The NAACP celebrates its 100th anniversary today and their 40th Annual Image Awards will be televised tonight on FOX. The awards' stated mission is to celebrate
the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (motion picture, television, recording, and literature), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.
It's that second clause that evaded Defamer when the blog questioned Dakota Fanning's nomination. I vaguely understand the frustration of my African-American friends when they have to keep schooling dim white people. But then, I've been taken for black myself.
Years ago, I worked on a pilot for HBO featuring Ice-T as a talk show host, discussing issues of the day. My job was to create sequences of movie clips to introduce each section, compiled from Blacksploitation films, classics of Black cinema, et cetera. Very fun job-- I got paid to watch Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil's Son-in-law, and thus know the Rudy Ray Moore oeuvre inside and out. My AP and I were the only white people on the staff.
The sequences fell into various categories--Pimps and Hos, Slick Rides, and my personal favorite We Just Talk That Way To Fool Y'all--and were pretty damn funny, if I say so myself. EP Carl Craig dragged me along to present these to the execs at HBO. Presentation commences, most of us fall about the place laughing, and the suits try to look amused, but are clearly mystified and/or horrified.
Some, most, all of those film clips were profane, rude and crude. That's why they're funny.
I take my little VHS tape and leave. Back in the office, Carl tells me that one of the VPs was shocked that I could have come up with these outrageous montages, as (exact quote) "She doesn't look very street." Carl's instant rejoiner was "Street? Kate's white!"
And thus my rep as a down-with-it sistah was destroyed even before it got traction. Of course, everyone else in the office thought his mistake was hilarious and yet another example of the cluelessness of white people.
And after 100 years of the NAACP's hard work, ignorance still stumbles along.