Sister Souljah criticized Clinton as a "draft-dodging, pot-smoking womanizer" who has failed to address the issues in the campaign. The Bush- Quayle re-election committee must be salivating over such a sound bite.
Arsenio Hall, the hip-talking host of his own syndicated television program, made his own contribution to the low-mindedness of the campaign. When White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said President Bush probably would not appear on Hall's show, Hall responded, "Excuse me, George Herbert, irregular heart-beating, read-my-lying-lipping, slipping in the polls, do- nothing, deficit-raising, make less money than Millie the White House dog did last year, Quayle-loving, sushi-puking Bush. I don't remember inviting your ass to my show. I don't need you on my show. My ratings are higher than yours."
Not to be outdone was Bill Clinton, who demonstrated principled courage in standing up to Jesse Jackson, who had invited Sister Souljah to speak to his Rainbow Coalition meeting.
Even after the outrageous comments by Sister Souljah about killing whites was widely publicized, many black "leaders" preferred to concentrate on the ''bad manners" Clinton demonstrated by criticizing the rapper on Jackson's turf. No one spoke of Arsenio Hall's bad manners in criticizing the president or of his lack of respect for the office, regardless of the occupant, and the message that sends to young people.
These are the self-appointed and self-anointed black "leaders" who presume to speak for all blacks and who have for decades intimidated whites and some other blacks into silence. What ought to outrage law-abiding, family- oriented, educated black people is how these so-called "leaders" have grabbed the spotlight and perpetuated a stereotype that is as inaccurate as other stereotypes of blacks. Many blacks like classical, pop and jazz music - not rap. Many watch Jay Leno - not Arsenio Hall. Some are even Republicans. Many have a low regard for Jesse Jackson and are repulsed by the way he and a few other black "leaders" do more for themselves than they do for the real needs of many blacks who are poor.
The media, especially television, perpetuate a dangerously one-dimensional image of black Americans. They repeatedly interview the same people, on the same talk shows, on the pretense that they are the voices who speak for all, or a majority, of black America.
Unfortunately, the enduring images of blacks in this presidential campaign year will be the Los Angeles riots and the remarks of Sister Souljah about killing whites. As a political issue, these will make Willie Horton look like a piker. The losers are those who are used to losing: the black poor, who deserve better representatives than the new Willie Hortons - Sister Souljah, Arsenio Hall and Jesse Jackson.