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The Airing of Grievances
Thursday, October 07, 2004
 
Milton, Harry, Colin and Uncle Tom
According to this report, Milton Bradley of the L.A. Dodgers recently called a reporter he had a beef with an "Uncle Tom." Turns out the incident was caught on tape, but the Dodgers insisted the tape be destroyed and the camera crew complied. Wow.

In any event, this got me thinking of the Harry Belafonte-Colin Powell incident from two years back. Remember that one? Belafonte, clearly unhappy with Powell's politics, weighed in with this:

"Colin Powell is permitted to come into the house of the master, as long as he will serve the master according to the master's plans. And when Colin Powell dares suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture. And you don't hear much from those who live in the pasture....

There's an old saying in the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master to exactly the way the master intends to have you serve him."
So for all intents and purposes Belafonte called Powell a "house nigger." I recall thinking at the time that this was completely out of line. But now, two years later, after watching Powell appear less and less dignified by the day (e.g. dressing up like as one of the Village People and doing a little jig ), and after hearing that largely fictional presentation about the Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, I still say that this type of venom has absolutely zero place in our public discourse.

Even assuming agreement with Belafonte's general sentiment, he simply has to find a less divisive and hateful way to make his point. Rather than using his public pulpit to throw such incendiary barbs, he should constructively set forth the reasons that he feels Colin Powell has done a disservice to his race. Undoubtedly, such a message would receive less attention, however, it would be taken much more seriously and carry a good deal more weight. A huge thumbs down to Harry (and Milton) here. Terrible jobs.

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