The Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson struck again last night. As an interview guest on Piers Morgan’s CNN show, Peterson expressed his view that the media is irresponsibly making Martin out to be some kind of “innocent little kid” instead of, in his opinion, being honest about Martin being a young thug. He further stated that Trayvon Martin's death "was the result of him being raised in a single parent home.”
Over the course of the last several days Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson has spewed several ridiculous unfounded comments about the Trayvon Martin murder/Zimmerman trial. These comments have left many individuals unfamiliar with Peterson sketching their heads wondering where the hell did this guy come from?
From my viewpoint, Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is the mainstream media’s handkerchief head Negro of choice these days. For well over a decade Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson has been building a public platform as a so-called black conservative by promoting himself to be a black truth teller and defender of white Americans. In reality, Reverend Peterson is an entertainer who makes ridiculous racially offensive comments, for his mostly white male audience, like “blacks need to return to the plantation so they can learn the value of hard work” and “America’s worse mistake ever was allowing women to vote.”
In April I reluctantly accepted an invitation to appear on Reverend Peterson’s radio show to discuss the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s letter from a Birmingham jail. Having been familiar with Reverend Peterson I knew he had no intention to have a serious conversation about the issues surrounding the letter. So I came ready and prepared to confront Reverend Peterson’s consistent companion__his ignorance. During our conversation it became apparent to me that Peterson is not simply ignorant or putting on a show, he’s providing a public service for certain white Americans. Every time he makes a comment that demeans black Americans and uplifts the virtues of white Americans he provides psychological validation for angry racist whites and self-hating blacks. This is why I refer to Reverend Peterson as the prophet of self-hate and white rage.
As the prophet of self-hate and white rage Peterson should not be seen as simply another black conservative commentator. Clearly, Peterson is a far cry from sensible black conservative thinkers like Anthony Bradley, Amy Holmes, Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele. Though I often earnestly disagree with the viewpoints all of these individuals, I wouldn’t say they aren’t serious intellectuals with good intentions. Peterson, on the other hand, displays no degree of seriousness or commitment to facts. He simply offers unsubstantiated racial anecdotes and fabricated statistics for the entertainment of the white and black conservatives that digest his irresponsible rhetoric like a narcotic. In other words, Peterson is not popular because of his intellect; he’s popular because he’s a black man who denies his intellect to protect white privilege. In this sense, Reverend Peterson is a caricature of himself.
Sadly, by being the prophet of angry white America Peterson allows himself to be used as a tool in a shameful plan to erase and/or downplay the contemporary effects of institutional racism and prejudice on the black community. In choosing to play this role he helps impede the ability of Americans to have a serious discussion about race and race relations in this country by continuing to deny the ugly racial truth. As Dr. Cornel West often says, “the condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak.” Honestly, how can we have a truthful conversation about race in this country if we’re not willing to be honest about the suffering caused by white supremacy and white privilege?
In addition, it’s also sad that Reverend Peterson doesn’t realize the extent to which he has become a symbol of black self-hate. On his radio show he often jokingly tells guests, that he's not comprehending, that they should speak to him like “he’s black and slow.” While I was a guest on his show he retorted this same line to me and I responded “Reverend Peterson, you may be slow but it’s not because you’re black.” Without question, Reverend Peterson is black but he certainly doesn’t appear to be glad about it. A regular line in Reverend Peterson’s diatribes is the statistic that 98% of all African Americans are racist. Well, this might be a compelling fact except for the reality that it’s NOT a fact. Of course, in the countless times that Peterson has delivered this line he has yet to provide a single source for this statistic or any statistic for that matter which he bloviates.
The Reverend Michael Eric Dyson makes this point brilliantly in his video response to Reverend Peterson.
In reality, Peterson doesn’t have to provide accurate facts because self-hate does not need external evidence, only internal validation. Moreover, Peterson does not need accurate facts to have an audience because black self-hate sells. In fact, historically, racist whites and white cultural nationalist have covertly supported and bank rolled the efforts of blacks who were willing to advance their viewpoints. For this reason, Reverend Peterson is not the first and he won’t be the last of his kind.
So I say,
Beware of false prophets who are willing to sell their souls and denigrate their own people for material gain and the oppressor’s love.
Compassionately and Critically yours, Billy Michael Honor