Tag Archives: Harvard

Does Murdoch Think Obama is a Racist- Or What?

The Grand Poobah of the Fox empire got himself in some hot water when he said he basically agreed with Glenn Beck’s characterization of President Obama. You may remember Beck said the president was racist, and “had a deep seated hatred of white people”. That was after Obama said police had acted stupidly in arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates.

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch was interviewed on (what else?) Sky News Australia. He said the president “made a very racist comment”. And what comment would that be, Mr. Murdoch? Like Beck, he must have been talking about the word stupidly, which last I checked doesn’t have racist connotations. No matter. The irony of a man commenting on race who owns the New York Post and pays the salaries of Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and an anchor who once called a fist bump terrorist shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

But wait! Faster than you can say Media Matters, one of Murdoch’s minions rushed to clarify his remarks. He doesn’t agree that President Obama is a racist, or so spokesman Gary Ginsberg told Politico. He wouldn’t comment any further on the interview, however. The White House wouldn’t comment at all. Barack Obama understands too well what a loaded time bomb race is now that he’s president. After the administration’s criticism of the Fox News Channel, is it a reach to think Murdoch was hoping Obama would go for the bait?

Which brings us back to Murdoch’s empire. I’ve always been amazed at the number of people of color who read the New York Post. It must be masochism, or habit, or something I’ll never be able to figure out. And the Fox News Channel? More of the same. Which brings up the question when will folks stop participating in their own marginalization? Ask yourself this question. According to those in Murdoch World, has Barack Obama done anything right since he’s become president?

And still the Post, which is losing money like just about every other paper in America, survives. It survives even after a woman who was fired sues the paper, saying one of her bosses referred to her as “Cha Cha Number One.”  Maybe the empire stays alive because people who ought to know better don’t take it seriously. How many times have you heard somebody say “that’s just the Post, or that’s just the Fox News Channel?”

No matter how many denials Rupert Murdoch may issue about his own views, too many of his media holdings have questionable histories when it comes to race. Remember the infamous “chimp cartoon?” Murdoch apologized for that, but no one, save Sandra Guzman, the woman mentioned earlier, got fired. She had the guts to complain about the cartoon.

All of which means, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether Rupert Murdoch says he doesn’t think Barack Obama is a racist. If it walks like a duck…..

Or am I wrong? You tell me.

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Skip Gates Busted- At Home While Black?

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was busted last week in the comfort of his own home. As far as anyone can tell, the reason was because he wasn’t happy at being confronted by police after a neighbor reported a break-in.

skip gates mugshot

The break-in was Skip Gates trying to enter his own home.

skip.gates

Even more interesting, Gates was arrested for “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space”.

Okay. This happened in Cambridge, which last I checked was in the Boston area. If cops arrested every college kid who got “loud and tumultuous in a public space”, how many kids would be in jail?

Skip Gates was mad because he felt he was being profiled.

At issue here, beyond whether he identified himself to police (there are reports he did, and reports he didn’t), is the maddening sense that no matter how far you get in life, to some people you’re just another black m an. That, and whether expressing that emotion to a cop who at some point must have known he made a mistake constitutes a crime. There will be people, both black and white, who will argue that this incident is being blown out of proportion. Some will even bring up Barack Obama as proof Skip Gates is simply a malcontent with no beef here.

To all those who think there is no consequence to being black in America, I give you the case of Shem Walker.

This Brooklyn Army veteran was shot and killed by an undercover cop on July 11th. His crime? He confronted the cop, who was posing as a drug dealer, on the stoop of his mother’s house.

shem walker

Shem Walker had experienced problems before with people dealing on his mother’s stoop. He paid for his concern with his life. No one is alleging overt racism. The cop who killed him was also black. Yet for all the news about Skip Gates, Shem Walker generates no national headlines.

Some may make the case there’s no link between the two. Those of us who are black and have made it to a certain age know better. Law enforcement makes certain assumptions about black men. Not all do, but enough do that it’s a problem for those who live their lives within the law.  It may not be as pronounced as the days when Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Les Payne was stopped by cops a black from his Long Island home and told there’s no way he could actually live there.

But then, to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, it’s as if very little has changed. To the family of Shem Walker, you can change very little to nothing.

So you tell me. Was Henry Louis Gates racially profiled?

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