ABC Nightline: Whites Count, Blacks Do Not

        David Sirota has a good analysis of a recent ABC Nightline commentary about the attacks on Dr. Wright. He quotes commentary by David Wright, a white commentator with no relationship to Dr. Wright: 

DAVID WRIGHT: Many black leaders had no comment on today’s developments. Obama could yet pay a price in the black community. REVEREND AL SHARPTON: Some are going to agree. I think some are going to disagree vehemently.

DAVID WRIGHT: But the real question now is what do white voters think, especially the white voters of Indiana. They weigh in on Tuesday, and Obama’s hoping there’s enough time to convince them that he and his controversial pastor have gone their separate ways for good.

Sirota nails the white racist framing in this Nightline commentary:

So according to Nightline, there are questions about the painful and deep fissures the Obama-Wright issue is causing in the black community, but those aren’t “real.” No, “the real question is what do white voters think” – and, according to ABC, they – and only they – “weigh in on Tuesday” (apparently, Indiana’s black population doesn’t get to weigh in…did someone suspend the Voting Rights Act in Indiana?). David Wright is white, and probably didn’t even have a clue that what he said is a very clear message that he – and the people at Nightline who edited his piece – really don’t see black people, or even the black vote, as important – or, in their words, “real.”

This is just one of hundreds of recent media accounts where African American voters and, more generally, the African American community is not taken seriously by white commentators. A little later Sirota adds this:

Here is a show that beams out to the entire country, and one of its reporters concluded a piece by telling 37 million African Americans that the issues in their community do not matter – an especially galling message, considering the Obama-Wright controversy is one inherently about tensions within the black community. . . .

I think Sirota got it quite right here too, except for that last phrase. This Obama-Wright controversy is not primarily one about “tensions in the black community,” but mainly about the way a white-racist society and its whitewashed media force a nationally negative view onto a Black leader and ex-Marine with distinguished service, a doctorate, scholarly publications, many honorary degrees and a distinguished career as a minister in a predominantly white denomination (Dr. Wright) and force a distinguished Black senator with a distinguished Harvard law record and much societal service (Senator Obama) to make major and demeaning political concessions to that white racist framing in order to be elected in 2008. The problem is the white racist society. There is plenty of social science data showing how widespread racial discrimination and oppression still is — social science data that few whites —  political leaders, bloggers, media people, and the rank and file — care to read and understand.


(We hope you had a good May day, with a salute now to all workers across the country and the globe!)

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