By Harold Bell
In 2010 some white folks feel that since there is a black man in the White House this gives them a reason to attack black folks verbally or physically.
These attacks are taking place all across America.
It does not matter whether it is the President of the United States or unsuspecting black men in a Detroit suburb or a Bowie, Maryland suburb near the Nation’s Capitol.
For the first time ever Essence Magazine has devoted an issue (November 2010) to discuss race in America and how far we have not come!
Segment One: On Why Race Still Matters
Segment Two: White Hate Groups
Segment Three: Racism at Work
First, cheers to Editor-In-Chief Angela Burt-Murray. The magazine assembles a cast of characters who you will discover that five out of the seven are a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. Despite their shortcomings Essence deserves the credit for having the “balls” to put this topic on the top burner.
The panel includes: Rev. Al Sharpton, Soledad O’Brien (CNN), Ben Jealous (NAACP), Tricia Rose (Brown University), Lenny McAllister (Tea Party), Stephen A. Smith (Sports Talk Show Host) and Sheryl Underwood (Comedian).
Essence Magazine’s Deputy Editor Bob Evans led the discussion.
When all was said and done it was the blind leading the blind. For example check out this exchange and response to Bob Evans’ question: “What grade would you give President Obama on race relations?”
Al Sharpton gave him an “A.” He says, “People ask is he black enough. I tell them the real question is ‘Is he President enough?’ Rev. Sharpton is the official carrier of the White House toilet tissue brigade. (When the President goes to the bathroom he is assigned to the nearest toilet, instead of kissing he is wiping).
Ben Jealous, says, “President Obama would receive an excellent score.” Conclusion; “It is best to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
This is Mr. Jealous’ second go around in opening his mouth before he has done his homework. He spoke out of turn as it related to Shirley Sherrod. She was the black USDA official fired after being accused of being a racist against some white clients.
Mr. Jealous criticized Ms. Sherrod before checking out the source and the facts. Ms. Sherrod was force to resign from her position as a Georgia State Director of Rual Development for the United States Department of Agriculture.
The NAACP has lost most its credibility in the black community and now its new President puts his foot in his mouth again.
There is also the appearance of him being a “Follower instead of a Leader.” You can bet what ever position that his “Ace boon Coon” Rev. Sharpton takes he won’t be far behind.
Lenny McAllister. He gives the President a “C”-and says, “The President has remained silent on racial matters, even as race is re-emerging as a key issue. (The C- was still a little too generous.)
Tricia Rose gives the President a “B”- and says, “I give him that grade for managing the racial firestorms that have escalated.” ( Makes sense, still a little too generous).
Sheryl Underwood, says, “I give him a qualified “A”, although I know he’s trying to be President for every person in this country, I wish he would concentrate on us.” (There is little doubt what her profession is. She just told one of the biggest jokes of her career. Wishing the President would concentrate on us is wishful thinking!)
When it comes to trying to do the “Right thing” black folks are the only people trying to play fair. The rest of America is cheating, robbing, stealing and committing every type of violent act there is to hold on to their piece of the rock.
Stephen A. Smith, says, “I give him a “B,” he hasn’t done very much for race relations, but he has not hurt it much either.”
This is typical Stephen A. Smith talking out of both sides of his mouth and sitting on the fence. How can you give him a B and he hasn’t done much for race relations?
I wonder what school in Philly did he attend where they gave you a B for not doing anything?
The next question was “Does the heightened racism surprised you or disappoint you?
Jealous: “It was disappointing but not surprising. Racism so infects our national discourse that we still think the majority of crack users in this country are black. White people are 65 percent of crack users.”
Stephen Smith’s response: “If I went on my radio show and said that, we would have a problem.”
Tricia Rose asked why?
Smith: I’m in 207 markets across the country and most of it is middle America, which is a term for white America. They don’t want to hear that.”
Rose: “How do you now that?”
Smith: Because the white folks who make the decisions, who show you numbers, will point out white America doesn’t want to hear it. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to engage in a dialogue about (race).
Smith then says to Soledad O’Brien “You should have your own show on CNN in prime time.”
Sheryl Underwood: says, “Tell me why?”
Smith: “If you give her a platform what is the likelihood of her addressing the very issues we are discussing? She is not going to hesitate.”
Smith is admitting that Soledad O’Brien has more balls than he has and to him it is all about the dollar. He has access to 207 markets and can’t tell the truth about race relations in America!
How can you believe anything else he has to say, his Mode of Operation guarantees he will sell you out somewhere down the line.
This dialogue proves that the black faces you see anchoring the local news and on your major television and Cable Networks never have “The last word.”
The lack of power of blacks in so-called major media is so transparent because none have the ability to make their own evaluations, write their own scripts or tell the truth according to Smith.
This “Plantation Mentality” will continue to exist until blacks own their own media outlets in America. In the meantime they are just satisfied in “show me the money” and going to the bank!
We can’t be mislead by BET and Radio One television outlets. White folks are still calling all the shots and have “The Last Word.”
In Washington, DC, I have known only two black television anchors to have had the freedom to suggest stories and write their own commentaries. The late WUSA TV 9 News Anchor Max Robinson and WRC TV-4 News Anchor Jim Vance.
Max was a pioneer in local television news and hailed from Richmond, Virginia. He was a bigger than life personality and he delivered the evening news with a swagger. He was tall and handsome and marched to his own drum beat. He was “Black and Proud” long before James Brown made his classic the rallying cry of Black America.
Max did something that is unheard of in television news today he fought for racial equality and a more positive portrayals of Black Americans. In Washington, DC the only thing you will find black anchors like Bruce Johnson, Derek McGinty, Leon Harris and Jim Vance fighting for is a paycheck.
When Max was seen in the black community you could count on good news and a Bruce Johnson appearance today means you could count on ”bad news.” Johnson is also known as “Dr. Death.” You could count on someone being dead if he was in your community covering a story. Nothing has changed!
Max was beloved and respected in the inner-city. Unlike today’s black anchors he was trusted to get the story right.
He was the first black to be promoted to anchor on a national news program. The network was ABC and the program was “ABC World News Tonight.”
His independence and demands for racial equality kept him in hot water with his bosses at ABC News.
Max’s battles with alcohol were well known throughout the industry but he would eventually lose his life to aids in 1988.
My last encounter with Max was in Richmond at the CIAA Basketball Tournament. I was in the Marriott Hotel having lunch when he spotted me and waved to me over to his table.
He introduced me to members of his family and said “I want you to meet my friend Harold Bell, the most courageous voice in talk radio in DC.” I was stunned, because Max and I had been like passing ships in the night in DC. I was honored that he felt that way about my work on the radio. He died later that year in Washington, DC.
Derrick McGinty has no track record of ever doing any thing constructive in the black community before he was selected as “The Chosen One” on WUSA TV 9.
Leon Harris is the new kid on the block at ABC news affiliate WJLA. He’s just another pretty face pretending like he knows what is going on.
NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 Anchor Jim Vance, a former teacher from Philadelphia followed Max into Washington television media. He was once a fighter for fair play through his one of a kind on air written commentaries and reach back community endeavors. He helped and encouraged me to write my own commentaries for my sports talk show.
His on-going drug habit would silence his on-air commentaries and his reach back efforts in the inner-city. We were tennis partners until I showed him a check he had written to one of DC’s notorious drug boys. He made it clear to me he was not interested in me trying to save his job or his life.
We went our separate ways. He is tested weekly to maintain his on-air status.
In the past several months President Obama has been popping up on black oriented radio and television shows. Some of these black media personalities have been trying to get an interview with him since he took up residence in the White House.
Radio One’s Joe Madison said, “I have been trying to get an interview with him since he first took office but there was someone always there blocking the way in. I understand that person is no longer onboard and I think that opened the door for us (blacks). Going into the meeting I was told that I had 10 minutes for my interview but he gave me 20 minutes.”
The President has had one-on-one interviews with TV One’s Roland Martin, radio interviews with Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey and he showed up on MTV.
The biggest White House media sham was a reported Summit with Online African-American Bloggers at the White House.
The media (major outlets) reported that President Obama had met with the bloggers to discuss how he could help make their jobs easier! Nothing could be further from the truth.
No President in U. S. history has been kicked around like a football by the media more than President Barak Obama.
He has received more death threats than any President occupying the White House. His wife has been called a chimpanzee and some other names we rather not mention.
The signs and posters he and his family have encountered on his ventures outside of the White House have been disgusting.
It would seem like he would finally say “It is time I reached out to black media and stopped making them the last to know.”
No such luck. While as many as 25 black media bloggers waited for his appearance, the President was announced and walked through the door giving everyone high fives and a handshake and disappeared out of the door never to return. When the dust had cleared, left standing and holding court were “the usual suspects,” white staffers.
One blogger described the experience as, “Now you see me, and now you don’t. We have been duped again.”
“The meeting” with the President did little to convince black media that he is serious about including them into the main stream media mix.
The charade continues as minorities and folks of color are still being excluded instead of included. For example; there are White House staffers who have offices in the White House who are assigned to meet with Hispanic, Asian and black media separately.
Juan Williams former Washington Post columnist played the “If you can’t beat them join them game” to perfection.
Williams, a FOX News Political Analyst and correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) was fired for saying, “Since 911 I am scared to death when I see a Muslim on an airplane dressed in full Muslim garb.”
NPR fired him because they said he had crossed the line of editorial boundaries. FOX News gave Mr. Williams a raise and a new 2 million dollar contract. He played NPR like an old drum. He beat them to death.
You want to know why blacks in media are not taken serious. We are separate and still not equal even though there is a black man in the White House.
Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television. Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities. The show and format became wildly popular. Who better than Harold Bell to put together classic interviews with his legendary celebrity friends.