Maybe, but not for the reasons you might believe
Brian McKinny speaks with Alfonzo (Zo) Rachel of ZoNation
Jada Pinkett Smith and her Hollywood superstar actor husband, Will Smith have sided with director Spike Lee’s accusations that the Oscars have become a “whites only” club, claiming institutional bias as the reason that for the last two consecutive years there have been no peoples of color nominated in the major categories of the Oscar Awards.
The accusations of institutional racism, despite the fact that the Oscars are chaired by President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American woman, carry weight in the media and in social and political circles. Recent articles in The New York Times, The Daily Beast and other historically left-leaning newspapers and websites have lined up in support of the cause of “diversity.” With their claims of lowered ratings when nominees in major categories do not include people of color, these news outlets say that this is proof of the Oscars being “gamed” against anyone who isn’t white, making it more difficult for actors and films made by people of color to be nominated. Oscars President Isaacs said on January 14 in an article by Entertainment Weekly that “Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated].”
Political commentator and pundit for PJTV.com and Fox News, Alfonzo Rachel has his own ideas on why these volatile charges of racial bias are being made, and what they mean to accomplish with them. I had the opportunity to talk with Alfonzo Rachel about the issues of race with The Academy and the entertainment industry, as well as the politics and motives behind the #OscarsSoWhite movement.
McKinny: Spike Lee was the first to bring up as an issue the fact that this is the second consecutive year the Oscars have failed to nominate anyone of color for any of the major categories for awards this year. Shortly after he made his accusations, Jada Pinkett-Smith and her movie star husband, Will Smith made similar accusations against the voting membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In your opinion, what is the reason behind these accusations, and do you think it’s a valid complaint?
Alfonzo Rachel: “I’m not saying that they don’t have a valid complaint per se, but I do think that they have gotten better at complaining about where they are. The same complaints that they’re making now are the same complaints that they made years ago, when Will Smith was still making blockbusters, and they’ve gotten better at it by learning they can make money doing it. They’re able to get more publicity out of it. They’ve gotten better at the race hustle.”
McKinny: Would you call it a sort of racial extortion?
Rachel: “Yeah, it’s extortion, alright. It’s basically one long lawsuit against the American public. This is the thing: there will be no resolution to this because it makes money, and it generates votes. In terms of “how it’s going to be solved” — I mean, you and I both probably knew it wouldn’t be — but this whole issue of racial division was supposed to have been solved by the election of the first black president, Barack Obama. The political Left and the Afro-centrists were supposed to be happy — they had gotten what they wanted — a black president who himself said that he was focused on bring the nation together to heal race relations; he was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize that he didn’t deserve!
The fact of the matter is that he’s done everything he could in his vast presidential power to actually widen the racial and economic divide between blacks and whites to historic levels not seen since before the equal rights movement started. And with people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and their ilk fanning the flames of racial division and hatred, the perpetual victimhood of black people in all walks of life has permeated the Left and the mainstream media, and they use that victimhood and division to raise money for the furtherance of their political causes, not to heal or to make right any real injustices.
So now they’ve stooped to things such as “#OscarsSoWhite” because they don’t want to focus on the truth behind race relations; the truth about who has really made things worse between the races, and who has caused the youth employment race for blacks in this country to skyrocket to almost 50% in his presidency — a rate that hasn’t been seen since Reconstruction after the Civil War. And with the Leftists and the media pushing their agenda of “social justice,” these kinds of false narratives of perceived injustice will never end.”
McKinny: Before you became a conservative, you had a left-leaning political ideology yourself. Have you ever been part of the Afro-centrist movement yourself? Did these cries of racial inequality ever hold sway for you personally?
Rachel: “I’ve never been a part of it. I almost bought into it when I was younger, but when I saw just how much sniveling was involved with it, just all the hypocrisy — even at a much younger age, thank God I was able to see through it. I thought, “Is this what we want? Really?” So when the next Oscars comes around and we see black people getting awards, you know what people won’t be able to help but think? They’ll inevitably, and rightly so, be thinking “Did that person’s performance really merit an Oscar, or did they get nominated and awarded an Oscar because of the complaining and whining that went on last year? That’s probably why they got it, so let’s just give them their little trophy to keep them quiet.” That’s what people are going to think, and it undermines the people who really did get their awards based on merit, and not some fear of reprisals over perceived social injustices. It’s the same thing with Affirmative Action.
Let’s say, a doctor walks into an exam room and he’s black. You ask yourself, did he get to be a doctor because he was really talented and completed his course of study and exams, or did he get there because of the color of his skin and some government mandated racial quotas in our universities and colleges? These are problems and questions that only perpetuate racism. If you really want to find out what institutional racism really is, you only have to look so far as government mandates such as Affirmative Action. It just promotes the idea that black people cannot achieve anything because of hard work and talent without the help of these racist programs that cast a pall of doubt on the achievements of blacks in America. We can stand on our own two feet without the government filling race quotas, and that’s a truth that people like Spike Lee and Al Sharpton don’t want the rest of us to know.”
McKinny: So you see these complaints more as a bastardization or hijacking of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s than as a tool of the Afro-centrists?
Rachel: “Definitely. See, Brian, there was a time when those kinds of things were very relevant and justified —the civil disobedience and the fight for social justice was real then, and it meant something because there was institutional racism with Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws of the deep South, lynching and the terror tactics of the Ku Klux Klan, anti-integration forces in our schools and state and local governments. There was a time to fight all that out in the open, with everything we could, and thankfully, that time has passed. We’ve moved forward, and for someone like President Obama to say that we’re a racist country, and that “It’s in our DNA” is hateful and wrong. America’s past with regards to racial inequality is just that – our past. Does that mean we stop fighting for justice? Absolutely not, but we must fight battles that mean something, and those battles should be against real injustices, not merely perceived by certain affluent individuals who are angry and upset because they didn’t get nominated for an award. That’s just childish.”
“They’ve hijacked what was once a noble quest for equality and turned it into a carnival of race-baiting and racial division in order to make money, gain attention and fame, and to get votes. We’re decades beyond the Civil Rights movement of the past, and what they’re doing to that legacy demeans it because of the pettiness of their accusations and argument. But as long as people can make a publication out of it, get votes from it, or make money, it’s always going to be an issue.”
McKinny: Do you see this more as a political issue, or more as a social issue?
Rachel: “It’s both political and social —the two usually stroll hand in hand. Money and votes are part of the main engine of it, but it gets down to some complex issues that people can lean on, needing something to complain about in order to validate where they stand in society or among their peers. They have cultivated a victim mentality that qualifies them within whatever ethnic or economic group that they occupy. I’ve got to say, the Democrats and their leftist ideology are at fault for this; they’ve been doing it from the beginning. The programming the Democrats have done to Americans and in the black community is insidious and evil. Just look at what it has done. LBJ said it best himself: “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democrat for the next two hundred years!” And they’ve systematically kept this going and going, without end, and it works. Money and votes, just like LBJ prophesied all those years ago.
McKinny: What’s your take on the actors who have since come out in support of Spike Lee and the “OscarsSoWhite” movement? Are they just bandwagon jumpers, hopping on the cause célèbre, or do you think they actually believe in what they say they support, or is it just more hypocrisy in Hollywood?
Rachel: Well for those who are going for the #OscarSoWhite support, or any of those patronizing white liberal actors who are going along with this, I don’t any of them forfeiting their Oscars in protest, or handing their awards over to any black actors and actresses they believe deserved an Oscar. To me, it’s just lip service. They’re not risking anything by supporting this cause, even though they probably couldn’t care less, one way or the other. Hollywood is strange, because it’s probably the single most self-serving community on the planet. People will say or do anything they think they can get away with if they believe it will get them the headlines and attention that they so desire. What’s the old saying? “There’s no such thing as bad press.” They operate on that assumption because, either way, they get their name in the headlines and that keeps them relevant, even if for just a short while.”
McKinny: Were you aware that Spike Lee was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy this year?
Rachel: (Laughing) “No, I wasn’t! Honestly, I don’t really pay attention to that guy. I mean, we’ve got BET, we have our own awards shows – and it’s still not enough for you? I mean, can you imagine if there was a “White Entertainment Television” network? Seriously, the hypocrisy of it all is just breathtaking.”
“For those in the black community who want this — if you want white people to give you these awards, try making movies that generally, people can relate to. It’s like everything they try making has to be a “Black Thing.” You make it only for the “black culture” and you want to qualify people for it — they have to be part of the black culture so you know where they’re coming from, and that just doesn’t relate to the rest of society in general. You exclude white people, you make entertainment that only appeals to black people, and then you want white people to reward you for it. It doesn’t make any sense.”
McKinny: How do we finally get past this kind of issue of race being injected into every issue, political or social? Is there a cure for this most pernicious and persistent kind of social ill?
Rachel: “Well, I believe the first step to a cure is to just take the chip off our shoulder. That’s really all it comes down to. Also, we must kill the culture of victimhood. People need to realize that not every time you have a scrap with someone who isn’t the same color as you is about race. People are always going to have disagreements, and they’re almost never based on the color of your skin.
Once we re-learn how to deal with each other without the issue of race being interjected, everyone will stand on their own two feet, and on a level playing field. Equal opportunity is what this country is all about, not equal outcome. That’s for the socialists, and that’s where their philosophy is so deeply flawed, and it is also the basis for the victimhood mentality. That mentality had been dead and gone for decades, but has since seen a revival because the ideology of the Left demands that there be class warfare in order to achieve their goals. Without that victimhood, they cannot succeed, because everyone will be judged on their merits, as they should be. But there are still people out there who feed off of it because they use it to achieve their goals, both financial and political.”
McKinny: How can we defeat that kind of hypocritical ideology finally?
Rachel: “I don’t really know how we’re finally going to get over this kind of thing, but I do know this: I see a great opportunity, because those of us who vote right of center, we know — we know what the Democrat party is, we know what their history is. We’ve been trying to tell the black community for so long now, and they don’t listen to us because they can’t! We have no voice in the black community. The left has the education system, they have the entertainment industry, they have the media – and with every angle they preside over the black community, and that community is totally in the tank for them (the Democrat Party).”
“We’ve been trying to tell them that the ones who are keeping them down are the Democrats! So, personally — I’ll just go ahead and say “Republicans” — Republicans want to do something about this, to say, “Look, we’re not the enemy! It’s really the Democrats and their ideology that’s been screwing you for all these years, not us! We’re the party of Lincoln, remember! That’s never changed, yet you’ve been lied to and convinced that we’re the ones who are against you, but now you’re starting to see the light!” The very industry you’ve been trying to get into and to be recognized by is the very same industry that has been lying to you all this time, trying to keep you down, and out of the front office, and just who do you think that it’s run by?”
“I think that if black folks want to say that the Oscars are racist, Republicans should be right behind them saying, “You’re damn right! You’re right, they are racist! They are screwing you, they are cheating you, and you need us as an ally.” Right there is that opportunity; because right now the topic is hot and folks are mad about it, and we’ve been telling them this for years. So yeah, take this institution down, but now you must realize just who was at fault all this time — whose policies and ideology it was that was keeping you from the brass ring, and whose ideology supports and rewards merit with success. In the end, it’s the Republicans and their conservative ideology that have always had your backs. As Yoda said in The Empire Strikes Back, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” Conservatives and the ideology of conservatism are your ally, not your enemy.”
You can find Alfonzo Rachel on the web at the following URLs:
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