I will make no friends with this post but some parts of black America are trapped in a moral crisis. The crisis will be on display this Wednesday when B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television) debuts a new show called “We Got To Do Better” which is based off of a website called “Hot Ghetto Mess.” It’s time to stop playing words games and be honest: blacks (and others) who embrace a “ghetto” mentality are in deep trouble and, by extension, so are the rest of us.
The NAACP should be marching against the worldview on display on this show much more than fighting a crusade against the “N-word.”
The Washington Post describes the show:
Since 2004, [Jam Donaldson's] Web site, http://Hotghettomess.com, has featured a motley assortment of gangbangers, hip-hop poseurs and strutting hoochie mamas, set off by quotes and comments that suggest Donaldson’s disapproval. The featured “Mess of the Month” for June is an unnamed plus-size woman wearing a halter top split almost to her navel. Her accessories are arm and chest tattoos and an oversize necklace with a cross. The caption beneath her photo is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Nothing in [all] the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
[The show] features video clips of young African Americans (as well as folks of the Caucasianpersuasion) engaged in various acts of idiocy (random street brawls, gratuitous booty-shaking, etc.). It also puts cultural ignorance on display (people are asked in man-on-the-street interviews whether they know what “NAACP” stands for; they don’t). The tone, Donaldson says, is more or less in keeping with the same finger-wagging critique embedded in the Web site’s slogan: “We Got to Do Better.”
I have mixed emotions about the show. But it’s good to expose this for the following reasons:
(1) The shows puts on display for the world to see the moral crisis in some parts of black American culture. Perhaps many in the black community will take notice.
(2) The show will validate the concerns of many blacks like Bill Cosby, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Starr Parker, John McWhorter, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, LeShawn Barber, Shelby Steele, and others.
(3) The show will expose how the “ghetto mentality” is sabotaging significant portions of American culture, of all races. Perhaps the show will highlight a point made in the movie Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”
(4) Hopefully, this will rally some black pastors to deal with issues in the black community instead of building names for themselves and trying to build the largest churches possible. The “ghetto” culture is completely void of any moral voice or authority.
(5) The show will highlight the fact that for much of black America the largest obstacle to overcome in the 21st-century is not racism but the adopted norms of “ghetto” culture.
(6) The “ghetto” life must cease to be glamorized and normalized in the entertainment industry. Sadly, there is a huge demographic of Americans who are medicating their own personal pain through self-sabotaging, “ghetto” behaviors. The show represents a massive cry for help!
The content of the website is pathetic, disturbing, sad, and frustrating. The burning question remains: what must happen to turn blacks, and others, away from “ghetto mess” onto the journey of healing, virtue, dignity, and human flourishing?