Wednesday, May 25, 2011

40oz of Racism

40 ounces of Racism:
Bollings Boilermaker of a Statement

Paul Scott

Recently, Fox News' talking head, Eric Bolling complained about President Obama being in Ireland "chugging 40's" instead of TCB-ing (Taking Care of Business) on the home front in the wake of the tornado tragedy in Joplin. For those who aren't hip to the Hip Hop vernacular, a "40" is short for high octane, malt liquor, also known as "liquid crack" that comes in giant 40oz bottles.

The response from black folks?


The response from the right wingers ?


Most Conservatives are at a lost as to why a comment about the Prez sippin' on a 40 would make black folks wanna give Bolling a back-alley beat down.

Let's look at the history of the marketing of malt liquor.

For over a generation, the image of malt liquor "drankin'" has been a negative stereotype of African Americans, taking its rightful place among other stereotypes such as tap dancing, watermelon eatin' and a love affair with Colonel Sanders' extra crispy fried chicken.

This is, mostly because ,over the years, alcoholic beverage companies have targeted the black community aka "urban neighborhoods" with high powered, cheap alcohol. During the 1980's, movie star and Colt 45 spokesman Billy Dee Williams inspired a nation of future alcoholics and wanna-be Casanovas with his motivational slogan "Works Every time," alleging that one sip of the drink would land you in bed with a supermodel. In the early 90's, ST. Ides Malt Liquor recruited such Hip Hop artists as Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, to promote a drink that would not only get you high as the sky but also increase your sexual performance, making malt liquor the forerunner of Viagra.

These marketing schemes outraged black activists during that era who launched successful campaigns against malt liquors such as "Power Master" and "Phat Boy," which came packaged in a graffiti decorated can and was laced with gensing.

Despite the success of activists in the 90's, the marketing of malt liquor continues to be a major problem facing African Americans, as the liquor companies are now targeting an even younger demographic. Recently, Pabst Brewing Company, in an attempt to elevate the Colt 45 brand back to its former glory, pulled Snoop Dogg out of the malt liquor pimp retirement home to promote "Blast by Colt 45," a new Kool Aid flavored, 12% alcohol drink that comes in colorful soda pop-like cans. The company has also used Hip Hop magazines and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to push the product. Blast has been nicknamed "genocide juice" because the company seems to be using malt liquor to exterminate a whole generation of African American youth.

That's not to say that white kids don't get blasted off of malt liquor. Over the last year, Four Loko malt liquor has come under fire because of college kids passing out during English Lit 101 after a night of getting Loko off the joy juice. Also, many homeboys in the vanilla suburbs like to, vicariously, experience life in Chocolate City by getting tipsy off a tall can of booze. Malt Liquor is also the featured attraction at the racist college theme parties where
frat boys put on black face and Afro wigs and boogie to old 2 Live Crew albums. However, malt liquor is still mostly marketed as a "hood drink;" the bulk of the liquor being sold in communities that suffer disproportionately, from poverty and unemployment.

So, yes, not only was Eric "Easy E" Bolling's joke tasteless and racist but the marketing of malt liquor to the black community, is racist, as well.

And if you can't see that, you need a sobriety test.

Paul Scott is a minister, activist and writer based in Durham NC. In 1997, he led a successful boycott against Phat Boy malt liquor and is currently part of a national campaign against "Blast by Colt 45" malt liquor. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or His blog is No Warning Shots