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Obama’s Black Summit

14 Oct 2010

I’ve been watching HBO’s Boardwalk Empire series.  It’s kind of like the Sopranos except it’s set in Atlantic City, NJ during prohibition. Women were just climbing the mountain for the right to vote.  During their fight, women were often made to feel stupid. In the show, quite often, a woman would be asked to define certain political or worldwide events. Dumbfounded, the woman would be dismissed and the men would laugh, “See, this is why they shouldn’t vote.”  Translation:  Women were too stupid for such an important job.

So, now we have president Barack Obama holding a summit for black bloggers, reporters and media types in a private conversation at the White House.  The black media reps were told they could discuss any policy statements made (as long as they didn’t attribute them to anyone at the White House) but that the president’s words were strictly private.

Oops, seems like one blogger videotaped parts of Obama’s mini-speech and posted it online.  In it you can hear the president say he needs their help in getting the word out to black voters.  I’m not really sure how this would play out if a “white summit” were called but anyway, the president, in his effort to get this block of media to help says, “The media is changing so rapidly that websites, like you guys do every day, do two things. Number one, it allows us to reach audiences that may not be watching Meet The Press. I’m just saying, it might be a different demographic.” Once  the laughter died down he shared a few more moments and exited stage left.

I’m not black but this is the most condescending thing I’ve heard from a politician in a very long time.  ”Blacks don’t watch Meet the Press?”  In other words, black Americans–just like women during the suffrage movement–are basically too dumb to get the details of policies, politics and other matters of grave importance so would you black media reps dumb things down and/or just do what you can to get these people to the voting booths? Seriously, that’s exactly how it came across as the words left his lips and I felt like I was once again tuned to my Boardwalk Empire show. Black people can be exposed to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Fox’s Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly or anything on Meet the Press and they will just scratch their heads in stupidity as all the other people of color share a laugh?

The entire spectacle is absolutely obscene.  Blacks, browns, whites, yellows and any other colored Americans can read up on the facts and actually watch the news-makers and politicians as they appear on mass medium television, radio and Internet shows and, last I heard, none of the shows were off-limits.  There is nothing that I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been in the media for 30+ years) that says, Meet the Press is a “whites-only” show and blacks can’t/won’t watch, er, well, because, “that’s a show for the smart non-black folk.”


You want to know why we continue to have racial divide in this country?  Take a look at the top-dog politicians as they cater to select groups while demeaning entire groups in the process.  Mr. President, if you are really doing a good job for this country (as your wife says you are) then don’t bring in a bunch of black reporters and ask them to “report” the news.  Translation:  Don’t put a good black spin on this because “we’re all brothers and sisters working for the black cause.”

And, sir, don’t tell your allied fleet of reporters that blacks don’t watch certain shows. Translation:  Don’t be a racist!  You’re supposed to be above that!  We’re all supposed to be above that!

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