emotional problems.” And Crystal Lynn, a neighbor of Baker’s, says “he did come up to me one time and asked me if I was ready for the revolution to begin and if I had any immigrant in my house to get them out.”

Until more information comes out, there’s no way to know what Dannie Baker wrote in those emails that so troubled people that they reported him to the police. Hopefully, he didn’t write about killing immigrants because that would mean the sheriff’s department screwed up big-time by not investigating him further and putting him someplace where he could not be a threat to others. A direct threat against a specific person should justifiably be grounds for police action, but so should threats against a specific group. After all, a hate crime does not target a specific person but it does target a specific group, identified by race, nationality, sexual orientation, or some other collective identity marker.

So if it turns out that Baker had made threats against Latinos or any other immigrant group, the Sheriff’s department should explain why they took no further police action against him. Freedom of speech permits deranged and sane people alike to say whatever they please, but if one of those crazy people rants against foreigners, sends “radical” and “inappropriate” emails, and tells his neighbor to get immigrants out of her house, that ought to be grounds for the local police to do something. Now two people are dead, three are wounded, and an entire community is traumatized. But of course, until the contents of Baker’s emails are released, there’s no way to know if he had made threats against a specific racial group.

At the end of the day, hate speech is not free speech, but it seems many Americans have trouble distinguishing the two. Or perhaps, with more Americans joining hate groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric—to say nothing of anti-immigrant action—becoming more mainstream, the question should not be whether Americans can recognize hate speech but whether and to what extent they are bothered by it. (The fact that several news outlets have mentioned the victims’ immigration status—as if that is relevant to the case!—further illustrates this country’s obsession with immigration. God only knows what the news coverage of this hate crime would look like if the victims had been in the country without the proper immigration paperwork!)

Now, twenty-three-year-old Nicolas Corp-Torres and twenty-two-year-old Racine Baldontin-Aragondona—two of Dannie Baker’s victims—are dead. But they might still be alive had local law enforcement understood, or cared about, the difference between hate speech and free speech the first time they had to deal with Dannie Baker.

Post-Racialism Marches On in America.

Totally non-offensive picture showing the White House lawn prepped for the annual Easter watermelon hunt which, according to Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose, will replace the more traditional Easter egg hunt. Mayor Grose claims he was unfamiliar with the racial stereotype that Black people love watermelon.

Image distributed by Los Almitos Mayor Dean Grose, showing the White house lawn prepped for the annual Watermelon hunt. Grose is claiming he was unaware of the racial stereotype that Black people love watermelon.

Lest anyone was having trouble remembering that we are now living in a post-racial America, here are a few reminders.

In Los Alamitos, Mayor Dean Grose has come under fire for sending a doctored photo titled “No Easter egg hunt this year.” Offended recepients, including Keyanus Price, a Black businesswoman, have demanded an apology from the mayor. Speaking in his own defense, the mayor claimed that he had no idea there was a racial stereotype involving Black people and watermelons.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of the New York Post, issued a reluctant apology for the above cartoon, drawn by Sean Delonas.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of the New York Post, issued a reluctant apology for the above cartoon, drawn by Sean Delonas.

Other examples of post-racialism at work  have attracted nationwide attention. Take, for example, the New York Post cartoon in which two White officers shoot dead a chimpanzee, and one of the officers says to the other, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” While the Post and its supporters tried to argue that the cartoon ape and the reference to the stimulus bill were not coded racist references to President Barack Obama, there is no escaping the association. Although admittedly the president is not the bill’s author, a cursory Google search on the term “stimulus bill” turns up tons of articles that reference Obama in their opening paragraphs (see also here). So while the cartoonist may want people to believe that the link was unintentional, the reality is that on one hand, the ape has long been used as a  racist caricature of Black people, and on the other hand, there is a long history of White people doing violence to Black people. When the links among the stimulus bill and Barack Obama, the history of police violence towards Black men, and the ape as a racist caricature are considered, it’s hard—if not impossible—not to see the racist overtones in this cartoon.

Sadly, some of the other signs of post-racialism are much more real than a doctored photo or a newspaper cartoon, and the town of Paris, Texas provides a few examples. Paris is where a 14-year-old Black girl was sentenced to seven years in a juvenile prison for pushing a hall monitor. The sentencing judge had earlier sentenced a young White girl to probation for arson! Paris is also home to Turner Industries’ pipe factory, whose Black employees are complaining that nooses, confederate flags, and racist graffitti are prominently displayed all over their workplace.

Ah yes! We are living in heady times! Post-racial fever is sweeping the nation and everybody’s catching the bug! According to CNN, there has been a huge upswing in the number of Americans joining hate groups. Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard (what an unfortunate last name for a KKK Grand Wizard!?), told the cable news network that 2,000 people joined his online hate group the day after Obama’s inauguration: prior to the inauguration, he got about 80 new members a day.

Clearly, in this post-racial climate, many people are confused and disoriented, and don’t know how to handle life in the new America. In the spirit of post-racialism—and as a personal favor to Mayor Dean Grose, Turner Industries’ White employees, Don Black, and anyone else who wants to jump on the post-racial bandwagon—here are a few ways in which the post-racial esprit de corps can be advanced:

  • Don’t make any jokes about Native Americans and alcoholism;
  • Do not make casual references to Asians, math prowess, and/or penis/butt/breast size;
  • Avoid associating Black people with grape soda, fried chicken, drug dealing, or primates of any kind;
  • Whatever you do, DO NOT join a hate group. Joining a hate group will severely undermine your post-racial credentials.

Boy, it feels great to be living in a post-racial America! I shudder to think what America was like before post-racialism.

In Defense of Single Moms and Black Men.

obamablackmen

Yesterday, I had the rare pleasure of attending a City Council hearing on education reform in Washington, DC, which has some of the worst public schools in the country. The highlight of the event for me was seeing former Mayor and current Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry live and in person.

My excitement, however, quickly turned to disappointment once Mr. Barry’s turn came to address the witnesses. In his attempt to explain to the panel of experts why their “academic” policy suggestions might not work in the District’s socioeconomic and cultural climate, Councilmember Barry dragged out the tired old trope about how 80-something percent of DC households were headed by single mothers and how this fact alone was responsible for much of the District’s problems. But Marion Barry is not the first Black person to put forth this argument. It seems like only yesterday that then-candidate Barack Obama scored points on the campaign trail for calling on Black men to take a more active role in parenthood. But despite its popularity, this man-in-the-house argument is problematic for many reasons, not least of all because it is classist, sexist, and heterosexist.

First off, I won’t pretend to not understand that two-parent households can be more stable than single-parent ones. But we totally miss the mark if we assume that a household is more stable simply because it is headed by two parents, or because one of the household heads is a man. Poverty, not single motherhood, is the real problem in DC and other urban communities. Of course, a two-parent household potentially has double the earnings of a single-parent household, but this only holds true in cases in which both parents are earning an income. In today’s troubled times there is no guarantee that one, let alone both, adults are earning an income, and in impoverished urban communities—like much of DC—the question then becomes not whether or not there are two parents heading the household but whether household income can cover the family’s basic needs. And with national unemployment rates skewed so heavily against Black men, simply having a man in the house is no guarantee that the family will earn enough to improve its fortunes.

The man-in-the-house argument is also problematic because it is classist, too often brought up in the context of low-income households—thanks to the nexus of race and class in the US, low-income households are also often Black households. In other words, it’s an argument that’s made almost exclusively in the case of poor or working-class women, a substantial percentage of whom happen to be Black. Needless to say, any argument that applies only to people of a certain class or skin color is problematic, for obvious reasons. In fact, the man-in-the-house argument is almost never brought up publicly when affluent single women choose to raise their biological children out of wedlock, to not remarry after a divorce, or to adopt children. Clearly, what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander: if low-income Black women need a man in the house, shouldn’t the same hold true for affluent women?

There is also a pervasive element of sexism in the man-in-the-house rationale, because it assumes that women are somehow less capable of heading a household or raising a family. As mentioned above, household income is much more relevant to the stability or success of a household than whether or not it is headed by a woman. More importantly, this argument trivializes the significant and inescapable fact that generations of Black people—men and women—have been raised by women. When men have been unwilling or unable to be there for their children, it is the Black woman who has borne the responsibility of caring for the family. From the days of slavery when the “kitchen baby” was rejected by its White father’s family, it was up to Black women to raise and care for that child. Today, Black women are raising not only their children but also their children’s children. Without Black mothers there would be no Black community, and to continually insist on the importance of Black men is to trivialize and outright ignore the tremendous role played by Black women in American society.

Finally, the man-in-the-house argument is heterosexist, because it assumes that the ideal household is one headed by a man and a woman. So, are we to believe that a two-woman household is worse off simply because it lacks a man? Again, the argument holds little water because many lesbian couples are successfully raising children in stable homes without men. Obviously, the presence or absence of a man in a lesbian household is a moot issue. What matters more is whether or not a single woman or a two-woman couple can provide materially and emotionally for their children.

In light of the aforementioned points, the man-in-the-house argument is self-contradictory. On one hand we are asked to believe that single-mother homes have dire consequences for an entire community, but on the other hand, few people can deny that an affluent woman—or two financially stable women—can maintain a household. But even in cases where the woman is not affluent, it is wrong to assume that she would be better of with a man in her home.

Take, for instance, the issue of domestic violence (DV). Some studies indicate that up to 85 percent of DV victims are women. Closer to home, the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that in 2005, 43 percent of the almost 5,000 victims of DV were residents of Ward 8, Marion Barry’s own district. This is not to disparage Marion Barry or to argue that all men are abusers. It is simply to argue that in many cases, having a man in the house actually makes matters worse. One final point: the man of the house is much more likely to squander a family’s income on alcohol, drugs, or gambling. Is it any surprise then that international development organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations have recognized that putting a woman in control of a household’s finances benefits not only her family but also the community at large?

So why does the man-in-the-house argument carry so much weight? Part of the answer, I believe, lies in the inherent sexism of our patriarchal society, which presumes that men are natural leaders and that social problems arise when men do not lead. After all, we are taught that men lead nations, armies, churches, and corporations, so it is only natural that they should lead households. But the damage done to the Black two-parent heterosexual family—not to mention the wider Black community—is not the result of decisions made by individual Black men. Rather, it is the consequence of the same social and economic structures that continue to keep Black men under-educated, under-employed, and over-represented in the criminal justice system. This reality, however, does not totally exonerate Black men: many of us cling to the man-in-the-house argument, perhaps because we—despite being marginalized in many ways—still feel entitled to be higher on the patriarchal pecking order than women. Perhaps because we are so marginalized in the wider society, many of us view the home as one area in which we ought to dominate.

At the end of the day, the problems facing the Black community are wider and deeper than Marion Barry and the other proponents of the man-in-the-house argument dare to admit. Long-term solutions will require much more than two-parent, man-woman households, and we must not lay the responsibility for solving what is, in reality a national problem, solely at the feet of Black men. This is not to say Black men bear no responsibility. There is certainly much we can do to help. We can recommit ourselves to supporting our families and we can take a public stand against domestic violence. We can re-evaluate our attitudes towards schooling and start thinking of ways to make the schools work better for us and our children. And we can get more involved in our communities by mentoring youth and educating them about the challenges they will have to overcome as they make their way through American society.

But the problems we face are not caused solely by individual action or inaction, and it will take a collective national effort to rebuild Black communities. For starters, everyone needs to stop thinking of our communities as Black communities and start thinking of them as American communities: What’s good for Black people is also good for America. All Americans need jobs that pay a living wage. We all need better public schools, greater opportunities for educational advancement, and job training to ensure career mobility. And we all need a more affordable, accessible, and equitable health-care system. It may sound like we need a lot but as a society, it is hypocritical for us to demand that Black men provide for their families while we simultaneously deny them opportunities for moral uplift and social advancement. Historically, Black men have proven themselves to be a resilient lot, bearing with grace and flair the brunt of what our society has dealt us. But we are in the end mere men. And while some of us are indeed capable of working miracles, rebuilding our communities will take much more than simply having a man in the house.

The Douche-tastic Duo Has Done it Again.

So . . . I normally wouldn’t blog about celebrities but, thanks to Spencer Pratt’s total and utter douchebaggery on the Tyra Banks Show, I’ve decided to say “eff it!” and take the plunge.

Apparently, the topic of adoption came up while Spencer and the other half of the douche-tastic duo were on Tyra’s show. Naturally she asked what they would name their adopted kids and—true to form—Heidi and Spencer opened their mouths and spewed forth a tidal wave of douchery unseen since the time Tom Cruise jumped up and down on Oprah’s sofa.

Here’s the transcript:

Tyra: So what would you name your children . . . like Speidi or Hencer . . . or something?
Heidi: He wants to name one Dunk.
Tyra: Dunk?!
Spencer: No, ’cause I mean, this is when I was saying I wanna go to Africa and I wanna adopt an African and . . . he’s gonna be very tall and he’s gonna be Dunk . . . you know . . ..
Tyra: Like to dunk the ball? I thought you meant ba-dunk-a-dunk, like have a big booty.
Spencer: Yeah, I mean . . . that’ll work . . . if it’s a girl . . ..
Heidi: [giggling moronically].

There’s also a clip from The Soup on Youtube. Spencer and Heidi’s supreme demonstration of douchiness doesn’t come until six-and-a-half minutes into the clip, so jump ahead if you can’t wait to see douchery at its finest (the video will make you wish Tyra had shoved her mic into a part of Spencer’s anatomy where the sun traditionally don’t shine, but she doesn’t—proving once again that there is no God).

Now we know that when Spencer thinks African, he thinks basketball and big butts. That’s OK though, ’cause when I think douche, I think Spencer Pratt. In fact, I think I’ll go to LA and adopt him. Then I’ll name him Douche . . . ’cause I mean . . . you know . . . I want to give my kid a name he’ll live up to . . . and . . . well . . . I can’t think of anyone who better lives up to that name than Spencer Pratt.