Onaje Allan Gumbs’ response to an article entitled, “CNN’s Don Lemon Sides With Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Says Black Culture is to Blame For Problems in Community”:
Don Lemon has no idea what Black Culture is.
It includes EVERYTHING associated with Black people in the Diaspora, good and bad. It’s about Jazz, R&B, Gospel, Funk; it is about people who have pride in their heritage.
It is about striving to be the best one can be. It’s about the Soul Train Line. it’s about Howard, Spellman and Morehouse Colleges. It’s about the Harlem Alliance. I could go on.
One cannot mention one element and say that it is that culture. By his definition, all jazz musicians are drug addicts, all hip hop artists are thugs and hip hop itself is all about being a gangsta.
Does he know Jessica Care Moore, Tai Allen, LuQuan Graham, Sharrif Simmons, Abiodun Oyewole or Toni Blackman, a sister who became the first hip hop artist to represent the United States Government with a State Department tour? I can pretty much say categorically that he does not.
EVERY community has its own set of problems. To turn the Black community into a monolithic organism is irresponsible at best. There are people under 7 who are part of this Black community. There are people over 70 who are part of the Black community.
The Black community includes our babies and our grandparents. Last time I looked the Black Community would also include Jay Z, Black Republicans, Wynton Marsalis, Marian Wright Edelman, David Dinkins, Kenny Barron, Raven Symone, Congressman John Conyers, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, Oprah Winfrey the POTUS, Barack Obama AND Don Lemon.
Unfortunately, many people are not critical thinkers in this society. They don’t want to take the time to think that Don Lemon is talking about a segment of the Black community, a SMALL segment of the Black community at that. This country is based on being White.
The policies set by this country is based on the White standard. What ethnic group runs the US Government, auto industry, Film, Music and all media, the medical industry, and so forth?
Why is it necessary to label people who are not White? Why does my existence in this society, and in America specifically, have to depend on being compared to White people, not Latino, not Asian, but WHITE?
I do not hear anyone referring to White people in this country as a “bunch of majorities.” I don’t hear anyone saying that “the opportunities for majorities is continuing to grow as the opportunities for minorities decline.”
I am not a minority. I am a HUMAN BEING FIRST and FOREMOST!!!
To refer to me as a minority says nothing about myself as a contributing member of this society. It says nothing about my economic, social or educational status.
That term means one thing and one thing only. I AM NOT WHITE. I am not part of the CLUB.
I could have said “I AIN’T WHITE” but then I would fit into Mr. Lemon’s broad stroke of the Black Community stereotype he has painted.
New York-based Onaje Allan Gumbs has been described as a “legendary master pianist”, and is a composer and bandleader