With the recent announcement by the network company, A&E, of the scheduled return of the TV show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” some black bloggers and activists are relentlessly pursuing the agenda to prevent this action. For those who are unfamiliar with the incident that led to the termination of the show, here’s the rundown: Once gang member and street-criminal, Duane Lee “Dog” Chapman - turned bounty-hunter and Bail Bondsman - used the n-word profusely in a taped phone-call made to his son. Mr. Chapman, who is white, seemed to be irate by the idea of his son dating a black girlfriend. Following the release of the phone-call, Chapman made few TV appearances to purge his name of the new reputation he had garnered. One of those was an exclusive hour-long interview with white-supremacy apologist, Sean Hannity. Following the decision by A&E to renew the show, certain activists have risen to the occasion, and are actively campaigning against the motion. One of such activists is D. Yobachi Boswell of BlackPerspective.net. He is a writer, spoken word poet, hip hop artist, social activist and political-watcher based in Nashville, Tennessee. I had the pleasure of interviewing him earlier today. This was the exchange:
Thanks for joining us, Bro. Yobachi. We really appreciate it. For how long has this campaign been going on?
It’s been in the planning stages for about three weeks. I initially said on my blog back in ‘07 when they first pulled the show, that they were just waiting for the dust to clear and they were going to bring ‘Dog’ back; and that we need to act then to make sure that didn’t happen (http://www.blackperspective.net/index.php/dog-chapmans-a-racist-liar-and-hes-not-fooling-me/).
Well, I got distracted by other campaigns and didn’t come back to this until I saw news reports that they were starting to film the new season. We started organizing a few weeks ago internally within the “Afrosphere Action Coalition;” debating how to frame the action, where to go with it, etc.; and once we got things together internally, we just announced it publicly on, Monday, the 9th.
What is the short-term and long-term objective in your fight against Duane "Dog" Chapman's return to TV?
The short-term goal is to see that the “Dog the Bounty Hunter” program is pulled, if and until Duane Chapman makes meaningful amends for his words and attitude; and demonstrates that he’s done anything to change who he is in regards to his attitudes towards Black people.
When the tapes first came out, Dog initially just blamed the Black woman, Monique Shinnery, who his son was dating for what he said; and tried to disparage her character to justify himself, even though on the tapes he clearly says the only reason he doesn’t want her around is because he didn’t want to chance “some f-cking nigger” hearing “us say nigger” and turning them into “the enquirer.” All ‘Dog’ has done since then is claim that he meant “nigger” in a friendly way. He’s - not only - not owned up to his racist animosity; he’s surely done nothing to change from it if he won’t even admit to it.
Long-term, we want to forge a bar of integrity against defamation of all races. This is not a one-shot campaign. It actually continues work that’s already been done with getting BET’s “Hot Ghetto Mess” off airs, Brave New Films “Stop Spreading the Virus Campaign,” and what, “YouBlackWorld” is doing vis-à-vis Fox Advertisers.
So far, in this specific battle, what have been your notable accomplishments?
Well the campaign in essence just started, so we are not at the point of assessing any benchmarks yet. Nonetheless there’s been great response to our announcement of the campaign from the public; and many people have signed up to join in.
Have you been contacted yet, by Network Executives from A&E?
Not yet, but our letter to them just went out this week.
What kind of media exposure has this campaign been favored by to-date?
Again, we just started even going public; the press release doesn’t even go out until next week, just ahead of the “Day of Blogging for Respect in Media,” which is the event we will direct the media to: http://www.blackperspective.net/index.php/help-defeat-the-return-of-racist-dog-chapman/The ACC was in the Dallas Morning News just today, though, on another initiative: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/national/stories/061308dnmetbloggers.25e4de6c.html
Are you working or networking with any other Grassroot Organizations to solidify your attempt in preventing Mr. Chapman's return to TV?
As the Afrosphere Actions Coalition is an open-coalition where anyone of like-mind is invited to join the actions we conduct; we tend to get a wide range of individuals who just jump in and join the actions.
What was your perspective on the "n-word" before the 'caught-on-tape' rant by Mr. Chapman, and did it in any way influence your philosophy afterwards?
Hearing another person such as Dog Chapman say it, didn’t change anything for me. It’s nothing new and hardly surprising. My opinion on the N-word - in all its forms before the tape and now - is that it needs to die a permanent death at this point.
I was once an active practitioner of flinging “nigga” around between fellow Black folk; the real problem to me is that far too many Black people felt that somehow it was even appropriate to do this in mixed company; thereby giving permission to white people to do the same as long as they change the “nigger” to “nigga” (a ridiculous notion). Some Black folks even think it’s cute, or a sign of racial progress to allow white people to call them “nigga.” This is ridiculous; it’s demeaning to those who were lynched and brutalized under that word, and fought so Black folks could walk the streets of America without being denigrated as “niggers;” and it is unacceptable.
‘Dog’ used this usage of the word by Black folk as an excuse for how he thought he was cool enough with Black people to use it. We know it is just a B.S. excuse as the way in which he said “nigger” and referred to Monique as a “f-cking nigger;” that he didn’t mean it in any sort of friendly or benign way, and him making this claim was just another one of his justifications; which is why he must still be held accountable. Yet, our ‘open- public-mixed-company,’ blatant use of the word and perpetuation in keeping it alive; gives cover for people such as ‘Dog’ to denigrate us and then claim he was ‘just using it in the street way like Black people do.’
Do you suspect that A&E will hearken to your call, and are you prepared to take further action - if need be?
A&E, having been given cover by racism apologist and accommodationist, Nigel Innus, surely believes they can point to the ‘house boy’ and say, “well he says Dog’s okay” and he’s Black; therefore all is settled.
‘Dog’ is A&E’s number 1 show, so I’m sure they’ll put up resistance. As I stated, I pointed out that this was their plan all along. The primary concern seems to be their bottom line, and that’s what they’ll default to; but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt - that being show of disregard of people of color by bringing this program back - that they can ultimately be persuaded to do the right thing.
But in the meantime we’re going to lean on their advertisers and their bottom lines to help push A&E in the right direction. Economic power is the tool. Black people must learn to exercise their power, and not just accept degradation in the public square. If Dog had said something even a tenth as benign about Jewish people, he would never work in the entertainment industry again; because they don’t put up with this sh--; but we do. They get respect because they stand up for themselves. Black folks far too often excuse and accommodate everything, so we’re not too respected. There’s a new guard of Black activism out here, though, that is determined to see this changed.
In your assessment, what is the biggest challenge facing Grassroots today, and what is the most progressive way of meeting those challenges?
Apathy amongst the masses is certainly the biggest challenge. It can often be like banging your head against the wall for a grassroots activist to get the people you’re trying to help or represent to believe that they’ve got power and can stand up and make things change.
Determined activism is the best way to meet this challenge. Those who do have the inclination just have to keep plowing away, and can’t stop just because it’s hard and frustrating. A few of us have to stand up, and when others see us, over the long-haul they will join us; and as Barack Obama is fond of saying, a few more will stand up, and then a few hundred, and then a few thousand.
I wrote two pieces about this: “Determined Activism Versus Naysaysers: There’s Always A Critic” and “Determined Activist Versus Naysayers, PT 2;” which can be seen here: http://www.blackperspective.net/index.php/determined-activism-versus-naysaysers-theres-always-a-critic/ and here:
What is the contact information, for those willing to join you in this fight?
They should come by my announcement post and let us know if they will blog or email the action next Wednesday, which they can do at http://www.blackperspective.net/index.php/help-defeat-the-return-of-racist-dog-chapman/. Or, they can email me, but the former is preferable unless they have a personal or private message. That’s Yobachi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again, Thanks Bro. Yobachi.