Derrick Ashong

20 03 2008


Figure 1: Accidentally called out America on its own bullshit

Remember this?

I was probably one of the last people to watch this video, since I only saw it about 2 or 3 weeks ago. I wasn’t actually filled with a sense of pride because Derrick knew what he was talking about. I was filled with pride because the belligerent interviewer got his ass handed to him, and justly so for making the racist assumption that a dark dude with a shell necklace was simply voting for Obama because it’s the ‘black’ thing to do. Overall, I was very happy after watching this interview.

Then I read this commentary, written by Derrick as a guest column for CNN.

After reading it, I was VERY angry.

There are two things that piss me the fuck off about Derrick Ashong, and what’s interesting is that these two things really have nothing to do with Derrick Ashong at all.

The first thing seems relatively superficial – Derrick’s writing style. In reality, it’s not “Derrick’s writing style”, per se. Rather, it’s the writing style of many intelligent people (and not just blacks) who, when put in front of a general audience, feel the need to really gun it intellectually. They emphasize sophistication over clarity which, ironically, is exactly the wrong way to connect with the average person. So I guess I’m pissed off at this emphasis rather than the writing style itself, which is why my anger really has nothing to do with Derrick Ashong.

Anyway, If you read the commentary you’ll notice that it’s filled with four-syllable words that are rarely used in normal conversation. Reading Derrick’s article aloud is damn near impossible. While this demonstrates either an impressively masterful grasp of English vocabulary or ready access to an online thesaurus, it does two things that are very negative:

  1. Makes his writing difficult to digest: meaning that the message of his commentary, which is a very good one and should be absorbed by everyone, will probably be discarded by the average (i.e. easily distracted) reader as soon as they encounter the word ‘sophomoric’. This effectively renders his message as useless as if he’d responded to the interviewer on the YouTube video by flinging poop at him.
  2. Makes him look like he’s trying too hard to impress someone: like the first issue, this perception will dilute his message. Blue collar blacks and whites alike will, because of his language, view him as elitist, and dismiss his opinions altogether for a very simple and even logical reason – they’ll assume that Derrick doesn’t understand them, so his message can’t apply to them. They’ll do this even if they haven’t read/understood his message, and even if his message actually does apply to them (and it does)

I’m sure SEBPL will one day post an article entitled “Showing Off Intellectually” (they came close with this article), and explain the ins and outs of how smart black people everywhere feel the need to always max out their intellectual capacity in public, even if it makes them impossible to understand or a pain in the ass to deal with. It’s is similar to someone driving a Corvette at 160mph at all times just because they know it can go that fast. Derrick is using way more intellectual horsepower than is necessary to get his point across, and doing so is getting him in his own way. The shit needs to stop.

The second thing that pisses me off about Derrick (remember, I’m pissed ABOUT him, not AT him) involves subtle racism. If Derrick were white, none of this shit would’ve been news. Why? Because people wouldn’t necessarily be surprised that a white guy knew the issues and the candidates’ stances on them. It wouldn’t be a big deal, and it wouldn’t be newsworthy.

But a black guy, especially a dark black guy, is a different story. I can only imagine that the asshole reporter approached Derrick hoping to hear a ridiculous emotional motivation for supporting Obama: namely “BECAUSE HE’S BLACK!” or “I DUNNO, I JUST LIKE THE GUY AND THINK HE CAN CHANGE THINGS!” What’s even more enraging is that the reporter wasn’t the only one who thought this way. MOST PEOPLE thought this way, including a lot of black people.

Any person, black or white, who forwards you Derrick’s video gushing about how he knew his shit (instead of gushing about how dumb the reporter is) harbors the same latently racist attitude as the reporter. Why? Because that person is, like the reporter, either surprised or downright shocked that a black guy would know the issues so well.

I offer a challenge for people to dig deep, and really examine what they liked about the video. Did you like the video because the presumptive, racist reporter made the mistake of assuming Derrick was an idiot based on his appearance and, as a result, wound up looking like one himself? Or did you like it because, to your surprise, Derrick was able to pose a lucid and logical defense of Barack Obama?

Be honest with yourself. Subtle racism’s a bitch, ain’t it?




47 responses

20 03 2008

Well considering I a) live in New York City b)am a New York City public school teacher – shout out to the 8th graders! and c)have two Masters degrees – I am never shocked by intellectual black folks. I happen to meet them and speak to them everywhere, whether at a union meeting or professional development. So I’m sorry miss Ashong did not shock me and his vocabulary may be impressive and divisive to some, he obviously knows what the words mean. I think it’s more annoying that he could have said it simply but flossed.
Quick example, I took a group of students to Mt. Sinai for a scientist for a day program. About 5 doctors addressed the students, and they were speaking to them as if they had completed 4 years of college. Of course the woman running the program was pissed, she was like, “They could say this so simply, I’ve heard these guys talk to patients!” I immediately thought, do they purposely do this to make it impossible to access? Therefore, I continued to translate.

20 03 2008
Admiral Furious


You know… for now, I’m only going to add my 2 cents on small portion of this topic: the subtle fucking racism in the media and with blacks. What I absolutely, positively cannot mother fucking stand is when local and national news stations are covering a story and during their search for witnesses to whatever catastrophic event that has occurred they always choose some fairly well spoken non-blacks and then choose the most ridiculous looking, uneducated black on the scene! Would anyone like to retort on this? If so, let me give you two occasions where I’ve seem this first hand.

Situation 1) A few years ago, I was in Baltimore City leaving, ironically enough, court over on Wabash Avenue after rendezvousing with a friend. I was getting into my car when I heard the unmistakable sound of an accident directly up the way from the court house. To my horror the accident was far worse than it had sounded as two people (rich people mind you) were racing two sports cars (C5 Corvette and an NSX) with one of them T-boning a car at the intersection. Of course traffic stopped, and I cannot even imagine the number of 911 calls that were made. Well, the two Indian fellows who had been having the time of their lives collected themselves and checked the other driver. Unfortunately, she had expired. The two dudes jumped into the Vette and blew town. I was not brave enough to go over to the scene of the accident and inspect the damage, but we did approach the intersection. In no time flat police, ambulatory, and media services made their presences known and their appropriate jobs commenced. Well… this is where it gets extra stupid. People who hadn’t been anywhere near the accident were getting the interviews from reporters… not the drivers who witnessed the accident. Who were these people you ask? Random drifters who partake in only God know’s what activities during the day and night (I refuse to stereotype because that is the exact thing we complain about here). I don’t recall whether or not the other drivers were interviewed later, but I KNOW the police took statements from them. Shit even my friend and I had statements taken. But of course, who showed up on the 6pm news? The dishelved, skull cap wearing, ragged clothed, fools who didn’t even tell the right god damn story in the first place.

Situation 2) In 1998… I think that was the year… I was present during another tragic accident. UMBC, which is situated right next to a police station in south western Baltimore County suffered a loss during one of its most gleeful times: quadmania. On that evening, police were responding to criminal activity in Arbutus, a small poor white area just outside of campus. Since cutting through the University’s campus was the quickest way, the police put their emergency lights on, but did not activate their sirens. Mind you at the time this occurred, there were no stop signs around UMBC’s Loop Road, but stop signs at each road intersecting with it. The speed limit, meanwhile was 35mph. The police cars were doing over 70, when one of them T-Boned a small Hyundai, which could not have seen the police cars coming because of the curve of Loop Road and the presence of parked cars. I did not see the impact, but I saw the result… which fucks with me to this day. The paramedics were doing CPR on a girl on the ground. The girl was very pale and had what looked to be blonde hair. The next day I found out that the girl was African and as dark as me. But that is not the point of this comment… the ensuing reporters interviewed various people on campus the next day, including: several white people, an asian girl, and two of the basketball players on campus. (sigh) I think I’ve supplied enough information to get my point across.

My next argument is in support of the HATE of general stereotype regarding the intelligence level in blacks increasing with skin color. I’ve noticed that a vast majority of the actors, politicians, business-people, etc are light skinned, which is nothing new whatsoever. But god dammit, does it have to be the mother fucking norm? Do we really have to pass the fucking paper bag test just to not get fucked with by LEO and get decent jobs? SHIT!

20 03 2008

Damn you’re right… 😦
While I was pissed at the reporter and that he was obviously trying to imply the Derrick was just another angry black man who wants to stain the lilly white house, I was a little tooooo happy that Derrick was chopping his ass up with every answer. It was more like a holding my breath, crossing my fingers and hoping he’d come through for us after every question type of feeling.
Internal subtle racism is a bigger bitch. I’ll examine myself. Thanks

20 03 2008

Here we go again ./.. u guys probably don’t have much to do.

Derrick talks this way all the time. What y’all don’t know id that Derrick did his undergard, master… almost finished his PHD in Harvard what more do u expect?!! I am an Ivy League black student who thinks ppl like u don’t have much to do but overexaggerate things. Jeeze, leave Derick alone. He answered the questions, and wrote a nice piece whoever thinks of it based on his skin color has a problem. For me it was just a good opportunity for an Obama supporter to prove to an audience that he knew why he supported Obama it wasn’t because of his skin color. Truth be told, how many white people have been able to defend Obama has Derrick has? It’s not because of skin color, it’s because an Obama supporter proved it. Also, what is it about stuff “black people hate?” which black people? Well, where I live in Harlem a bunch of black people i know say they are not black … so what’s the fuss? Jeeze … let things be! Sooner or later people will realise there is really no black peoples movement!

20 03 2008

Would a Ivy Leager use the word overexaggerate??? LOL


Ladies and gentlemen, we have a poser in our midst.

Anyway, here is a link that serves as a perfect illustration of the phenomenon The Admiral described:

20 03 2008
20 03 2008
Admiral Furious

I noticed today that Hillary Clinton has opened a considerable lead over Barack Obama in the latest polls. This coming AFTER the whole religious controversy. What a shame.

20 03 2008

Ummm comment to Lilo: Ivy League…Really.. How about you get a life and spell check your ish before you post. JEEZ.

20 03 2008

Admiral can you post a link of the poll watch. Also I just peeped Uhura’s comment and I will agree with you about the Poser! Lilo must live in Spanish Harlem where the Black hispanics refuse to admit that they are in fact Black or of African descent. Because the Black people that I know from Harlem have NO problem with admitting it and LOVING it. Get it together Lilo….

tune in tonight cocoa luv chronicles 7-9 🙂

20 03 2008
LA to VA

Admiral Furious
As a person who has worked in media….NEVER believe a poll, seriously. I can’t even begin to explain…

I’m glad the reporter got his ass handed to him. But, I’m more surprised by the amount of black people I have personally talked to and their reasons for supporting Senator Obama. Shiiiit, they need to watch this video and/or read his article just for education sake. But like you pointed out, they probably won’t understand most of what he said anyway.

20 03 2008

I don’t doubt that LILO is an ivy-leaguer…bad spelling is not an indication of poor education, just sheer laziness and a willingness make a poor first impression. Or perhaps dyslexia. Give him (her?) a break! Wow, everyone is so harsh today…

20 03 2008
Admiral Furious

Thats interesting… when I went to search for the articles pertaining to the Clinton lead just a few seconds ago… they had all been removed. I saw this on CNN and Yahoo news. Can someone else find them?

LA to VA, I wrote what I did with a sense of cynicism and was not meant to be taken seriously. HOWEVER, considering the damage that these idiot polls can do when posted for the average fool to read (who doesn’t have the mental capacity to question what he or she has been given and read between the lines) Obama stands to suffer from the ‘bullshit’ (for the lack of better terms) that has been getting flung this way and that. Regardless, you are absolutely right. Polls are completely inaccurate due to the sampling that they’ve been given to.

20 03 2008
Admiral Furious

Additionally I wrote that to try and turn a corner from what Lilo said… but I failed miserably in doing so…

20 03 2008
LA to VA

Admiral Furious, Gotcha on the cynicism. Someone need to turn things around because Lilo’s statement was one to pass by not reply. I think I just jumped on your poll comment because of the people of low mental capacity that encounter here in the DC area so often. I have been lead to educate.Until of course, I run into someone who shows their understanding, as you did. Much respect 🙂

20 03 2008

Well I was shocked as hell hearing the guy speak on Obama. I guess because I’ve never heard any Obama supporter give a legitimate reason why they want to elect him. Its always that lame as hope, change, transform, unite, BS.

20 03 2008

damn there are some fine sistas on these here comments… i am bout to unsubscribe my subscription to now since I won’t need it.

20 03 2008

I love the handle voodoobooty. granted, i don’t know what you meant by it, but I do know what I imagine it to be.

I take opposition to your point. hopefully if you are watching CNN you have stepped up the vocabulary a touch with your decision to go beyond the local news.

at what point do we stop making excuses for the masses…step the f*ck up and learn something new, progress beyond mediocrity. word a day. something.

as for the polls discussion, that *ish is bs. one thing I like about the Obama effect is that he has managed to reach the people who the polls are not calibrated for.


20 03 2008


Does anybody actually read what I write? At what point did I say that I personally didn’t understand what he wrote?

I’ll step up my vocab when you step up your reading comprehension.

20 03 2008

Goddammit, I’m not even finished.

“at what point do we stop making excuses for the masses…step the f*ck up and learn something new, progress beyond mediocrity. word a day. something.”

I am so motherfucking sick and tired of the so-called intellectually elite assuming there’s a level playing field between blue collar and white collar people in this country.

Those of us who are white collar are truly goddamn blessed. The vast majority of us get to work in comfortable offices, with flexible schedules, get regular and substantial pay increases, have good benefits that extend to our families, and never have to go home physically exhausted. We can afford private tutors and the occasional babysitter to distract the kids while we spend time engaging ourselves and each other in high minded intellectual pursuits.

The blue collar guy doesn’t have time for that shit. The blue collar guy works a 12 hour shift in a factory that’s hot, noisy, poorly ventilated, and physically dangerous to be in. The poor fucker comes home with a sore back and a busted shoulder to his knucklehead kids who need help for the next four hours with homework, music practice, and learning how to throw a football to make the team at school. This guy can’t afford to have other people do this shit for him, because he needs to money to a.) send those fuckers to college and b.) retire before he’s goddamn 90. He has to somehow sandwich in between this the time to spend with his wife and friends to keep his adult relationships from falling apart. He will accomplish all of this only if he’s lucky.

After all that, this guy, unlike you, doesn’t have time every evening to beat off to the works of Immanuel Kant while congratulating himself on his extensive vocabulary and ability to comprehend the ‘worldy and sophisticated’ flavor of CNN (CNN is a network that once aired a 15-minute segment on a water surfing squirrel. If this is your idea of high minded, then I apologize for arguing with you – because doing so is like fishing with dynamite).

I’m going to assume that you’re black, Hmm. If you are, then there’s a damn good chance that somewhere in your not-too-distant ancestral past is someone who made a living by working with his hands – someone who worked him or herself half to fucking death so that one day your ungrateful ass could enjoy a lifestyle that gives you the spare time to mock theirs.

Ignorance must be bliss dude, because god only knows how convenient (and necessary) it must be to forget where and who you came from when you take it upon yourself to mock the average American.

21 03 2008

ImaG – i agree, that fuckin faggot reporter wanted a nigger answer out of derrick and was disappointed i was glad derrick came sideways on that queer. –

21 03 2008

Hmm…I got here a little late because the actual author got at your ignorant ass (very well, I might add). But regardless, I have reached the point of utter pisstivity that requires me to vent my anger at the current cause.
Regardless of your race/culture, I think that your attempt at conveying your intelligence and disdain for the average American’s limited vocabulary have only shown your ignorance.

It’s been said that truly intelligent people never lord their intelligence over others, and they never wear it as a badge on their sleeves. They adapt to the environment AND the audience. Granted, some believe that the “teacher” should never bow to the student, but the student should elevate themselves to the teacher’s level. However, those idiots are usually the ones who do not understand how to relate to others.

My point is…learn to see beyond your own damn nose (as my grandmother would say). Your life and lifestyle are not what every other American experiences. America is NOT that balanced. You have people who are struggling to survive–no wait…let me break that down for you:
There are Americans who are struggling to KEEP jobs that pay minimum wage ($5.75/hour) jobs so that when they get their paychecks, they can decide which bills they CAN pay; how they’ll stretch the budget to not only have shelter, but also food; and no time (or energy) to “…step the f*ck up and learn something new, progress beyond mediocrity. word a day. something.

These are not excuses…this is their reality. Thank God that it isn’t yours, but don’t hold your nose so high that you drown when it rains.

21 03 2008

Oh yeah…
Excellent post & website…I love it!

21 03 2008
Mr. Smith

I like how Derrick made his ass feel awkward at the end by dappin’ him up after he was done taking his ass to school. From the very first question, that reporter’s voice pissed me off to Holy Hell.

21 03 2008


Laughing at or being proud of the Derrick Ashong’s video doesn’t make someone a subtle racist. It makes the interviewer come across as a racist, but that has nothing to do with the people who laugh at or wish to admonish that idiot’s idiocy.

Don’t allow you love for hate to blind you and say things that make little to no sense. Too many people throw the “race” word around. Be careful, because you made a pretty good post look pretty stupid at the end by calling any person – black, white or in between – who sends the video a racist of sorts … that’s not smart.

And although I could read through Ashong’s bullshit speak (read: big word usage) in his CNN column, I do agree with you. Simple English is good enough, especially when dealing with the masses.

He didn’t help much, except for with the Ivy League crowd…

21 03 2008

Hey, the YouTube video response is a bit more accessible.

I think your point about subtle, institutionalized racism is valid and on point. And I have definitely noticed what someone above said about the media choosing random or hysterical black people to interview, when people of other races are concerned, but calm.

I know this may smack of the optimism that critics charge Obama supporters of, but I cannot WAIT for the day that intelligent black men won’t be a surprise. I know I find myself subconsciously surprised when I meet a black man that knows his stuff. A shame. A healthy dose of self-reflection is necessary, thanks for the prescription.

Also, I really like your blog, but I was just wondering, is it really stuff black people hate, or just stuff you hate?

21 03 2008

whoa. i just read the commentary. you are so right. i’d like to think of myself as pretty intelligent, but I don’t have patience for all that. i had to reread sentences, try to use context clues to figure out definition, etc. i was actually ready to close the browser earlier than sophomoric. i was annoyed at deftness.

don’t they have editors? i’m sure derrick is not the only one that succumbs to the tendency to utilize words too complex for their purpose. see, i sorta/almost did it there. but i’m sure there was someone that could have said, “hey pal. this is a bit too much for the audience, doncha think?” but maybe they were afraid to insult the black community.

anyway, after reading that, i see why you are soo upset.

21 03 2008

To Ivy:

“Also, I really like your blog, but I was just wondering, is it really stuff black people hate, or just stuff you hate?”

It all depends on how you define ‘black people’.

Most people go with the tacit definition of ‘black people’ – that is, a ‘high’ percentage of black people. The problem is that very few people are willing to define what that percentage is. Is it 90%? 80%? 50%? 25%? You may think 25% is a low and unreasonable number, but anyone who has ever gathered 100 random black people together and tried to get 25 of them to agree on something will say otherwise. For reasons such as these, agreeing on this percentage is literally impossible. It will always be a matter of opinion as to what constitutes a quorum of black opinion. This leaves the commonly accepted definition of ‘black people’ subject to change, and this is unacceptable to me.

Therefore, for the purposes of this site, I prefer to draw on the literal (or mathematical) meaning of ‘black people’ – as in “more than one black person”. This is a definition that no one can argue with as long as you make it clear that it’s the literal definition that you’re using.*

As such, this blog could also be called ‘Stuff More Than One Black Person Hates’, which is almost certainly accurate in that, for every post I make, I’m sure that I could find at least one of the 40 million or so black people in the country who agrees with it. I did not use this name, however, because it makes for an awkward URL.

And there you have it.

*I don’t make this clarification anywhere on my blog that’s clearly visible, mostly because I am an asshole.

21 03 2008

A couple of truths:

1) A good communicator tailors his / her message to the audience.

Por exlempo: Barak Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech was easily understandable by the vast majority of English speaking Americans, yet it was formulated in a way which conveyed his intelligence / thoughtfullness & it captivated the audience. By contrast, Mr. Ashong’s commets were formulated in a way which made me (and many other people not want to read them.

But then… perhaps Mr. Ashong chose the wording he did simply to confound a reporter who obviously thought he was “just another dumb kneegrow”….

2) This blog is the shiznit.

22 03 2008

Truthfully, I don’t exactly believe you can really tie someone liking the video to being proud that a black man knew the issues. I won’t disagree that this is a logical argument that, unfortunately, people immediately expected this young black man would give an emotionally charged response to Obama’s race.

I am a white guy, probably around Derrick’s age. I was really impressed by the video because a YOUNG person knew – and actually seemed to be an expert on – the issues, regardless of race. For a second, I thought the video may have been scripted because I can’t imagine anyone – white, black, professor, Rhodes Scholar – being so well informed about the issues.

I was definitely about to forward this video on to a friend just to show how involved and educated my generation is on political issues. But now, I feel like if I did forward the video, I might be wrongly perceived as being shocked a black guy knew the issues, when this is not the case at all.

The perception that a black man wouldn’t know the issues might be much more prevalent than the perception a young man (or young woman, for that matter) wouldn’t know the issues. I feel, maybe to optimistically, that my generation is getting tired of the racist b.s. So, let’s not forget that there may be positive reasons for liking this video – that my generation isn’t full of dummies and that Derrick did a damn good job of putting the asshole reporter in his place.

23 03 2008

I have a question for anyone who would like to respond, please. Did any of you see the other clips that this “reporter” posted where he speaks to the Clinton supporters?

23 03 2008

yeah it even doesn’t matter whether i am in an Ivy league or not. ignore my spelling if u want to concentrate on the point i am trying to make.

buttom line. D was making a point. i know him personally, that’s the way he speaks.

can we give him a break to make his point and rather agree or disagree rather waste a whole blog on his choice of vocabs?

yeah, i am new here …

24 03 2008

“buttom line. D was making a point. i know him personally, that’s the way he speaks.”

I have a hard time believing he speaks this way normally. If he always speaks this way, then why was his use of English so plain and understandable in the interview?

“can we give him a break to make his point and rather agree or disagree rather waste a whole blog on his choice of vocabs?”


24 03 2008
Monday Link Up | the 4-1-1 | Keeping you dialed in

[…] The Derrick Ashong Video, Revistited [Stuff Black People Hate] […]

25 03 2008
Lou D.

Hey all, I have to say that I was also holding my breath during this interview, mostly out of anger and keen interest. Keen interest, because I have just decided to vote for Obama and am glad I got to hear a supporter under fire. Anger, mostly because I wanted to punch the interviewer in the face. Why was the camera SO CLOSE?! The shooting and interviewing style looked/sounded so confrontational. I mean, step back, for one.

25 03 2008
Har D. Har

I can’t believe an engineer, of all professions, is capping on someone for using hard-to-understand language. That’s like the pot of dahl calling the kettle of greens Black.

25 03 2008
Har D. Har

oh my effing gawd. I just read the commentary. It was barely a page. It took like 3 minutes. Stop being so lazy, dude.

27 03 2008
Angry ver. 3.2 (Beta)

I finally got around to reading the commentary as well as watching the video…

Reporter = Owned.

27 03 2008

You are so right with this guy’s article. I only made it halfway through. If one were to read it out loud they would sound like Damon Wayans’ muslim(?) inmate character on IN Living Color. Well, look at that, 5 on the dot! Thanks for getting me through a really boring- ass day 🙂

4 04 2008
New reader

I had a couple of reactions to this clip, and I don’t think issues of race actually crossed my mind.

The first was that the reporter came across as incredibly ignorant from the first thirty seconds onward. By the time he hit “Isn’t that what Medicaid does?” I seriously wanted to smack him. It became obvious as he continued to talk that he knew he was asking ignorant questions, and just wanted to trick the speaker into making a false statement. It was obnoxious.

The second was that it was a pleasure to watch Derrick talk, simply because he was so obviously talking about a topic he loved. It really made me smile when he said, “I’m so glad you asked that”; you could tell that he talks about Obama’s mass appeal all the time when not on camera. The fact that he was registered independent and planned on voting for Obama backed that up. Of course, I hope LA County allows independents to vote in primary elections–where I live, if you are registered independent you don’t vote until the actual Presidential election.

Also, it was just exciting to hear someone talk about healthcare; it is one of my favorite political topics.

Incidentally, I’m new here but I love your blog.

4 04 2008
New reader

Oh, also:

“I watched in a state of minor shock, not so much at the deftness with which he defused the sophomoric conflation of his call for national unity with the inflammatory rhetoric of the retired head pastor of his church — a conflation that would imply that we must each swallow whole the entirety of views expressed by our friends and associates.”

Ye gods. You’re right, nobody actually talks like that in a conversation.

15 04 2008

I liked the video and forwarded it to my friends because:

1) A lot of them are of African descent, if not African students going to school here and we discuss political issues (both US and those of our home countries) all the time. So, I thought it was cool that something like this got such visibility. I’m not sure how to explain it except to liken it to feeling you get when you find out that some celebrity likes peanut butter and celery sandwiches as much as you do.

2) There is a very politically minded friend (also from the group described above) in his undergrad at FSU. He’s a pretty driven guy with the work that he does but I know that sometimes he probably feels like he’s the only one really pushing for certain things. So, I figured it would give him a boost (in the similar way that the peanut butter + celery thing validates your liking of it. Or another example, people shouldn’t need to be thanked for doing their jobs, yet they feel much better about doing the same task when someone is grateful).

3) The reporter’s intent (despite his claims otherwise) seemed so transparent. I support Obama and regularly deal with friends that don’t. So, this was a double whammy – a reasoned and nuanced view on why someone else supports Obama on a particular topic while showing up a reporter for trying to get another “All Obama supporters care about are words and not issues”. Typically, I get the following when someone finds out I support Obama:

a. Is it because he’s black?
b. Is it because his message is exciting/inspiring or something similar?

I’ve only let this go once. That’s because she was extremely hot and she realized she’d made the wrong move and immediately covered by turning it into a joke by saying “don’t worry, I support Hillary because I’m a woman”. Then we proceeded to have a good discussion over Hillary vs Obama. Then later proceeded to exchange digits 🙂

16 04 2008
Merri Lee

I’m sick and tired of the news picking the most hood niggaz to answer their “question on the street.” Today I’m watching the news and turns out there was a scam at a local talk radio station with an employee rigging the $1000 giveaways. So the TV news randomly asks Ja’Quan, Jesus Miguel and Shaneequa what they thought of the scam. They answer with some, “dog, that’s some illness, people are tryna win money.”

Problem – KVI is a conservative talk radio station. Were Tykeena and them really the audience?

15 05 2008
Prime Minister Cinema

ok. you got me. i was impressed that Derrick knew his shit. many of these prick producers/reporters screen the crowd and find the most stereotypical dumbasses they can find to fit the slant of the story they want to tell before turning on the cameras. i do see the credibility in your argument that i may be proud for the wrong reason. when i look at it from your angle this reporter gave Derrik (the interviewee) a machine gun clip full of questions and followup questions that was probably an attempt to discredit Obama voters as only “caught up in emotions” and unaware of of substance concerning the political issues. However i don’t see anything wrong with being proud of the fact that a voter knew the isssues and why he was motivated to lend his support to Obama. I do commend you for highlighting the “conspiracy theory” that was probably in play. Of course many white people and blacks alike feel that blacks like you and I are black zealots who find a “conspiracy theory” in everything. I must admit that I find myself using “BIG WORDS” and being verbose in an attempt to flex my command of the english language not taking into account my audience sometimes. Since you asked me to take a good look at myself, I did. Me thinks it must be motivated sometimes by a desire to impress and because my moms was a schoolteacher and principal who taught me to love words and reading. Hey, it’s what i got. I never really read blogs much until a friend turned me on to and subsequently clicked thru to your site and and that I began loving blogs. Anyways, I’ve been a stranger in a strange land for so long that it’s good to know that there are other sarcastic assholes out there just like me and many smart and wisdom seeking black folks with and without degrees. “If a man is to be judged it should be by the wisdom of his words and actions and not by any institutionalized credentials” E. Tan I know a bunch of idiots with degrees BS, BA, CME, AME, COGIC, infinitum.

28 08 2008
CNN « Stuff Black People Hate

[…] because they watch CNN. I didn’t even realize these people existed until I went off on Derek Ashong awhile back and some ass hat made the comment: “hopefully if you are watching CNN you have […]

29 08 2008

This entry makes great sense. Kudos for writing it.

1 12 2008

To answer the question, I liked the video because Derrick brought it. Clearly the reporter was trying his damndest to dismiss him (notice his “uh-huh’s” before Derrick could even finish his statement.) See, the reporter assumed that because Derrick is dark, that he is not intelligent, or up on the issues. Typical YT thinking. But the reporter ended up taking it in the ass, royally. I bet he got fired for that interview alone. Makes me laugh just thinking about the conversation that took place back at the office:

Boss: I told you to get the most ignorant nigra you could find.
Reporter: I thought I found one. He was black as hell, and he was wearing shells around his neck for Christsakes.
Boss: But he didn’t have any visible gold teeth. What were you thinking? And why in the hell didn’t you stop when he said his father was a pediatrician? You KNOW that means he’s going to have some sort of education.
Reporter: It was the shells, I didn’t even hear his words, all I could see was “African Savage”. I was so sure…
Boss: You’re fired.

26 02 2009
The Oyibo

I just saw Derrick Ashong talk at a meeting in the UK Parliament and had to leave.
I think people could hear me simmering at the back in a very unparliamentary way.

I was angry because he seems to have some very good ideas, real enthusiasm, commitment and integrity… but was being wheeled out as “black guy who’s positive attitude, ability to connect with people and generally be cooler than us will save global democracy.”

The sense that things may be alright in the USA is not mirrored here in the UK. We have no Obama. The banking sector has collapsed, we are facing mass unemployment and years of decline. The old models of media – especially newspapers – are disintegrating. Politicians don’t know how to respond or connect with people any more. it’s pathetic to watch.

So imagine Sister Act II but set in the British parliament. Not even the first Sister Act. It was that painful. At one point he gently ribbed black political activists who called things “Babylon”. He may as well have thrown in some Babylon 5 references. I think it would have met with the same level of recognition.

His plan – some kind of makeover reality TV show in communities without hope, with blogs and social networking – on the forthcoming Oprah TV Network is not a dreadful idea, necessarily, but it also has the potential to be like something out of dystopian Science Fiction. Poverty and despair as entertainment, but entertainment with a conscience. A kind of perpetual telethon to solve all world evils.

The scope of the project excludes people without net connections… like, the vast majority of poor people. And the vast majority of the world’s poorest people… are Africans. And yet this is supposed to provide new alternatives to accountable government and democractic oversight?

If it’s not being blogged about, it’s not happening, right? The Twitter and blog traffic about the Oscar Grant shooting has quietened down so… that must be all sorted out now, right? No more trigger happy, racist cops in Oakland. Phew. Thank God citizen journalists sorted that one out.

But rather than call him out on the obvious weaknesses in his plan people “loved his energy”.

This mirrors the London Mayor showing he was down with the Facebook generation by responding to Lily Allen’s idea to solve knife crime in inner cities (hand out sewing machines). Professional politicians patronising entertainers with political opinions, because they know it garners positive press.

To me, Ashong’s florid language suggests someone who loves words and language but isn’t entirely confident in expressing his ideas, and isn’t sure who his audience is. Yet he is highly eloquent and makes many astute observations. Can’t he be judged by his ideas alone?

There’s a black, seriously intellectual President in the United States who’s also a brilliant communicator. I really thought and hoped the world had got beyond needing to be entertained to value what someone has to say.

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