Chicago: Just like Haiti?
When I saw that there was an article over at MTV News in which Lupe Fiasco agreed with Bill O'Reilly that the South Side of Chicago is like Haiti, I was all prepared to jump off in Lupe's ass. No homo.
You know how Lupe Fiasco is: he likes to take a controversial stance on an issue, to make himself look smart, but he just ends up making himself look dumb. In the 2008 presidential election, he famously came out against his fellow Muslim Chicagoan Barack Obama. Which I could kinda get with - I've been saying Obama is the puppet on the left, long before he bailed out Wall Street rather than Main Street, failed to get us single payer health care or even so much as a public option, squandered an historic opportunity to make any real progress on climate change, so on and so forth. But instead of throwing his support behind someone who might have been able to save this country - and, by extension, the world - before it was too late, Lupe endorsed Hillary Clinton, of all people. The fuck kind of bullshit is that? Not only is Hillary to the right of Barack Obama (and not on anything that you might want her to be, like putting up a fence, or forcing Muslims to travel by train), but I think people are finally starting to learn that there's a price to be paid for supporting women in important elections. Would Barack Obama be president today, if John McCain hadn't selected Sarah Palin as his running mate? Ted Kennedy's Senate seat now belongs to a Republican former male model, in part because he ran against a woman.
[Take as much time as you need to reflect on that last sentence.]
And now here Lupe Fiasco was cosigning Bill O'Reilly, the most hated cable news host in all of hip-hop. (Most loved: Campbell Brown, natch.) O'Reilly, on his Bold & Fresh (How I Like My Women) Tour with Glenn Beck, essentially said that it's pointless to donate any money to Haiti, even if it's not through Wyclef Jean's charity, because no matter how much money you send down there, it never gets any better, and in that sense, it's like the South Side of Chicago. He wasn't drawing a connection between the plight of black people throughout the diaspora, he was making an argument against coming to their assistance. Because they're just gonna spend it all on crack. It's an argument not unlike the one put forth by that guy Paul Shirley, a white guy who played for the Chicago Bulls for a few weeks back in the aughts, and now blogs for ESPN for a living. Er, he used to, until he got canned the other day, for saying he wouldn't send so much as a dime down to Haiti. Because why bother, if they're gonna insist on living buildings that aren't structurally sound, and breeding as if they were jackrabbits? You get the idea that this is how a lot of white people feel about Haiti, it's just that the only ones willing to cop to it are Bubba the Love Sponge, some guy who wasn't good enough to play in the NBA, and motherfucking Bill O'Reilly. And shit, probably a lot of black people, too. These things usually tend to be a lot more complex than just black vs. white.
Is that how Lupe Fiasco feels about Haiti? I doubt it, which is why I'm hesitant to jump off in his ass, to use what I'm assuming is the parlance of prison Islam. It sounds like MTV may have just told him that Bill O'Reilly said the South Side of Chicago is like Haiti, and then shoved a mic in his face. Which he then took as an opportunity to point out that, yeah, the South Side of Chicago is kinda like Haiti. The South Side of Chicago is poor and corrupt, and Haiti is also poor and corrupt. We've all seen that video of Derrion Albert getting his head split open to the white meat. I don't know for a fact that shit like that happens in Haiti, but I'm willing to believe that it's true, just based on what I've seen on cable news these past few weeks. That's probably why the Red Cross was so scared to hand out bottled water. They might want to have a team of scientists look into creating a bottle of water that's sturdy enough to be dropped on a country from above. If people get killed fighting over it, that'll just thin out the population a little bit, thus killing two birds with one stone. Alas, this was the extent of Lupe's analysis. As if anyone actually needed him to go on TV and explain that poverty in one place is like poverty in another place, except that it's in a different place. The question is: why is there such poverty in the first place? As was the case with Kanye West at that Hurricane Katrina telethon, you wish Lupe had a stronger grasp on the issues. He's got the platform.