Why Tom Joyner is GLAAD

By Raynard Jackson

Last week I wrote a column entitled, “Roland Martin Is Not GLAAD.”  In that column, I discussed the unfair treatment of TV personality, Roland Martin.

I thought I was finished writing about this issue and was prepared to move on.  But, after receiving tons of phone calls, voicemails, and emails about Tom Joyner’s “Letter to Roland:  Make It Right,” I feel compelled to make another comment about the Martin affair                                                              (http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=blog_inner/37029/1573138/The%20Fly%20Jock).

There are so many more important things we should be discussing, but I can’t let Roland be thrown under the bus alone.

In his letter to Roland, Joyner states in part, “his radio show’s goal is to entertain and empower black people.”

Oh, really?  Joyner is the same person who wrote in his blog on July 1. 2011, “About a month ago, I wrote a blog about Tavis Smiley and decided to table it because I said some things I didn’t want to publish. You’re probably thinking I went too hard on him, but no. In reality, I hadn’t gone hard enough – and I knew it. I said I’d wait until something pissed me off so bad that I would have the words harsh enough to express what I was really feeling about him and his side piece[emphasis added]- I mean side kick – Cornel West.  Let me explain this to my non Black readers.

Remember, in my column last week I quoted linguist, S.I. Hayakaw as saying, “meanings are in people, not in words.”

When Joyner called Cornel West Tavis’ “side piece,” it meant they were sexual partners, in other words, they were gay!  GLAAD didn’t utter one word when Joyner made this statement.  Joyner was implying that there was something wrong with this.  Where was the gay outrage at this insinuation?

Let’s cut through all the clutter and get to what this debate is really all about.  This has little to do with Roland Martin—he is just a convenient punching bag.  This is about gays trying to force their views on society.  They have not been able to do it through the law, so they just use good ole fashioned extortion and fear.

They have snookered Black ministers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton into equating gay rights with civil rights.  They have groups like the NAACP spending more time fighting for gay rights than they do for civil rights.

If this is about understanding, why do we hear so much silence?  Liberal groups like the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) went so far as to issue a press release asking CNN to hire one of their members while Roland is on suspension!  Yes, you heard right!  Roland is a two time national board member and a life member of the group and as opposed to trying to support one of their own, they seek to replace Roland with one of their other members.  According to NABJ’s press release, “In lieu of his presence on CNN, until this matter is resolved, we encourage the network to continue to present a diverse offering of voices in its programming.”  Roland, with friends like these, you definitely don’t need any enemies.

So, in the spirit of understanding, I have a few questions for Joyner and CNN.

Tom, in your letter, you said you were “head of the family.”  So, as head of the family, have you had a direct conversation with Roland since this issue surfaced?  Why would you put out your statement on Friday, when Roland had already apologized and agreed to meet with GLAAD?  What was the purpose of the letter after 5 days of silence?  Did it really take you that long to think of a statement, or did GLAAD force your hand like the rest of the liberal Black community?  You further state that Roland should make “a sincere apology.”  Can you tell me what that looks like?  Who will decide if Roland is “sincere?”  I am having a difficult time finding your apology to Tavis and Cornel for calling them gay.  Can you post that on your site for us to read?  Remember, you said in your letter to Roland, “the job of the offender is simply to apologize and learn a lesson about what to say or do going forward.”

CNN, especially Mark Whitaker I have a few questions for you also.  Whitaker is Executive Vice President and managing editor for CNN Worldwide (and is also the highest ranking Black in the network).  In your statement you say, “language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization.”  Can you tell me exactly who Roland demeaned and how?  Can you define for me what the values and culture of your organization is?  Have you given Roland the courtesy of a direct conversation with you before the suspension?  Now that Roland has agreed to meet with GLAAD, can you tell me what will determine when you put Roland back on the air?

Tom’s letter to Roland was signed, “Tom Joyner.”  I wonder if he left the word uncle off on purpose, or maybe he just thought it would be redundant!

In many ways, Joyner and GLAAD are very similar.  Both claim to seek understanding and promote equality among people, but, neither gave it to Roland Martin.  So, in a way, Tom Joyner is GLAAD.

If you want to show your love and support for Roland, I encourage each of you to make three calls and send three emails.  Tom Joyner’s phone number is:  972-789-1058; Mark Whitaker’s number and email are:  212-275-7800 (markwhitaker@turner.com); Jim Walton (president of CNN world wide) 404-827-1500 (jim.walton@turner.com).

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com), Freedom’s Journal Magazine (www.freedomsjournal.net), and U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).


2 Responses to “Why Tom Joyner is GLAAD”

  1. I respect your opinion, but I want to point out a couple of things that I hope you consider: I am a black lesbian, so I have to combat prejudices that involve my sexual orientation as well as my color, and let’s not forget that I am also a woman, which comes with its own set of prejudices.

    This commentary often bounced around in the black community that the “gays” are trying to push “their” agenda on the masses is a little misguided at the very least. My sexual orientation is no more important than my ethnicity or cultural background–I don’t play favorites.

    We live in a world with other humans and we need to start acting like our differences are differences and not invisible boxes of self imposed hierarchy, where we feel as if our personal plights are more important and better deserved than other people. It is painful to be discriminated against, and as black people we should understand this more than any group in this world. It always amazes me how elitist we become when the rights of other human beings are compromised, and because it is something we can’t understand or identify with, we dismiss and demonize it.

    I understand if religion plays a role in one’s acceptance of another person’s philosophies, practices and sexual orientation. If people choose to understand God as being intolerant of homosexuality, that is fine, but to be so zealously opposing, to the point or ridicule, violence, desertion, and prejudice, is to misconstrue the great purpose of what God’s love is and what it means for humanity.

    Another point I want to mention about Roland Martin and Tom Joyner: Your observation of Joyner’s comments is the first I am hearing of such a thing, but it is a flimsy comparison at best. The reason why GLAAD was probably silent about Joyner is because, like me, they probably didn’t hear anything about it. I believe if they had heard Joyner, I don’t think the implication that two men may be lovers can be filed under the same umbrella as kicking the ass of two men who are lovers–very different. Furthermore, Joyner is not a part of a major new network reporting the news, having access to an international audience. And although I don’t think Roland should be fired, there are responsibilities and a level of visibility that Joyner does not have as a radio personality.

    Again, I respect your commentary, but I had to speak up.

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