*When I was growing up my mom would often say, “What’s done in the dark will surely come to light.”
She didn’t coin this phase; it’s actually from the Bible, Luke 12:2-3 to be exact.
Yet her words swirled inside my head like a carousel whenever I did something I knew she should disapprove of like saying I was going one place and intending to go to another. Or hiking my skirt up and wearing lipstick at school, then transforming back into her little girl before I got home.
Eventually I got caught. And what I thought I was doing outside the purview of Mom had finally come to light just like she said. And there was penitence to pay.
We’ve all had our moment when our secret was exposed, when we were found out. Looks like Mel Gibson is having his moment now. For him the words of my mother and Satint Luke are ringing louder than the bells at the Sistine Chapel. He’s been caught. Suddenly, life as he knew it is no more. And his life as we knew it is no more as well.
The secret recordings made by his ex-girl friend and baby mama Oksana Grigorieva are explosive, obscene, misogynistic and bigoted, not to mention shocking. Clearly they were not meant for human consumption, just her ears only. They are so alarming and profane, they felt intrusive. The world would have been a better place had we not been exposed to them.
But we were. Now we know hell hath no fury like a like Mel Gibson scorned. Boy did he unload his fury on Ms. Grigorieva, pulling out all the stops with his rants against women and intolerant insults against African Americans, Latinos and Jewish people.
Shame hath no refuse when the shroud is lifted. Mom didn’t coin that phase. I did. This is not an episode of Candid Camera for Gibson. This is a slice of his life gone viral, a far cry from the some of the likeable and entertaining characters he’s brought us on the silver screen over his storied career.
Bless Whoopi Goldberg for trying to defend her friend. “I don’t like what he did here, but I know Mel and I know he’s not a racist,” Goldberg said on “The View.” “He may be a bonehead. I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist, having spent time with him in my house with my kids.”
Well that’s true friendship and that’s a beautiful thing. Now that he’s standing in the infrared light, what would you say he is? Just a man with a broken heart and bruised ego who transgressed during a moment when he felt he was losing control of his conquest?
I’ve had close friends in my life who were white and we had a great relationship. But in their minds I was not like the other unknown blacks. I was not part of the faceless monolithic demonized by past stereotypes and present media images. So they viewed me with a different set of eyes and viewed other African Americans with a set of circumspect eyes. And every now and then they’d be a slip with a comment that reminded me of that whether it was a tasteless joke about Black women’s derrieres or a crass remark about “brothas” hanging out on street corners while driving through certain sections of Los Angeles.
I remember the greatest insult came from a long-time white friend who wanted to introduce me to her parents as a kind of grandstand to show them – whom she said were generational bigots – that she was not like them. When I asked her why she choose me instead of another black friend she appeared equally close to she said, “Well your features are less severe and more palatable.” Imagine that. I was less scary and threatening. I realized then I didn’t know her as well as I thought I did. Or did I?
I grew up hearing mom say another axiom, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” That’s from the Bible to, Luke 6:45. People will speak what’s in their heart. It will emerge gradually over time or erupt under pressure. And I think that’s what happened in Gibson’s case. Grigorieva baited him nonetheless exploiting his base behavior for her own selfish gain. Like Whoopi said, “If someone is kicking your behind and punching you while you’re holding your kid, you don’t go to the cops first? You go to RadarOnline?”
Grigorieva really knew him. She knew Gibson would bite the bait hook, line and sinker.. And he did. That’s why she recording him. So the question is, “Who is Mel Gibson?” The answer is he’s the person we see when he thinks no one is looking. But then again, so are we.