Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Congressman Burgess Speaks Out Against Racist or Misogyny Speech



Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree with you that this is an important discussion that we need to have today. This discussion should be addressed in Congress, in the Boardroom, and within families, and I thank you for bringing this to the forefront of the committee.

The topic of today’s hearing, “the business of stereotypes and degrading images” affects every single community in this country. This past weekend, I had the honor of hosting an economic development summit in my district in Fort Worth, and it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to the subject of this hearing today.

A civic leader in Fort Worth and Afrosphere blogger, Eddie Griffin, and I talked about this issue at length and about the real impacts that the alleged art had on his community. Quoting from an email that Mr. Griffin sent to me yesterday, I found this statement to be very profound: “we will use our collective powers to negatively impact the profitability of those companies who cross the line.”

Mr. Chairman, the Constitution wisely limits what we in Congress can legislatively do regarding the objectionable material found in the media, but we as consumers and as a nation hold tremendous power. We can stop buying the degrading music and video games. We all know that if people weren’t making a profit, if people weren’t buying into that line of products, then they would no longer be on the shelf at your local store for purchase As Mr. Griffin said, we—everyone in this room, and everyone watching this hearing on TV—can collectively use our power to no longer make this a profitable business for anyone, including the companies represented in this room, the artists who actually penned the lyrics, or the retailers who sell the depravity disguised as CD’s or games. This is the most powerful recourse that we have.

Mr. Chairman, as Mr. Griffin also said in that email “there is only so much that we, African Americans and other Americans, can take.” End quote. I personally don’t think that we, as Americans, should take this racist or misogyny speech any longer. We must put an end to it.

Mr. Chairman, it is my hope that this hearing will help us do just that. I thank you for your leadership on this essential issue, and I yield back the remainder of my time.

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