"Thots & Thoughts" is a column in which musings on dating, sex, race, religion, and politics all come together—from a bird's-eye view.
If systemic racism employed the services of a carnival barker, that person would sound exactly like former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. A fusion of buffoonery and bigotry, there are only two things Giuliani is known for when speaking to the media: invoking 9/11 and bashing Black people whenever news of racism and state-sanctioned violence hits. Speaking at the Republican National Convention on Monday night, Giuliani called for racial unity, saying "It’s time to make America one again: one America. What happened to: ‘There’s no black America. There’s no white America, there is just America?'" The irony, of course, is that Giuliani himself is responsible for perpetuating systemic racism.
One recent example of this is Giuliani’s appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation.
Though Giuliani feigned sympathy for the plight of the Black experience in America, he quickly opted to dismiss those who seek to improve it as he categorized the Black Lives Matter movement—which advocates against police brutality and calls for criminal justice reform—as “inherently racist.” Giuliani then went on to offer the thoughtless critique, "If you want to protect Black lives, then you've got to protect Black lives not just against police.”
Of course, this is typical Giuliani. In 2014, he said the following about the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown during an appearance on Meet The Press: “The fact is that I find it very disappointing that you're not discussing the fact that 93 percent of Blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We are talking about the significant exception here [in the Brown case]. I'd like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.”
Giuliani has repeated this sentiment whenever he has been called to appear on television to discuss unarmed Black people dying at the hands of the police—which is not that significant an exception given the additional lives that have been lost since Brown’s death. Even so, Americans have one of the highest murder rates in the industrialized world. And although we don’t have more actual crime than other wealthy nations, we have more violent crime specifically because we have greater access to guns. Of that violent crime, murder in America is largely intraracial as 90 percent of Black Americans are killed by other Black Americans and 83 percent of white Americans are killed by other white Americans.
Giuliani, as Jamelle Bouie once noted for Slate, “does not know crime as well as he thinks.” What Giuliani does know, however, is racism (stoking white fear of Blacks) for the purpose of campaigning and racist policy (the implementation of “stop and frisk”) when governing.
To wit, Giuliani went on to say on Face The Nation: "If I were a Black father and I was concerned about the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say be very respectful to the police, most of them are good, some can be very bad and just be very careful. I'd also say be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood, don't get involved with them because son, there's a 99 percent chance they're going to kill you not the police."
And of course, Giuliani blamed Black culture for racial tensions, claiming, "They sing rap songs about killing police officers and they talk about killing police officers and they yell it out at their rallies."
This recalls Giuliani’s criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, when he argued, “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.” Yeah, Giuliani’s dad was a mob enforcer who, along with his five brothers, all avoided military service during World War II. And since we’re on child-rearing, the reality is, when Giuliani’s daughter Caroline Giuliani was arrested for shoplifting in 2010, she didn't have to worry about dying in a prison cell like Sandra Bland. Instead, she was leisurely escorted out of the store while Bland, an unarmed black woman arrested during a traffic stop, was found hanged in her jail cell under mysterious circumstances. Bland's arresting officer was later charged with perjury, but there were no indictments related to her death.
The same goes for the many, many Black men and women have been absolutely respectful to police and have subsequently died—like the very Black men who were gunned down by police that netted Giuliani yet another unfortunate booking on a national platform.
In response to the interview, Seth Meyers on his show Late Night advised Giuliani that he “should probably just shut the fuck up.” Sadly, that is wishful thinking. Giuliani will never—he revels not only in the attention, but the condemnation of Black people. Giuliani will talk about Beyoncé, Obama, and any unjust Black death without nuance, proper contextualizing, or a single morsel of critical thinking.
Giuliani cannot be changed. He is a direct beneficiary of racism and will never waver from it.
Giuliani often does this without any real challenge to his racist stereotyping and generalizations. Giuliani cannot be changed. He is a direct beneficiary of racism and will never waver from it.
What can change, though, are the offers for Giuliani to spout his nonsense on a national stage. A Pew Research poll unveiled this month found that roughly four-in-ten Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement. I can’t help but believe that number would be higher if select media outlets stopped giving the likes of Giuliani the opportunity to consistently misrepresent the movement and the Black faces behind it. Black people simply want their humanity recognized, and giving the lying, condescending, hypocritical Giuliani large audiences in the name of “objectivity” is in direct opposition to that request.
So yes, screw Rudy Giuliani, but to anyone who continues to book him, or at the very least, not directly challenge him on-air, you are directly complicit. And screw you, too.