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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Slow Down

Ed Note: Talib wrote this response on the ListServ and I thought it should be shared on the blog as well. I've made a couple edits to contextualize it for a blog post. And if you haven't seen The Boondocks' MLK episode then click here.

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I honestly feel like everybody 'round the globe needs to chill with respect to this cartoon situation. Of course, it's not just about cartoons, it's about a continued perception of Western aggression against Islam. Just like when people rioted after the Rodney King verdict, it wasn't just about Rodney King, it was about a bunch of other stuff before that.

When this cartoon issue first started to blow up, I felt like there was a huge overreaction. Sultan Sindhi got it right with his sentiments in the blog post- diplomacy is a more effective and dare I say Islamic tool. That is the path of peace. But all of a sudden it seems like everyone is gearing up for this "clash of civilizations" and free speech vs. religion and all that when I think that stuff completely misses the point.

Ha, the other day on my lunch I was thinking what the world needs is a big fat blunt so everyone can just chill out and take a step back.

Seeing a bunch of Muslim people riot on TV over this mess is kind of like watching the news and having the most ignorant examples of Black America on display. You know that's not how everybody rolls, but that's who gets the attention.

People have the right to boycott whatever they want to boycott, and/or spend their money as they see fit. Now whether it is effective or not is another question. I think boycotting Danish products really won't solve anything, because there is still no dialogue, no exchanging of views, no mutual understanding. Especially since Danish business don't have anything to do with the newspapers that printed the cartoons. Now what might be effective is if there was an organized push to boycott business that advertised in the newspapers in question regardless of nationality, while at the same time supporting advertisers that had ads in newspapers that sought to bridge the gap, including Danish businesses. Then you're really leveraging your economic power as opposed to making a political statement.

Boycotting has to serve a tangible end that is positively better than the current situation. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was not done to just shut down the bus system, it was done to have the tangible effect of Black folk being able to sit wherever they want and ending the racist system in play. If I'm not mistaken, the boycotts not only ended Jim Crow on the buses, it also led the hiring of Black bus drivers.

Another recent boycott is Al Sharpton's call to boycott The Boondocks because of the MLK episode. Here, I believe, is an example of a misplaced boycott because there is no tangible goal. An apology is not a tangible goal, either from Aaron McGruder or the Danish government. Boycotting just to make a point is like dunking at the end of a blowout game. Sure, it makes you feel like you did something, but the outcome hasn't changed.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 2:25 PM

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