September 4, 2006 – The recent death of the “Crocodile Hunter,” Steve Irwin, is a very tragic and sad tale – for most. But for me, the only emotion I can attach to his death is admiration. The Crocodile Hunter died doing what he loved to do so much. Yes, it was an early and premature death (he was only 44), but he died in a content and peaceful state of mind.
Irwin’s death was brought on upon the strike of a stingray’s spike that went directly into the Crocodile Hunter’s chest. Believe it or not, he was filming a “softer feature” than he had originally intended to, due to hazardous weather conditions. He mistakenly boxed in a stingray that was buried under the sand. By its nature, the stingray felt cornered, and out of self defense it decided to strike the wildlife documentary maker. The strike of a sting ray is rare, and its also uncommon for such a strike to result in fatality. Experts like Ben Cropp said it was “a one in a million thing.”
As I said before, I really admire how the Croc Hunter died. He made his living doing something that most of us considered to be completely crazy and senseless, and he loved every moment. I have watched his show and his films many times, and he never fails to make me wonder why on Earth he continues to do the foolish things he does. But if you really watch Irwin’s work, you will see that he does everything with a smile and that he truly loves what he is doing. You don’t see the fear or the anxiety on his face, because he knows he’s doing something that benefits and educates the world and he is satisfied by that notion. Plus in his mind, what he does is not all that dangerous. Sure there is the chance of an extreme circumstance, but everything he does is exceedingly calculated, studied and done with the most acute caution. Once upon a time, people thought flying thousands of feet in the air was crazy, but because we have the calculations, scientific data and the experts that make flying feasible, air travel is one of the top methods of transportation. Well consider Steve Irwin to be an expert, and he made his line of work as safe as it can be. Thus, I admire him for always doing what he wanted to do, despite the people who thought of him as being crazy, even though his job could, and eventually did, lead to his death.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a brother from the wrong side of town who thinks climbing in the mouth of Lion’s den is as crazy as the next brother thinks it is. And I do think the ole Croc Hunter was one pawn short of chess set. But let’s face it; we need people like him in our world. We need people to do the things that most people would never even dream of doing. We needed somebody to eat milk gone bad and discover cheese. We needed somebody to jump off of a cliff with a makeshift flying contraption to find out whether or not flying was an idea with potential. We needed somebody to put love scenes and sex on the television and on the silver screen in order to create the modern day romance movie. And we needed somebody to climb in a swamp infested with crocodiles in order to – well, just because we needed somebody to do it. And if people did not want to see him do it, then he would have been out of a job. But he wasn’t, because the people wanted to see somebody do exactly what it was he did.
This brings me to the question of whether or not there was a job opening created by Irwin’s death? Afterall, the Croc Hunter’s death will be sorely missed by the rest of society. He brought a sense of excitement by doing the unthinkable, and it is going to be awfully hard to replace somebody who was as truly dedicated to animal adventure as he was. But as the old saying goes, “we must move on.” But to what? While I loved watching the thrill seeking Croc Hunter go about his business, I always wondered if we could be better served by somebody who was willing to do crazy and senseless things for a more applicable entity of society. So I was thinking to myself, “What is something that the average person considers too dangerous to venture into?”
What if instead of a new Croc Hunter there was a Ghetto Hunter? The average person in America is white, comes from a middle income family and makes around $34,000 a year. This is not your average Black person, and it is certainly not your average ghetto resident. Hence, this show would be extremely anticipated by its White audience because of the foreign relationship they have with the ghetto. And as for the minority audience, an outsider’s look into a society they possibly come from will be interesting to them as well, provided the look is objective.
What would the “Ghetto Hunter” do? Well, first he or she would have to define what type of place should be characterized as a ghetto. I’m thinking along the lines of a place that is located in either the inner-city or on the outskirts of the city-limits. A neighborhood that is significantly below the national average for salary/person, and has a significantly higher poverty rate than the rest of its metropolitan area. Another characteristic should be that the neighborhood be predominantly constructed of a race that is considered to be a national minority. The other basic characteristics of a ghetto should include a dense population, and apparent economic restrictions and pressures.
Upon entering a ghetto, as it is defined above, the Ghetto Hunter (GH) should explore into all different realms of the ghetto society. The GH should explore the homes of single mothers, where a working woman is in control of a family consisting of two or three children. The GH can marvel at how she makes a dollar out of fifteen cents, turns water in wine, and raises young children into capable adults without hardily ever being around. This will leave the GH and the viewing public in awe of the capabilities of the Black (and other minority races) woman, and in shock of the Black man’s paucity of child birthing responsibility.
The GH should then visit the ballot offices on Election Day. He or she can take a look at the poor turnout to voter’s boxes. And then the GH can observe how congressional districts that consist of mainly blacks and/or other minorities don’t elect people that represent them; thereby electing non-minorities to represent their minority society.
The GH could take a venture into libraries of ghetto societies and compare the percentage of the ghetto’s young adults and youth there, to the percentage of them that you would find in home-music-studios, in front of a video game console, and on basketball courts during the Summer months. The GH would be traumatized by the number of people who put their faith and futures in such arbitrary careers as sports and music, but fail to exercise their best shot at a real future.
I would love to see the GH walk right into the mouth of a Crack den, either undercover or with a couple of cops. And it would be interesting to see how they perceive the situation. Do they look at is as minorities doing what they need to do in order to survive, even though its illegal and is one of the continuing reasons for the fall of minority races in this country? Or will the GH look at the crack den as something the Whites have installed into the Black society? Seeing as how the smuggling of drugs would be extremely hard for a Black man to do without the proper monetary resources and without being seriously investigated, it almost seems impossible for there not to be some outside source contributing to drugs in impoverished areas.
The GH should walk right into federal government buildings where minorities are being given food stamps, Medicare and unemployment checks by the government, in an effort to continue spoon feeding the minority population without truly helping them improve their lives and the lives of their prosperity. The GH could compare this form of societal aid to the kind you find in richer neighborhoods where you find executive training programs, entry-level networking and corporate tax cutbacks for businesses who donate and contribute to the destitute people of their areas. The GH could just storm into the Unemployment Office, yelling and screaming out of his or her own personal shock at how people have become more dependent on the government than themselves, and how the government is perfectly okay with this.
The GH could then observe public schools in ghetto neighborhoods. While scrutinizing the lack of books, teachers and counselors in the schools, the GH could also take note of the lack of attention given to post-secondary education. The GH would examine the minimal number of college recruiting sessions, and then could even go on to look at the lack of publicity for them as well as the paucity of attendance. I can only imagine what the viewer’s faces would look like after seeing all of this- many of them for the first time.
Lastly, the GH could see the horrible living conditions of Ghetto neighborhoods, the lack of kept buildings and parks, the extreme littering and vandalism that never gets contested or cleaned, and the prices people in the ghetto pay for rent that are just low enough for the citizens to afford, but too high to eventually be able to afford something better later on in life. The GH would be astounded by the number of utilities that are unprofessionally kept, the lack of public utilities, and the unbiased perception of poor homes that are considered to be the most valued by those who live in the ghetto.
All and all, I think a documentary about a Ghetto Hunter would be quite entertaining. With the risk of running into gang battles, turf wars, and disgruntled policemen, there certainly will be that element of excitement and thrill that is reminiscent of the great Crocodile Hunter. The educational importance would be invaluable, as societies from outside the ghetto could learn the truth about these areas, its people, and their government. The GH could be a great tool for making people laugh, generating large viewing audiences and making the man just a little bit more money.
The only problem with the Ghetto Hunter is who would play the role?
Would it be a fanatic white-supremacist like David Duke? That would be interesting!
How about a Black person who was raised by a rich family like Condoleeza Rice? Not as interesting as the first option, but not a bad alternative.
I’ve got it! The perfect Ghetto Hunter would be George Bush! An average man in race, creed, size, political knowledge and overall smarts! He has a lot of money, so the outstanding poverty he would find in the ghetto would be astonishing to him. He’s also from Texas, where Latinos are the biggest minority, so the idea of Black ghetto’s would be new to him. Some of you may question my choice for the GH while making the point that George Bush is the President of the United States, thus he should already be aware of the problems that face ghettoes and impoverished areas, especially Black ghettoes. In that case, I would say to you, if he knows so much about the problems of the Black race, then how come the problems not only still exist, but Bush himself continues to perpetuate the Ghetto Conundrum?
On national television, Kanye West once said that, “George Bush hates Black people.” However, I tend to agree with what Bill Maher said on HBO, back in August: “I don’t think George Bush hates Black people, I don’t think he knows that they exist.”
– Uzo Ometu