YELLOW JOURNALISM IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY
By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
About 10 years ago, Sistah Souljah wrote a book called "Slavery's Back in Effect." About 5 years ago, Dr. Joy DeGruy (Leary) wrote a book entitled "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome"; and just a scant 2 weeks ago, Tom Burrell wrote "Brainwashed", adding to yet another long, valiant list of efforts to wake Black people up to the fact that we are among the walking wounded -- zombies; remnants of a system that has made a considerable livelihood off of our misery for fun and profit.
You would think that by now we would have realized that we are part of a heinous experiment to see how low and far one race will go in its victimization of another, while simultaneously pretending not to be doing any such thing? And how long can the subjected (read, targeted) group contininue to pretend that they (read, we) are really surviving and doing well, in spite of and because of the psycho/phyiscal/spiritual/econo/material/horrors visited upon us 24/7 and twice on Sunday.
Either way, you are in this machiavellian social quagmire, it's damned if you do and damned if you don't. It's pretty much as the song says: "TRY TO MAKE IT REAL COMPARED TO WHAT?"
We make up a group of people who have tried to live, love, survive, succeed, raise families, earn a living, worship God, under a system that constantly and continuously undermines our ability to do so. While at the same time trying to say that this is no longer happening.
New Yorkers, who pride themselves on sophistication and avante garde societal trends, are as guilty as any southern racist town ever was. Perhaps even more so, because of the illusion of being multicultural and multiracial, multiethnic.
Case in point, among many, is the vilification of Governor David Paterson. The focus of a media hatchet job, with the sharks nipping at his heels, Paterson has been subjected to invectives leveled at him from the likes of the New York Post, which most Blacks acknowledge is blatantly racist and right wing, to the New York Times, who has recently shown itself to be as racist as the Post.
In fact, given the tenor of the NY Times most recent reporting style, it would make little sense to continue paying $2.00 per edition, when you can save $1.50 and just by the Post; it's the same negative. Many African Americans stopped buying the Times after the attempted character assassination of Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- I know I did. Their latest attack against Paterson and Congressman Charles Rangel confirms that I did the right thing.
While it is obvious that there have been some missteps on the part of Governor Paterson in reference to minor personal issues; it in no way warrants the hatefilled headlines of the Post, Daily News and the New York Times, which have called for his resignation over issues that are immaterial to the State vis a vis larger issues, such as the budget, and retention of essential services throughout the State.
Indeed, in July 2008, Paterson actually presaged the problems long before the actual economic collapse, and made considerable effort to reign in many of the budgetary issues New York faced, long before the s--t hit the proverbial fan. He has, in large measure, been instrumental in saving New York from a great deal of the pain other states are currently experiencing.
In contrast, check out former Gov. Pataki, who for 13 years, managed to eviscerate practically every viable program for mainstream New York, including affordable housing, educational programs, childcare programs. Stacking his record of sweetheart construction deals to his cronies against Paterson trying to level the playing field, David comes out way ahead in the short term. Of course, his reversing some of the programs Pataki undermined, establishing a viable Minority Business Division, trying to reinstate affordable housing after so many programs were removed at the State level -- may have rankled the nerves of the private interest cronies that were counting on the palm-greasing to continue under Paterson.
Now I'm not saying that David Paterson was the perfect Governor. What I am saying is that he is not deserving the invectives he's receiving at the hands of the press, and the backstabbers in his midst who are trying to see how far they can push him. Those are the kinds of people who, as kids, used to pull wings off flies to see what would happen. They have a prurient interest in seeing how much pain they can inflict through their lies and inuendos.
My word to David Paterson --" Stay Strong my Brother. You will not be the first person to make a mistake in Albany. You will not be the first Governor to screw things up. We know that the racist media, practicing yellow journalists that they are, have a double standard. They are trying to make and shape the news to their own ends, rather than report the news OBJECTIVELY. Of course, as a Black journalist myself, I can attest to the fact that objectivity in journalism is a myth, a lie and has never been practiced in reference to Black people where the white media is involved."
Which is also why I am standing for Governor David Paterson. Once again a Black man gets caught up in trying to be equitable in an inequitable situation. The David Paterson I know, the David Paterson I interviewed, who back in the day warned us to "stay out of the Bushes" (i.e. Bush I & II); who took on inequities in Harlem and tried to lessen the blow of Pataki's rapacious poliies; who stood for the African Burial Ground when the bulldozers would have just as soon buried the bones of our ancestors even deeper; who helped Black street vendors and merchants; who has one of the best sense of humors ever (and could be one of the best political satirists on the planet). The David Paterson that was thrust into the position of Governor because of an unscrupulous persecuting/prosecutor who was elected Governor through intimidation (and had it blow up in his face); the David Paterson, who as Governor, has been deliberately isolated from his resource base, has continued to maintain his composure under the slings of outrageous fortune. This David Paterson is now being the subject of a hostile media campaign which is unscrupulous, ignorant and an insult to our intelligence as Black people.
When I as a kid in Oklahoma in an all Black school, our teachers taught us a rule that I have never forgotten: When white people spend time, energy, money, and news vilifying a Black man, he must be doing something right, or he is in the way of something they want; so they try to build up as negative a persona as possible, making that person out to be a larger than life monstrousity. No one is ever as bad as they make them out to be. And when they spend that amount of time trying to make them look that bad, you know that it's racist over, under, around and through. As the late Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure) used to say: "WE OVER UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION!"
The lack of respect shown to Governor Paterson is reprehensible. Trial by headlines is a desparate attempt on the part of these papers to make themselves appear relevant in an era of dwindling sales and their inability to compete with online news. -- which if we Black people have anything to do with, should dwindle even further, because their obvious racism calls for a massive boycott.
By the way, there are even more merits in reading your own press. New York has one (1) daily and at least nine (9) weekly Black publications that give more information, perspective, truth about what's going on in the Black community, with no "white wash" (Daily Challenge News, Amsterdam News, NY Beacon, Our Time Press, Carib News, African Sun Times, Black Star News - among others). They consistently provide information is often more in depth, more relevant, and more timely. It's time the Black community began getting their news from publications that reflect them (there are also several Black online commentaries and publications, as well). It's time to stop paying for insults, ignorance and insensitive reports that pass as news, but is little more than slander.
Tom Burrell, author of Brainwashed, spoke of the "marketing" (read brainwashing and propaganda) job this country has done on Blacks for at least 400 years, in trying to convince them they were inferior, less than whites; ignorant and not worthy of respect. It continues unabated, some times in much more subtle forms. But much more often as of late, we have been bombarded with the blatant, garrish head-lies (yes I said head-lies) of these papers are the modern day form of brainwashing. They look for negatives and splay it out as if it is the sum total of the individual and what he stands for. There is a considerable amount of difference between the facts and the truth -- and they are definitely not one and the same, though the mainstream media would have you believe they were.
If a populartiy poll was the real measure of a politician, there would be nothing but miscreants in office -- that's how we got Ronald "the actor" Reagan for President -- such is the schizoid nature of the voting populace -- it would range from soup to nuts.
In point of fact, if you take a look at the bigger picture, you realize something very interesting -- that should make you go "wait a minute!!" or at the very least "hmmmmmm": Have you noticed that it seems to be open season on Black leaders, and on Blacks in pivotal roles: President Obama, under fire for trying to bring much needed health care to a nation where the greedy would just as soon keep us hopped up on over the counter drugs, and lopping off parts of our body; the Congressional Black Caucus, for supposed improprieties; Rev. Flake, Congressman Meeks.
Congressman Charles Rangel, head of the powerful Ways and Means Committee (the last time a Black man held that role, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the white media and Congress whites went overboard in trying to point up every little minor infraction -- [all the while Strom Thurmond was banging a Black woman had fathered a Black child, and was promoting segregation and KKK in his district -- go figure!] -- Check it out folks -- this is what is known as a "white backlash" -- something we were warned about when we were part of the Civil Rights Movement. There is a supposed Ethics Committee in Congress, that has done nothing in reference to ethics for decades until it was found the Rangel allegedly had one more property than white people thought he should have. Interesting isn't it, that they can't seem to make those determinations when it comes to others actions. The concept of Rangel stepping down, during this inquisition, is likewise as ludicrous as their trying to force Governor Paterson out of office.
Whites just don't like to see that much power on the part of Blacks at any one time. So they are launching an all out offensive to try to destroy and denigrate our organizations, leaders, elected officials. In the words of a wise rapper: 'DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!'
It's clear that for the first time we are closer than we've ever been before to autonomy -- or as close to autonomy as we have ever been in the context of a racist society. We have actually got the reigns of leadership in our hands on so many level, and we are actually doing a good job.
Even with the few missteps David Paterson has made, he has done no worse than his predecessors. We all know there is a double standard with whites, and that we are called upon to be 10 times better to even be considered on an even keel with them -- Alas, David is only 9 times better --- and therein lies a glaring flaw. When they commit an error, it's a misdemeanor -- a character flaw; when we commit one it's a felony. Most of their claims are without merit or importance in the larger scheme of things, and points to the racist lens through which they view Black elected officials. Well guess what folks, for all the hue and cry, Paterson has not really done anything of such a heinous nature that he should be pilloried, drawn and quarted by the white press. Now is the time to say STOP THE MADNESS.
Tell the lynchminded press to report some real news for a change; or take your lynch mob and go home. Tell them to ask Bloomberg when he's going after his cronies for all the monies they bilked New Yorkers out of -- we have a budget deficit, remember? or ask the MTA to really show us the real books and at the same time, trot out those accountants who are so poor and amateurish they could actually overlook major budgetary items - twice!! Why are they still on the job, when others have been dismissed for less. Tell the main stream, right wing media, and their pseudo religious televangelical cronies, to get to something that you are really supposed to be good at -- and by the way, wasn't the witch hunt in Salem Massachusetts? And isn't Lynchburg in Virginia, instead of New York? Or is it that we are really up South, but pretending not to know it?
Remember: they don't have to wear hoods to be KKK; it's the action that defines who the detractors are. They can still wear button down suits, sit in front of a camera, look authentically authoritative, and be lying through their teeth, or be as racist as any grand dragon ever was.
But I guess the bottom line for me is this: We MUST adapt the same double standard with them that they use in reference to us. They protect their own, NO MATTER WHAT. In other words, folks, one good double standard deserves another. We talk about all the time. Now it's time to learn to do the same in reference to our own. We have to embrace David Paterson, stand for him, protect him, and give him our support without compunction in the same way whites have done for each other for centuries -- because David Paterson one of us and Black is Beautiful.
David Paterson deserves to be given the benefit of belief (and the doubt) and the benefit of all the power, love and support we can muster. We must develop our own BLACKBONE and have his back, and make the hounds of hell who are trying to bring him down over specious accusations BACK OFF!!!
PS: I wrote this a week ago, and am happy to learn that on Thursday, March 4, our elected officials, activists and leaders gathered for a summit conference at Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food Restaurant to declare their support for Gov. David Paterson. Kudos to them all!! GDW
Stay blessed &