by Sam Hieb
The N&O’s Rick Martinez weighs in on Kramer and the Forsyth County NAACP.
In my view, Michael Richards’ outburst was indeed a monumental moment because no one in tune with popular culture will ever watch an episode of Seinfeld the same way again. That’s a lot of people. And just like we learned Kramer’s first name was Cosmo, we learned what lingered under that nervous energy. I didn’t want to know Kramer’s first name, and I didn’t want to know about his alter ego’s personal problems. Ironic, isn’t it, that Kramer was the symbol of tolerance and free thought among his scheming, self-centered friends?
Focusing on the big picture, Martinez writes that minorities have bigger problems than guys like Richards:
In this minority’s opinion, institutional racism is indeed dead in the United States.
That doesn’t mean a racist won’t cross your path every now and then, including racists who are minorities themselves. But to cite Richards as proof of racism in America is flat-out wrong. His problems are personal, not societal. Just look at the video.
….Now comes the hard part. We need new strategies to eliminate the achievement gap, even if it means challenging the traditional victimization mind-set that’s the intellectual foundation of past remedies.
For example, we need a serious second look at racial integration. There’s no doubt that forced racial segregation is wrong. But is integration for its own sake necessarily desirable when it comes to education?
This was a significant point in the Forsyth County NAACP’s opposition to that county’s $250 million school bond proposal (which was approved by voters earlier this month). Prior to the vote, chapter president Stephen Hairston told me that investments in poor, minority and underutilized schools should have precedence over building new suburban schools for primarily white kids.
Why? Because once those suburban schools are built, it will be the poor kids who’ll be bused for diversity purposes, not the other way around. Hairston believes time spent on a bus is better invested in a classroom, even if the classmates are all minorities.
This is the type of bold thinking required for the new civil rights era. Intellectual effort shouldn’t be wasted on Michael Richards.
Meanwhile, the Washington Times’ Deborah Simmons calls unsportsmanlike conduct on MJ.