Haters for Hire:
Understanding Racism for Ratings
It all started when, while standing in the checkout line at Community Foods Supermarket, Mike White told a joke that he heard on the local right wing radio morning show. However, Rasheed Blackmon, who was in line behind him was not amused. The simple off-color joke led to a racial slug-fest, as customers throughout the store began clubbing each other with frozen pizzas and boxes of Twinkies.The radio station finally got what they had been pushing for; a race riot on aisle five of the local grocery store...
Since the last presidential election, there has been a growing interest in right wing shock jocks with new ones springing up like weeds everyday in markets across the country. Whether it be Clear Channel's Rush Radio affiliates or Fox News, the line between journalism and entertainment has been permanently blurred. What is passing for examples of intelligent racial discourse are merely cheap one-liners and the conservative equivalent of "yo' mama" jokes.
Racism for ratings has become the order of the day and stations are scrambling to hire their own stable of hired haters.
What is ironic is that I doubt very seriously that most of the pundits who spew the racist rhetoric actually feel that way when they are off the clock nor will they be able to defend their positions in public debates. They subscribe to the old saying, "I'm not a racist; I just play one on TV." For them the profits of racial rage are strictly business, nothing personal.
Unfortunately, if you follow the right wing rhetoric to its logical conclusion, eventually some one's gonna get hurt and it's not going to be one of the media moguls in an office building in downtown Manhattan nor one of the local haters-for-hire hidden away in a DJ booth in some undisclosed location, it's going to be one of your friends or neighbors. After the racial Apocalypse, the head honchos at corporate will just put the racial rebel rousers in their Clear Channel Radio Host Protection Program, change their identities and ship them off to some unsuspecting town in Idaho where they will start the same mayhem over again, while leaving their former city of employment in shambles.
While many will be quick to blame the messenger, it must be noted that as early as the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson warned that if America did not get its collective act together in terms of race relations, according to Bradford Chambers in his book "Chronicles of Black Protests," he foresaw a race war and the "extermination of the one or the other race."
You have folks on both sides of the political gulf that take what they hear on Fox News and conservative radio as the Gospel, a reflection of how the average white American feels about people of color. However, just as the Hip Hop videos on Black Entertainment Television do not reflect the lifestyle choices of all African Americans, neither does Fox News reflect the racial attitudes of all whites.
According to WEB Dubois in his book, "Black Reconstruction in America, " in 1860 only 7% of the total population of the South owned nearly three million of the 3,953,676 slaves. These were the members of the "planter class" who controlled the politics and economics of the southern states. Dubois wrote that the propagation of the doctrine of black inferiority was based on the interests of this planter class by which the majority of the population (poor whites) were manipulated. In modern society, the planter class would be the media moguls and their prophets of rage, while the poor whites would be the majority of their listeners.
One of the reasons why this trend continues is that most Americans have a very lackadaisical attitude when it comes to historical research. It is easier to listen to some bigot on the radio and just parrot right wing talking points than it is to engage in a critical analysis of the race problem. Plus, it's more entertaining to watch Glenn Beck go off one one of his tirades than it is to sit down and read a book. Let's face it, the Right's theater of the absurd sells out every night.
Also, we live in an area where the local newspapers would rather pretend that by ignoring racial issues they will eventually disappear. Racial issues will not make the morning paper until two days after blood is flowing waist high in the streets,evidence of the old adage "if it bleeds, it leads."
This is not without precedent, as back in 2004, Kentucky's Lexington Herald Leader admitted that the paper "neglected to cover the Civil Rights Movement." Maybe this is why paper's like Durham's Herald Sun have not really explored the race issue, instead, relegating discussions on race to community message boards, the journalistic equivalent of back alley discussions, instead of the actual newspaper.
Nationally, this has been a long hot summer in regards to the topic of race in America and with the upcoming mid-term elections, you can bet that the heat of the summer will bleed into the fall.
While the media gatekeepers are cashing in on the racial hatred, folks like you and I are just pawns in the game.
Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Messianic Afrikan Nation. He can be reached at (919) 972-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org