Ridley: New Step-In Fetch-It

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(John Ridley, failed comic turned Step-in Fetch-it).

There is a disturbing new trend in the mainstream media lately, namely, the emergence of African-American so-called conservatives willing to do the bidding of right-wing whites by blaming poor Black folks for the host of social ills visited upon those still stuck in the slums.


Rabidly racist, these Negro-cons are not above referring to ghetto dwellers by the N-word, as if those who’ve escaped have achieved some sort of honorary white status. More shocking than their self-hating disdain for the average African-American, is the unchecked access these Uncle Toms have to major communications outlets, provided they are prepared to condemn their own kind in a manner which one ordinarily associates with the Ku Klux Klan.

Take for example, John Ridley, who just this month was granted space in both Time and Esquire Magazines. In the former, he makes a shocking case for the word “Nigger� in a piece entitled “Why I’m Good with the N-word.� He argues that comedians like Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock “have advanced the racial debate� somehow by working this slur into their acts, concluding, “We need this word.�

We get a good idea of exactly why the untalented Mr. Ridley, a failed stand-up comic, is an advocate for the epithet in his Esquire article where he makes liberal use of the patently-offensive term. Repeatedly referring to impoverished Blacks as “niggers,� because of the high unemployment, incarceration and out-of-wedlock birth rates in the ‘hood, he never once pauses to reflect on the exploitative and marginalizing societal forces which have consciously collaborated to strand the bulk of the black community in a virtually-inescapable cycle of inhumane living conditions for generation after generation.

Instead, he vents about his own people’s shortcomings for a full four pages, before extolling the virtues of Republicans like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, as if skin color no longer matters in America because of the accomplishments of a couple of sell-outs on behalf of oil companies and war profiteers. How come Condi could fly instantly to the Middle East to intervene when Kaytusha rockets started raining down on Israel but was too busy shopping for shoes to show any concern for the refugees stranded on rooftops right after Katrina?

Though meandering unedited, as if a stream-of-consciousness rant, the mean-spirited monologue in Esquire does have a prevailing theme, that successful African-Americans owe nothing to the least of their brethren. “It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck,� he summarizes in a most condescending and un-Christian manner.

Though he will now undoubtedly be the toast of the electronic town square as he makes the rounds of talk shows on cable-TV networks, this vile backstabber deserves to be shunned for the irreparable harm he is doing to the hopes and aspirations of millions by feeding bigots all the fuel they need to rationalize a color-coded agenda of continued intolerance.

Excerpt: "Let me tell you something about niggers, the oppressed minority within our minority. Always down. Always out. Always complaining that they can't catch a break. Notoriously poor about doing for themselves. Constantly in need of a leader but unable to follow in any direction that's navigated by hard work, self-reliance. And though they spliff and drink and procreate their way onto welfare doles and WIC lines, niggers will tell you their state of being is no fault of their own… It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck. Just as whites may be concerned with the good of all citizens but don't travel their days worrying specifically about the well-being of hillbillies from Appalachia, we need to send niggers on their way.� - John Ridley, writing in December’s Esquire Magazine


Black Star columnist Kam Williams is an attorney and a member of the bar in NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.

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