Invisible Man: Visible Negro.

President Barack Obama’s image is slandered by a government official who holds a high raking seat in the US Senate …NBA star Gilbert Arenas’ image is torn off the side of Washington DC’s Verizon Center…while I’m right down the street, in my dorm room, looking at Ralph Ellison’s book, Invisible Man. The book is a depiction of the life and times of the “Negroes” of the mid 1900’s. He describes the world-view of a group of people society seemingly deemed invisible…no question, “Negroes” in the year 2010 are visible now.

In the first ten days of 2010:

I’ve seen Gilbert Arena’s face all over the place: the TV, the news, the blogs- it is everywhere, except for the side of the Verizon Center- where his image was literally torn down!

I’ve seen stories of President Barack Obama’s image slandered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid…and I wonder if this is the common thought with the majority of other leaders?

I have seen stories of rapper Lloyd Banks make headlines for his newest mixtape release, and his subsequent arrest on charges of assault and robbery.

There are a few hi-lights: Heisman trophy award winner and Alabama star running back Mark Ingram stood in-front of the unblinking red light on a live camera, as it fed a National audience: he respectfully honored his incarcerated father, and he didn’t flinch. I praised this in an open letter to the gentleman.

Sunday afternoon, Ray Lewis, a man with his own history of run-ins with the law, stood in-front of cameras after a remarkable performance on the gridiron. It was eerily similar to the Mark Ingram situation, except Ray spoke directly about his on-field performance. And instead of it being about his words or the way he appeared- it was the words on what he appeared in; a shirt he had been wearing under his jersey all game which read: “best dad”.

And right after that… I got into a conversation about Marshawn Lynch. A top ranked NFL running back, who is also from my home city of Oakland, Ca. Its seems Lynch has made recent headlines for allegedly stealing 20 bucks off of a restaurant table….

…Marshawn? A Black man? Oakland?…that hit home. Just think, this time last year, Oakland was rioting over the video phone images of a Black man, Oscar Grant, being murdered at the hands of a transit cop. And even that is still making headlines as the court case is now turning into another reason to riot, as they continuously postpone the hearing.

For Marshaun Lynch, Gilbert Arenas, and every story in-between, the stories are shady and the news is skewed. But there is one universal truth: we are watching you.

It seems as though, the tiny lens at the end of the microscope that Black men fall under, is directly connected to the larger than life images in mass media. I’m not amazed that the same “Negroes” Ralph Ellison wrote candidly about, have now become “visible”. But I do wonder if Ellison saw the potential for negroes to become visible in American society to this magnitude? And did he imagine we’d be seen in such a light?

And above all the other headlines thus far this year, I’m interested in the United States Census‘ results; just to see how many actual “Negroes” are seen in society.


2 thoughts on “Invisible Man: Visible Negro.

  1. Wow, you left out Tiger – oh, wait, he doesn’t get into the Negro discussion, does he?

    The images you noted were peopole of repute; it is heartwarming to hear of Ray Lewis enjoying being a dad. The name that stands out the most – the individual who was most invisible and therefore most notable is Oscar Grant – because we all are Oscar Grant, however visible or invisible.

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