Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million and immediately made waves. He fired popular coach Tom Landry who had won two Super Bowls for the Cowboys. He installed Miami Hurricanes coach Jimmy Johnson and Jones’ former teammate with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Jones also got involved with day-to-day operations with the Cowboys and made personnel decisions. Previously, owners had let football men run their teams.

Nearly 30 years later Jones is still making waves. He has been vocal about players standing for the Anthem and has been obstinate on the NFL renewing commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract. Now he is in hot water over his “black girl” remarks made at a Dallas hotel four years ago. Drunk off his ass, Jones congratulated “Jennifer” on her wedding and boasted how her fiancee was sleeping with a black girl before the wedding:

The Shock Exchange is all for some carousing and good fun, but Jones crossed a line here. His comments evoke memories of the movie Monster’s Ball, produced by Lion’s Gate and Lee Daniels Entertainment in 2001. The movie starred Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger, Mos Def, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and Peter Boyle. The movie centers around Hank (Bill Bob), his father Buck (Boyle) and Letitia (Halle Berry). Hank and his son are executioners at a state penitentiary in Georgia. They execute a black man on death row. Hank later becomes romantically involved with Letitia, who unawares to Hank, is the widow of the man he just executed.

Hank is widowed, lives with his son and father, and is probably lonely. Letitia is manless, has a teenage son (Tyrell) she doesn’t know what to do with, broke, and with an uncertain future. During a storm Letitia and Tyrell are walking home when Tyrell is struck by a car. Hank encounters them and drives them to the hospital where Tyrell dies. The two paths keep crossing which eventually leads to a romantic relationship. The question arises, “Is this relationship born out of love or convenience?”

Are Relations Between Black Women, White Men Built Into The System?

In what world could Letitia and Hank have possibly met? If they had gone to high school together they probably would never have noticed one another. Nonetheless, the “odd couple” seems to be getting along rather well. However, two things are certain – they get strange looks from other people in town and Hank is nothing like his racist father Buck. Actually, he is more cultured and has evolved far beyond what his father represents.

One day Letitia drops by Hank’s house uninvited to bring him a gift. There she encounters Hank’s father all by himself and they strike up a conversation. Sensing his opportunity, Buck brings it on home:

Hank: Wheeeewwww! Damn! Hank must have done something right to deserve a fine hat like this.

Letitia: I guess he did.

Hank: In my prime I had a thang for ___ juice myself. Hank just like his daddy. You ain’t a man ’til you’ve split dark oak.

Throughout the movie the audience gets the sense Buck is unaware of the evolving world around him. His encounter with Letitia might have proven Buck was the one with the smarts – “Hank might fancy the idea that he’s not racist and has ‘evolved’ … in reality he is just like his father … Hank just doesn’t engage in straight talk.  In reality the world has never changed. And it never will. The system is set up so white men have all the resources, black men stay disenfranchised and black women have to make Faustian bargains for sake of survival.”

The system that allowed Buck to ‘split dark oak’ at his leisure is the same system Hank and Letitia’s relationship was borne out of. We just won’t admit it. This is the system Jerry Jones was boasting about in the video. Jones didn’t create the system, but he doesn’t mind benefiting from it. Mass incarceration that keeps millions of black men locked up means there are millions of Letitias without a man, and millions of Hanks not incarcerated and with resources to bargain with. President Obama and the federal reserve amplified that bargaining power when they printed $30 trillion and gave it to white Americans – mostly in New York and California – while the rest of the country was left to fend for itself. Now President Trump wants to cut taxes so the Hanks of the work don’t lose it.

When the Shock Exchange first saw Monster’s Ball he thought the movie was a silly, dumbed down version of America. However, the themes – mass incarceration, the pretense that the roles played by Hank and Letitia are happenstances – keep repeating themselves over and over again. And all the time Obama thought people would not acknowledge his progress. Look at that progress …

On Trump And The Global Economy

The second installment of Trump And The Global Economy Town Hall took place October 24th in Fort Greene. It Featured Professor Lance Brofman, Coconut Rob (Coconut Rob Smoothies), Wuyi Jacobs (AfroBeats Radio) and Ralph Baker, author of Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead.

The event was well-received by the community. We parsed through President Trump’s proposed tax plan and [i] how it was pure economic folly and [ii] high net worth individuals could potentially game the system by shifting income around. Apparently, Kansas Coach Bill Self did this when the state of Kansas cut taxes in the past. We discussed the pros and cons of technology on workers and the economy. How will the economy and country prosper under Trump’s leadership vis-a-vis Obama? What’s behind the verbal sparring with black athletes, ESPN’s Jemele Hill and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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