Friday, August 18, 2006

The Mel and Andy Show

I never thought I'd be writing a post with the subjects being Actor/Director Mel Gibson and former U.N. ambassador/Mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, but here it is. What do these two extremely different gentlemen have in common? A problem with shouting out anti-Semitic remarks that they later [claim to] regret.

By now you've heard (and heard and heard and heard) about Mel Gibson's little drunk driving arrest a few weeks ago, wherein he asked the arresting officer, "Are you a Jew? ... F***ing Jews ... Jews cause all the wars in the world," and other choice comments, including calling a female officer "sugar tits."

Andrew Young's statement just came out in an interview yesterday. In his defense of Wal-Mart (he works for an organization to promote them) he says they are better than the small stores typically found in African-American neighborhoods. Those stores, according to Young, "rip off" urban communities, "selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables." And who owns those stores, Mr. Young? "First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs."

Mel's defense is simply, "Hey, I was drunk. You say stupid things when you're drunk." That's sometimes true... to a degree. Alcohol lowers the inhibitions, and you say things you might normally try to keep inside, or act more belligerent than normal. But alcohol doesn't usually make you say things that you've never even thought before.

Mel may in fact think he's not an anti-Semite. He may honestly believe he's managed to get past his father's well-known anti-Semitism and make peace with the Jewish community. But, somewhere deep inside him, he's still got major problems.

My personal opinion is that as long as he defends his father (a well known Holocaust denier) by saying, "My father never lied to me," he's going to be stuck in this pattern. I'll accept his apology when comes to terms with that.

Andrew Young's defense is, "Hey, I was only telling the truth." And, to an extent, it is the truth. In inner-city neighborhoods, where African Americans have little access to credit, and major grocery store chains refuse to invest, the store owners have typically been other minorities - with slightly better access to capital - who live elsewhere. This has caused tensions between Blacks and these other absentee owners.

The shocking part here that Mr. Young is a brilliant man who could have explained that in a much less offensive manner. The other problem here is that his prescription of Wal-Mart being the answer is just plain wrong. From the JSpot blog:
Wal-Mart... does nothing for the aspiring black small businessman or woman. The profits from Wal-Mart help to enrich a very conservative family which is not known for its alignment with the interests of the black community. The wages at Wal-Mart are not enough to live on. The world's largest employer doesn't provide health insurance to half of its employees. And despite the poor quality of some local grocers, they are both convenient and help keep a neighborhood vibrant. Boarded up shops don't make a community more livable.
Now that Mr. Young has had to resign his position as a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, I wonder if he'll change his tune? As a spokesperson for re-inventing the inner-city neighborhood market as a Black-owned enterprise, he could really do some good.

Want to say stupid racist remarks about Jews or other minorities? As long as you're drunk - or telling the truth - you go right ahead. We're a very forgiving people.

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1 comment:

  1. You'd think people would know better than to shoot their mouths off! That's why I'm sober now...


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