“Chocolate city?” – WTF

I wanted to laugh and vomit when I heard that New Orleans mayor Nagin promised New Orleans would become a “chocolate city” once again. This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, correct me if I am wrong but we haven’t officially signed on for the switch from African American to “Chocolate” have we? If Bush had said it, he would have been lynched for being so insensitive and condescending. I can hear it now, Jesse Jackson chew-spitting the following, “We have been oppressed, depressed, and repressed for too long, for this president to improvise this name, to chocolatize us; its a shame for him to play this name game.”

The second problem with this is that it is only thinly veiled racism. Imagine if Grosse Pointe, or Bloomfield was hit by a tornado and the mayor got on the air and promised the displaced caucasians, “This city will be born again as a Vanilla Mecca” Why not just post a sign that says, “No Blacks Allowed.” Oh wait…you don’t need to imagine that if you go back a few years…that kind of shit happened all of the time. Did we decide that that was unfair; or just that we should switch sides? But hey, maybe I am speaking out of turn…maybe I am “internalizing this”…let’s ask some “strawberry,” “lemon sorbet,” “rocky road,” or “mocha” people, see how they felt about the proposed zoning.

There’s someone else we could ask…Nagin would like him…well maybe not…I mean ideologically they couldn’t be more apart. I’ll give you a hint, his birthday was a couple days ago; “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom…I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Sorry MLK, the mayor doesn’t dream that way in New Orleans.

10 Comments so far

  1. MGal (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 10:34 am

    How about when he started back-pedaling during his apology and only made things worse?

  2. Chocolate City (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 12:08 pm

    Nagin’s “Chocolate City” was not a negative racist term, it stood for a positive remark

    Unfortunately, Mayor Nagin correctly used a term that was too obscure for most of the country, and so journalists jumped on the band wagon and called him a racist.

    The term “Chocolate City” comes from Washington DC where blacks were a majority.

    The term had been used by Washington’s black AM radio stations WOL-AM and WOOK-AM since the early 1970’s to refer to the city. Bobby “The Mighty Burner” Bennett, a DJ on WOL, told the Washington Post in 1998 “Chocolate City for me was the expression of D.C.’s classy funk and confident blackness.”

    George Clinton used the concept in the title track of the album “Chocolate City” using the black domination of the inner cities as a positive message in contrast to concern over White flight. The lyrics of the song refer to “there are a large number of chocolate cities around / We got Newark, we got Gary / Someone told me we got L.A. / But you’re the capital D.C.”

    All of the cities referred to had black mayors at the time including Atlanta which was mentioned elsewhere in the song.

    Clinton’s lyrics referred to Chocolate City as “my piece of the rock” as opposed to the “40 acres and a mule” that slaves were promised after the Civil War. He contrasted the chocolate city with the “vanilla suburbs” a term first used on the track.

    The lyrics also reflected Clinton’s thanks for the Capitol’s strong support for P-Funk, further shown by the album cover showing the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol.

    New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin used this term correctly (and frankly, do you really think a Mayor would purposely use a negative racist term? esp. on MLK Day?!)and it was the media who dropped the ball, failing to link the origins of the term to Nagin’s intention.

    And you guys have ALSO fallen for it, shoving Nagin into the racist cubbyhole without doing any research. For shame!

  3. Doug Geiger (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

    Actually, “Chocolate city,” I DID do my research, and looked up the term on Wikipedia, like you did before I posted. Next time, save us the trip and just post a link like this: http://www.answers.com/chocolate%20city

    As to whether or not it is all of the sudden “OK” just because it references a song written by a black man – I think you should develop a better litmus. George Clinton is no more THE voice for all people black or brown than Cosby was a few months ago when he had some hard things to say about the black community. If you like the guy, and what he said, cool. But for you to not see how that comment COULD come off as immature (at best) or racist (at worst) is beyond me. And for you to pass off a cut and paste job as your own points out the most salient reason I am so offended by his remarks: no one thinks for themselves anymore.

    Also, your line of reasoning, “do you really think a Mayor would purposely use a negative racist term? esp. on MLK Day?!” is a red herring. That is like saying, “Of course I wasn’t speeding your Honor…of course I wouldn’t speed with a cop behind me!” It DOES NOT prove innocense, instead it HEIGHTENS the crime. He had a lot of balls to spew his propaganda of MLKs birthday – balls I grant him, not brains or heart.

  4. baliad (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    i agree with you doug… i don’t get the double-standard we see in much of our society today…

  5. MGal (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

    Wait.. so because the term was in a song by a black man years ago, that makes it okay?

  6. max (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

    and what if the Mayor of NYC had come out on 9/12 and announced that they would rebuild as a “vanilla” (white) city…how do you think that would’ve gone over with the “not white” part of the country? that guy wouldn’t have lasted through the night let alone had people defending his remarks

  7. Scott (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 5:18 pm

    I’m sure the residents (or former residents)of New Orleans are deeply concerned about the terms Mayor Nagin used to refer to the people living in the city.

    The last thing on their minds is where am I going to live, how I am going to afford to live, and why has everyone forgotten about us.

    They are probably more concerned with Nagin and his non-PC comments.

    What has happened to us as a society when we put more of our attention on the words people use rather than on their actions.

    The people of New Orleans are just trying to figure out how they are going to live day to day. They could care less what some politician happened to say on MLK day.

    Don’t forget about the real tragedy here…the millions of misplaced familes and lost memories. What are the politicians in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington doing to help them? Why are they being forgotten? Is it that we’re putting too much attention on petty things because the real problem is too big to deal with?

  8. Doug (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

    Yeah Scott, that’s it…we are WAY out of line…I mean I almost forgot that this was a food pantry and not a blog…

    Oh wait…this is a blog…I totally agree with you that it is a much bigger tragedy that there are thousands of displaced people in N.O., but I don’t think that pointing out incompetence at high levels of the government is mutually exclusive with helping real people “on the ground” I think even Tiki would agree with me on this one! ;)

    BTW, the blog that you are reading and commenting on DID financially support the city after the tragedy with a fundraiser.

  9. Doug (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

    Oh yeah…here’s some of the comments from some apathetic residents about the comments…

    “Resident Alex Gerhold called Nagin’s remarks “stupid” and “pitiful.”

    “He used the wrong dairy product to describe us. We’re more Neapolitan, not chocolate,” Gerhold said. “It doesn’t do the city any kind of justice.”

    Aisha Johnson said she didn’t think the mayor’s comments were necessarily inflammatory, just out of line.

    “He should have chosen his words more carefully,” she said.

    But some residents, like Ann McKendrick, were angered.

    “You can’t reunite a city if your comments are going to divide a city,” McKendrick said.”


  10. lance (unregistered) on January 19th, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

    It was stupid, but it really is the last thing anyone with connections to New Orleans has to worry about.

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