Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving approaches and there are always reasons to give thanks…..and to there are always reasons to pause and consider:

Requiem for a Heavyweight

This past week the bi-partisan House Ethics Committee voted 9-1 to censure Congressman Charles Rangel setting the stage for a sad ending to a confluence of ethical standards and hypocrisy.

While the counsel for the Committee stated for the record that none of the actions of Congressman Rangel were “corrupt” or “self-aggrandizing”, the Committee voted to subject him the same punishment meted out to Congressman who were convicted of payroll fraud, sexual misconduct and the acceptance of bribes. One wonders if the other 434 members of Congress could withstand the scrutiny focused upon Congressman Rangel and whether censure would be the appropriate punishment in the final accounting.

Congressman Rangel asked for a delay in his hearing as he could no longer afford counsel. It turns out that the law firm that had been paid $2 million would not continue to represent him unless it could be assured that he could pay another $1 million.

Even if one can assume that this law firm actually rendered $ 2 million worth of legal service and counsel, how this firm could be so intransigent in its billing policy that it could not work out a fee payment arrangement with a client that had already paid millions of dollars is distressing and a depressing commentary on the practice of law.

Finally, newspaper columnists, bloggers and talking heads have been crowing and bellowing over the presumed demise of Congressman Rangel’s political career. An ounce of humanity or a drop of compassion is clearly in short supply these days. But it is worth pointing out that there are thousands of men and women who have been able to go to school, pursue careers, obtain decent housing and take care of their families because of the efforts of Congressman Rangel. His acknowledged imperfections cannot tarnish his accomplishments.

Those who sit in judgment of Charles Rangel, whether they are in Congress or in the media or in the street should look in the mirror to see if they measure up to the standards of accomplishment of the man that they now choose to pillory.

“Scottsboro Boys” – cont’d

The more that I learn about this travesty of a minstrel musical (it turns out that Rosa Parks makes a cameo appearance – the flesh crawls at this arrogant absence of good taste), I am baffled that there is so little protest.

It is not only black Americans that should be outraged. People of goodwill and good judgment should know that offensive material that poses as art should be subject to criticism at the very least.

I hasten to add that this is not a First Amendment issue. The producers and directors of this buck and wing spectacle posing as an historical perspective have every right to come up with whatever drivel that they choose. I am simply surprised at how anesthetized and desensitized too many of us have become.

Perhaps the outrages of the Tea Party and Glenn Beck, et. al. have permanently lowered our standards when it comes to good taste. If that is the case, then shame on us all.

Driving Miss Ginni Crazy

In a recent Point of View “Weekend Edition” I wrote about Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and her right wing of the right wing conservative organization. I then wrote about Mrs. Thomas and her bizarre post-dawn phone call to Anita Hill soliciting an apology to her husband.

Now it has been announced that Virginia Thomas is suspending the activities of her conservative cheerleading outfit because of “too much controversy”. Perhaps after the elections of November 2nd she feels like her mission has been accomplished. We can only hope that we have heard the last of her.

But I doubt it.

Have a great weekend!

Be My Guest

“I Saw ‘Scottsboro Boys'”-A Guest Column by Susan J. Eddington

I saw it and I was so appalled that I started to bolt shortly after the show began. I was in shock at the portrayal.

I wanted to immediately open my program to see what kind of person was so callous and disrespectful of this utter tragedy that they could dare to tell it with singing and dancing. I sat through it.

I was so tense and taut with anger that I felt myself frowning throughout the show. It got worse as it went on and on top of that there was a woman on the set who had no speaking role until the very end of the show when they turned her into Rosa Parks as she refused to get up on the bus. As if that redeemed the minstrel show.

The mostly white audience gave the cast a standing ovation at the end. I was trying to understand why? There is a tremendous disconnect between black and white folks if a primarily white audience thought this was a good telling of this sad story.

I stayed because I didn’t want to walk out on the black men in the cast. I hope that they will be able to take this experience on Broadway and find a role that will make them proud of their work.

Susan J. Eddington is president and chief thought leader for IMAGES-IMAGES, Inc., a marketing communications and management consulting firm. An accredited public relations counselor, she is currently studying media psychology for social change. To contribute to the images portrayed of African Americans in the media, Susan created “The Power of Two Together”, a campaign to identify and salute African American married couples whose relationship reflects the benefits of commitment and shared success. Susan can be reached at sjeddington@images-images.com or visit the Facebook page for TogetherNation.