Friday, May 2, 2008

Playboy Should Be Embarrassed

The June edition of Playboy will reach new lows in exploitative marketing and sensational journalism through an expose' by Kansas City Star Columnist Jason Whitlock.

Whitlock says "the story is about the astronomical financial and cultural price we all — black, white, brown and yellow — are paying for locking up 2.3 million of our citizens. The piece focuses on California’s penal system, the state’s too-powerful prison guard union, Jim Brown’s anti-gang-violence organization and Mexican-black hostility."

However, Playboy, and more specifically editorial director Chris Napolitano, is taking this opportunity to further fan the racial flames by headlining the piece, "The Black KKK: Thug life is killing Black America, and it’s time to do something about it.”

According to Whitlock, nowhere in the article is that phrase written and never did he even mention that phrase to the people he interviewed. It is worth pointing out, however, that the term "Black KKK" was originally conceived by Whitlock and he has used it frequently in his writing.

I, for one, have never been a fan of the term although I did understand what he was trying to say. I just thought it was a poor choice of words and a greater lack of judgement.

So Whitlock is definitely the victim of his own writing to a degree. Similar to the prisoners about which he wrote, "if you do the crime, you will do the time." If he had not written the line, it would not be a headline.

However, what Playboy is doing is simply outrageous. If the cover shot was three black men in black hoods, instead of the customary young hottie, you could say this action is as exploitative--if not more-- as Golfweek's now infamous "noose" cover.

Whitlock's previous wrong in judgement and phrasing in no way validates this obvious and despicable wrong by Playboy. If someone at Golfweek lost his job, how can someone at Playboy not lose his??

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