Is (insert name here) a Racist?


(cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics)
RaceWire has the story of a white North Carolina mayor, his statement about black youth and the NAACP effort to get him to apologize (hopefully not to Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson). Here's what the man said:

Mayor Pat McCrory, who is white, said he was accurate when he wrote that “too many of our youth, primarily African American, are imitating and/or participating in a gangster type of dress, attitude, behavior and action.”
And the questions posed by the RaceWire folks:

First, do you agree with these comments? Second, are they racist? And if you think so, is it because whites who say things like this are reluctant to critize the "gangster behavior" of some white communities and institutions?
I'll take a crack at this, having no additional background on the situation.

Do I agree with the comments?

Yes, but there's more. The mayor has a point, but it falls well short of the complete truth. He would have done a better service had he said, "too many of the multi-billion dollar entertainment and marketing efforts of large corporations force a gangster type of dress, attitude, behavior and action upon our youth." I agree that too many of our young folks of color are caught up in these false images. I also agree that too many of our youth of any color are caught up in this.

Our art form, hip hop, has become a highly profitable product in the hands of corporations who have skillfully, slyly and selectively sold back to us the most destructive images imaginable. They accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive. They set dysfunctional expectations in the minds of the wider community and ourselves of not just what it means to be black, but what it means to be.

The answer is more complicated. Companies are responsible. Parents are responsible. A police force which assumes that a black kid is a criminal is responsible.

Second, are they racist? And if you think so, is it because whites who say things like this are reluctant to critize the "gangster behavior" of some white communities and institutions?

I'm loving the second part of this question. "Institutional white gangsterism" has a nice ring to it. The mayor could have made his same statement about "too many of our CEOs, primarily white" are engaging in gangster type behavior. After all, when a company gets reporters fired for publishing studies critical of its products, that's mad gangsta.

Yet we don't roll into the headquarters of Monsanto on a regular basis

Please throw down your responses in the comment section here or at the original RaceWire post, and see what folks are saying over there.

Update @ 19:10:
The first commenter on the post at RaceWire asks a good question in his response and followup on his own blog:

Black people, is it important whether or not this cat is racist? Or, is it more important to impact the racial-mindset behind his statements (i.e. his perception about Black youths and gangs)?
See the rest here, and again, toss up your responses.

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