UPDATE: Tune into The Ron and Don Show tonight on #blogtalkradio as we discuss the historical significance of black businesses being alienated by black organizations. To listen at 8:30 p.m. CST, click here.
“Sometimes being a black professional is all about putting on that white-face mask to out-white the white folks at the expense of your own black people.”
By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (Member NABJ)
Once again, Minneapolis, Minn. will host an event with some of the best black professionals, this time from the world of journalism. The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) will hold it’s annual conference in Minneapolis from Aug. 5-9, including events at the controversial Mall of America. As a member in good standing, I am appalled by the NABJ ignoring black businesses in Minnesota.
It seems like somebody was not listening, or didn’t realize the atmosphere in the Twin Cites, which include racial tensions and the exclusion of black professionals inside of local media outlets, like anchors, reporters, sales and management. It is more likely for a black Minnesotan to get a job emptying trashcans at a local media outlet than getting a job is sales, promotion or management. If the NABJ did its homework, a different agenda might have emerged assisting black professionals in Minnesota. Yeah, I know, being sheep is one of the top qualities of some black organizations bound to loyalty by sponsorship dollars. Yes, there are a few solid people of color that worked hard to maintain inside of Minnesota Nice media, but they too have been limited by the proverbial glass ceiling of being sidekicks to the white-male patriarchal norm of mainstream media.
Author Ralph Ellison wrote, “All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried telling me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory” (Invisible Man).
In the Twin Cities some blacks are told what they are, where to go and who they can be. This is a sad documentary on defining humanity, culture and identity in a city where the indigenous black folks will let a national black organization come to two and not do any business with one black company or small business. The status quo of coonery in the Twin Cities and by some national organizations is to out-white the white man, but he already knows these types of professional blacks will stay lost within their environments, undeveloped, misinformed and of course misguided.
If the NABJ is keeping it real, they would lobby against some outlets for the lack of diversity among their ranks…but of course, this campaign would need some black ownership…
The facts are Black Americans own little to no corporate media.
When laid out more specifically, there are 1500 newspapers, 1100 magazines, 9000 radio station, 1500 TV stations, 2400 publishers owned by only three corporations according to Injustice Facts. Fair.Org reports the five largest networks are Time Warner (1997 sales: $24 billion), Disney ($22 billion), Bertelsmann ($15 billion), Viacom ($13 billion), and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation ($11 billion). Yes, then we have OWN, the fledgling network allegedly owned by television talk queen and billionaire Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey, a huge Obama supporter, has walked in the same footsteps of the president, choosing to ignore the need for information distribution, ownership and a fair playing field focused in the core of black America.
Just ask ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News or any of the many cable television news outlets: Black news is not important unless it takes part in a despicable act. Corporate news is a monster with many working parts – too many. While some might think CNN’s news series, “Black in America” might cover the news and plight of black America, believe it when I say, “Black in America” is the picture perfect series about the black dilemma made for white America by design. On the flip side, don’t look for any constructive African American news coverage on FOX either. Most news is about “white here, white now,” because if your are black, you must bleed to lead.
In closing, it’s okay if the members of the Twin Cities Black Journalist (Minnesota’s branch of the NABJ) do not send me email invites; I understand…with me representing my blackness as a strength, it might interfere with your perceptions and reality of your whiteness.