A new documentary is making its way through the major cities of the United States. The film, Ghetto Physics: Redefining the Game!, is an intriguing movie about power dynamics.
Its provocative premise tells us what history has demonstrated time and time again: no matter how often the players of “the game of life” change, the game itself remains the same.
The film makes the case that at any given point, one is either an exploiter or an exploitée, either a player or getting played, or in the vernacular of the street one is either “a pimp or a ho”, and occasionally one is both at the same time.
And while many people might wince at the politically incorrect analogy, it certainly gets your attention and on so many levels this film is dead on point.
Ghetto Physics is interspersed with footage and words of wisdom from real life pimps and prostitutes juxtaposed against historical events and thought provoking commentary from the likes of KRS-One, Cornel West, Rev. Ishmael Tetteh, Ice-T, and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
While the movie has a much larger metaphysical message, the pimp and ho analogy is used to illuminate how corporations and governments prey upon and exploit the average Joe. Interestingly enough while the movie examines some of the worst exploiters, it neglects to mention one of – if not the – most powerful, deceptive, and predatory industry there is, Big Tobacco.
Big Tobacco is the Mack Daddy of Corporate Pimps
Yes, Big Tobacco is the Mack Daddy of all corporate pimps, in fact they wrote the book on Big Pimping. And thanks to the magical power of their corporate shields, they have even created a new classification, “Teflon Pimps”, because it is the one industry, that no matter how often it is sued, taxed, regulated, or maligned, it always manages to come out on top.
Big Tobacco might take a licking, but it always keeps on ticking. Any loss that it even appears to incur is simply passed on to its millions of addicted customers, all the while continuing to use its billions in profits to work the master plan–keep selling its deadly products at all cost.
Big Tobacco is a player’s playa; it knows when to come down hard and intimidating with its elite battery of highly paid executives, attorneys, and scientists. And it equally knows when to quietly deflect attention by using/pimping the front groups that they keep on call to do their bidding.
And as Ghetto Physics so poignantly points out, the more things change the more they remain the same. In some instances there is never even a pretense of change. This is no better demonstrated than through the recent revelation that nationally recognized African American organizations submitted letters to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questioning the proposed ban on the use of menthol in cigarettes.
Over 80% of African American adult smokers, smoke mentholated cigarettes.
When President Barack Obama signed the historic Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in June 2009, he gave the FDA the authority to regulate cigarettes.
One of the provisions of the Act was the banning of all flavors in cigarettes, all flavors, that is, except menthol.
Flavored Cigarettes Get Young People Hooked
Other flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry were banned because it was widely “recognized” that these flavors masked the harshness and awful taste of tobacco, and could encourage young people to begin smoking and subsequently become addicted to cigarettes.
And though 95% of young Black smokers begin smoking with mentholated cigarettes, the health and welfare of these young people were not a priority of the legislation.
Menthol’s exclusion from the list of banned flavorings prompted seven former Secretaries of Health, including Drs. Joseph Califano and Louis Sullivan to write a joint letter vehemently opposing the exclusion of menthol from the banned flavors.
With Califano going on to say that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act as written relegated “Black children to the back of the [public health] bus.”
Only after a summer of agitation about menthol’s exclusion, was an eleventh hour amendment (initiated and co-authored by Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-V.I.) and the Congressional Black Caucus) added to the legislation that forced menthol to the top of the newly formed FDA Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee’s (TPSAC) “to do list.”
This brings us to Big Pimping or Big Tobacco at its finest. TPSAC was mandated to investigate and issue a recommendation on whether menthol should be banned like the other flavors. As such TPSAC has been holding public hearings and gathering “scientific” evidence in order to make its decision. It should be noted that no such hearings or “scientific” evidence were deemed necessary to ban the other flavors.
At the hearings Big Tobacco has paraded an all star cast of executives and scientists to provide expert testimony before the TPSAC. The official tobacco industry line is that menthol or no menthol, people will die anyway from smoking, and since the vast majority of Blacks “prefer” menthol it would be unfair to Black smokers to ban menthol.
In a bold move that only a serious player would have the nerve to make, Big Tobacco is actually positioning the menthol question as a civil rights issue, as they infer that Black folks are grown enough to decide how they want to kill themselves and that, while government regulations might protect others, it should not interfere with the free will of Blacks! They also claim that they have no idea why most Blacks smoke menthol cigarettes. But, we know why……