Comedian Chris Rock, known for his pull-no-punches attitude on the state of the black underclass, has been notably toning it down to his diverse audiences. People question whether Dave Chappelle's show on Comedy Central was brilliant or explicitly racist -- including Chappelle himself. And, as I alluded to above, there was the whole Bill Cosby fiasco.
[Marvin] Arrington, who is African-American, is a judge in Fulton County, Georgia, which includes the city of Atlanta.
He said he got fed up seeing a parade of young black defendants shuffle into his courtroom and decided to address them one day last week -- out of the earshot of white lawyers.
"I came out and saw the defendants, and it was about 99.9 percent Afro-Americans," Arrington told CNN affiliate WSB-TV of Atlanta, "and at some point in time, I excused some lawyers -- most of them white -- and said to the young people in here, 'What in the world are you doing with your lives?'"The judge thought his message would make a greater impact if he delivered it to a black-only audience, he said.
On the other side, you have famous black people who rarely or never speak on black issues at all -- or at least not in categorical racial terms: Tiger Woods, Condi Rice, Derek Jeter, and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few.
Damned if we do, damned if we don't.
I don't know what to make of what Judge Arrington did. While I am certainly sympathetic to what he tried to do, it isn't really in the prerogative of a jurist to use official time for a wake-up call for black people.
But then again, who else was going to say it?