Thursday, November 01, 2007
Apparently Duane “The Dog” Chapman doesn’t like the idea of his son dating a Black woman.
“The Dog” has been caught on audio tape telling his son that if he did not break up with the young woman, he would not be able to work in the Family’s Bounty Hunting business. But the more vile part of the story is the way that he told his son how things were going to be. Chapman referred to the girlfriend as the N-word.
Now this is a guy who has been seen on religious programs all over Cable TV praising God… talking about how religious he is and how much he has turned his life around. He is constantly preaching about “doing the right thing” on his TV show. But it turns out that it was a façade. That shouldn’t be a surprise since it is a “Reality Show” and we know how “Real” these programs are. But at times he really did seem to be a decent guy in his good guy role. Even I enjoyed watching his show on occasion.
I know that some Whites speak ill of African Americans and use slurs when they are amongst themselves, confident that no one outside of the family is listening. But it’s always interesting to hear these stories every now and then because it allows us to become flies on the wall in the White dining room (well, for a certain kind of White dining room at least). As a Black male who has had issues with interracial dating, I have always suspected that these kinds of discussions take place all the time in White Households, especially when the subject of discussion is a Black male…particularly in the context of all the negative stereotypes about Black men.
On the audio tape Chapman shows his true colors. I think racism is really hard to get out of people, particularly out of the Souls of people, even when they may have changed their lives in other ways. Chapman (“The Dog”) revealed on the tape that the N-Word is a commonly used term in his household. This is something that he won’t be able to explain away on an apology tour (a tour that has already started…as of yesterday 10-31-07...when the tape was made public). He clearly shows disdain for the Black girlfriend… because of her race. You can literally hear the racism and anger in the audio tape. He goes on to say that if his daughter came home with one…. They would come down hard on her too. Again….a statement that he won’t be able to explain away.
Listen to the audio below (apparently the full tape is nearly 8 minutes long...however, I have been unable to locate that version, which may not have been made public yet). Warning: Strong Language.
A peculiar twist that I found surrounding this story was the fact that Chapman is comparing his comments to the comments of Don Imus. Chapman is clueless. There is no comparison. He doesn’t even understand that his comments are several magnitudes worse than the comments made by Don Imus regarding the Rutgers Women's Basketball team. Chapman thinks that he will just be able to go on a little apology tour like Don Imus and everything will be alright. But Imus didn’t get caught on a phone call that he thought no one would hear. Imus got caught on a national radio/TV show. Imus was clumsy and stupid, but did not come off as a hardcore racist to me. Insensitive, certainly. But not a hardcore racist. Chapman, on the other hand, is a different story. But of course he is now saying that he really didn't mean it...and that he is sorry. Will that be enough? I'm personally tired of the apology tour routine. An apology seems more appropriate for a slip of the tongue....or something that reaches the level of insensitivity, a tasteless joke, etc. But this Chapman episode is something different. His comments go way beyond Imus' level of insensitivity. This is not a case of the offender simply not meaning it... or having a slip of the tongue. This is not a case of a bad, tasteless joke. Chapman's comments were caught during a completely uninhibited moment and are therefore more of a reflection of the real "Dog".
Another peculiar twist is the irony of the phone conversation itself. In the phone call, he expresses concern that a National Tabloid might find out about his true colors and expose him…. And at that moment he was being exposed. Poetic Justice.
A&E didn’t waste time suspending his TV show. Additional report on A&E's response.
This just reinforces the fact that I am (and other African Americans collectively) justified in my caution and skepticism when dealing with certain kinds of people of other ethnic groups. It’s as if we always have to be on guard. There are a few people that I have worked with in the past who I would have loved to hear during their dinner table discussions. It would be interesting to be the fly on the wall to hear what is being said.
But the Dog Chapman’s among us serve a purpose. They serve as a reminder that it’s not safe to let the guard down. Perhaps it will take 100 more years before we can start cutting back our vigilance... I don’t know. I always judge my friends/acquaintances on an individual basis ….and I can usually figure out who the Dog Chapmans are. But it seems as though I always have to be on the lookout. I wish we didn’t have that burden in 2007, but it’s still necessary.
Hear audio from TMZ