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Pet Sins July 2002

Blaxploitation in 'non-profit' marketing

I used to work with a [public relations/marketing-type company]. I hated my job. People working there were foolish bigots taking advantage of people, selling junk to people with enough of a lack of self-esteem to buy these "one step cures" to being overweight, unhappy, unloved, and poor.

Some of these people were willing to exploit death and starvation to get "good footage". They said heinous things and I felt they hurt people at every turn. I couldn't believe I was a part of this. I couldn't believe the privileges these people had and how cruel they could be. One of my bosses was the supreme offender. He went to Africa to film 'starving' kids receive food from a company that was making an informercial with [a black American sports superstar].

This shit that he does to make money hurts him. People hate him. He got malaria when he returned from his blaxploitation trip to Africa. I kept thinking that these things that happened to him would give him an opportunity to see the proverbial light. Each time he squandered the chance, gems of chances - God-given.

A.
1999

Comment from 'S.'

Has anyone else noticed that many people who are supposed to be for this cause or that cause are really just for themselves?

You have people who are in the business of education, whose supposed ideal is to disseminate knowledge, but they do the exact opposite - hoarding their knowledge for themselves by obscuring the paths of students with deliberately crappy text books. My math professor and I were looking over a textbook. A very simple concept presented in the book was made to sound extremely complicated by the author. My professor was saying, "What does he have to prove? Prove how smart he is by making it hard for people to understand?" As my professor said, they are on an ego trip - they are really not about sharing knowledge at all.

The same thing with some people who do research on lesser known aspects of people of color or whatever non-mainstream group. They are really not interested in promoting the awareness of their research subjects to the general public. They choose an obscure topic because no one else has done it before, and they are just doing that for personal recognition in their field. They don't give two hoots about their subjects even though some of them go to great lengths to pretend to.

And the worse is, even some people working in civil rights are like that. I've heard enough stories about people who use their names, or their family member's name, to profit financially. Like making people pay for mentioning their names or using their speeches or whatever. Nothing wrong with seeking acknowledgment of intellectual property, but some of them go through a lot of trouble to squeeze others who in no way profited from the use of their name or whatever. Like the story about some civil rights celebrity who sued some organization for naming some public monument in his/her honor.