By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Perhaps this isn't the kind of in-your-face talk Clinton hoped for when he teamed with the panel of sports figures in an effort to extend the dialogue on race. If anyone energized the discussion about black athletes who won't use their economic clout to challenge white dominance, it was NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who suggested that black college stars should turn to black agents more often when launching their pro careers.
"Those black lawyers, agents, and managers would be handling those investment dollars," Brown said. "Right now the black investment dollars go into other neighborhoods. We stood up, and we talk about one more black coach.
"One more black coach is a symbolic situation. Those investment dollars are the way to rebuild communities, show people that we can have racial unity, and that we understand the principles of economics."
"Unfortunately, I find it very difficult to fire David because he's white," said Thompson, adding that when he was a young coach "and no African American wanted to help me...David did. And David took the time to work [with] and be concerned about players that weren't superstars. Now that John Thompson is successful and has successful players, I find it very difficult to fire David Falk because the pigmentation in his skin is white."
Thompson, who said he has been called an "Uncle Tom" and a racist, elaborated on his outspoken support for his white friend, adding that he was "also very sympathetic" and "very sensitive" to Brown's philosophy.
"But how far do you go? Do I pick a black dentist, do I pick a black lawyer?...Society has caused that," he said. "Society made us racial."
Butler said many whites told her that, after watching her film at the New York International Film Festival on April 25, they could relate to what Brown and Thompson had said. Many of them cringed at the arguments and tactics used by the actors portraying the views of prominent right-wing blacks, she said.
In the film, the KKK leader proclaims: "Many of the awardees have been in the news or making your laws. Come on out here. You are getting this White Pony Award for being one of the most dedicated Negroes in America. And we, the white pony supremacists group, love you."
In the gangbanger's acceptance speech, not only does he vow to continually rob the black community of its young blood by gunning them down, he evokes ghetto stereotypes that might make even the most tightfisted conservative black recoil.
"During slavery, you had the house Negro and the field Negro. Well, some say that the gang member is the house Negro because people feel we clean house for the white man by beating and killing our own people. Some even go so far as to say we're weak-minded because we don't...elevate the community with programs and protest rallies in order to make our neighborhoods a better place to live like the Black Panthers did.
"They call us cowards because we hide behind guns and kill women and children. Well I say that's bullshit!...I'm tough. I must have killed around 15 to 16 women and children in the past two years. You got to be tough to do that 'cause I didn't even know these people. I can't read or write and I still live with my mother, who cries every night because she can't understand why I'm standing on the corner....
"She wants me to get a job so I can give money to my four kids by different women. I ain't looking for no job to raise my kids; they're not my responsibility--that's woman's work. My job is to be a man and hang in the hood. I don't own property or a car or credit card. But I know one thing: Mr. Pete [the KKK leader who has given him the award] thinks I'm great 'cause he owns eight prisons and every time me and my homeboys go there, Mr. Pete makes $60,000 to $100,000 a year per homeboy."
Butler also barges into America's boardrooms to expose how racism has affected the attitude of token "corporate blacks," who will do anything to protect the white man's interest in them. Blacks, she asserts, should be wary of self-promoters like "Yvonne," the nattily attired woman who walks away with one of the Klan awards.
"I work for one of the largest companies in America," she says in her acceptance speech. "There are over 1000 people in the company, and I'm the only black. They made me a vice president of the human resources department. My job is to sit by the door and prevent other blacks from being hired. Sometimes white people who are unaware of our policy hire blacks as receptionists and secretaries, and then it is my job to stay on top of them...
"I magnify the fact that they didn't dot an 'I' or were five minutes late from lunch. I spy on them and tell my bosses exaggerated stories about them. I make around $50,000 a year and I'm not going to let another black have the opportunity to be in my position...