I say “everyone” to point out just how silly hyperbole can be and because not everyone loved it. In fact, one former New York City Mayor thought it was “a shame.” Not a “crying” shame, just a regular shame. That man is, of course, Rudolph William Louis Giuliani. The man whose fifteen minutes just keep going no matter how fast the clock ticks.
Appearing on Fox & Friends, Giuliani laid into Bey for having the audacity to illustrate police brutality against African-Americans. His thoughts:
“I had five uncles who were police officers, two cousins who were, one who died in the line of duty. I ran the largest and best police department in the world, the New York City Police Department. And I saved more black lives than any of those people you saw on stage by reducing crime and particularly homicide by 75 percent.”
He wasn’t done either.
“Of which, of which maybe 4,000 or 5,000 were African-American young people who are alive today because of the policies I put in effect that weren’t in effect for 35 years. So if you’re going to do that, then you should symbolize why the police officers are in the neighborhoods and what are you going to go about it? To me it’s two easy answers: a much better education and good job, and what the heck have you done like in Baltimore, when they all stood in Baltimore (referring to the unrest in the city last year following the death of Freddie Gray.)
I was sick when I saw all the politicians sitting, standing in Baltimore after the police situation and saying, nobody’s done anything for this community in 50 years. Well, that is a heck of a thing to say, because they’ve been in charge for 50 years. And they have failed the community. I didn’t fail Harlem. I turned Harlem around. I didn’t fail Bedford-Stuyvesant, I turned it around. Go there now. Go walk in Harlem. Then flash back to 25 years ago and go to Harlem before I was mayor, and one was a place where crime was rampant and no national stores and now there’s a thriving community in Harlem.”
While he could’ve stopped there and had a salient point to end the discussion with, he kept going when he and the host mourned the fact that an entire generation could be affected by her performance and her message.
The problem when someone like Giuliani opens his mouth to voice outrage at this type of thing is that they’re often not talking about the same thing that someone like Beyonce is. She, much like anyone else, fully understands there are issues in communities that go far beyond black and blue relations and they need to be handled. However, insinuating that lack of “much better education and good jobs” is the sole the reason those mothers who attended the VMAs with Mrs. Knowles-Carter lost their children is not only foolish, but also not her point.
Unarmed men and women should not be killed by police officers, regardless of the conditions of their environment. Period. Trayvon’s mom lost her son because some ignoramus felt he didn’t belong in that part of town. That has nothing to do with the socioeconomics of a black community and everything to do with prejudice.
Giuliani and other cats of his ilk see this as a binary issue. You’re either with the cops or you’re against them and there’s no room for an in-between. In Star Wars terms, they see the world through the eyes of the Sith, operating purely in absolutes. Racial inequality — and all the ills that come with it — is a complex issue that demands nuanced thinking and dialogue to find solutions.
We’re not going to get that from a politician more concerned with throwing out red meat than being a part of the discussion.