Monday, June 28, 2021

Racial Prejudice In Its Ranks

In a different context, on Sunday night John Oliver (here at 1:15) quoted his wise, albeit probably mythical, barber as remarking  "we can't change history, we can only prevent it from happening again."

Unfortunately, MSNBC will heed the first point and ignore the second. Breitbart reports that on Saturday morning

“Bill Maher, you do not get to tell people of color what they should or should not be offended by. Stay in your lane, slim,” (Tiffany) Cross stated. “Maybe instead of trying to invoke sympathy for Sharon Osbourne or making sure Tomi Lahren has a space to souse her BS, you should have more diverse panels of people who can explain colorism to you and systemic racism and how these things still devastate people’s lives and livelihoods today. Try that instead of standing on your alabaster perch every week to crap on other people’s lived experience while providing a safe haven for well-established white supremacists because I’ve got to tell you — this old angry white man act is so played.”

“The country, like it or not, is changing in real-time. And sadly, ‘Fake Time with Bill Maher’ is not,” she added.

(Below, these "well-established white racists" the evening before the commentary above.)

Give Tiffany Cross, host of "Cross Connection" on MSNBC, a point for the clever renaming of "Real Time with Bill Maher." Take ten away from her for racial bias, and not of the subtle variety.

Maher certainly could book African-Americans on his  show, albeit not immediately because it is on hiatus for five weeks.  It might blunt the invective from Cross and cronies if it were black faces explaining why she is plainly wrong. He could, for example, interview Adolph Reed or John McWhorter. (Oh wait, he has.)

It's unlikely, though, that they'll even know what "colorism" is. It sounds like the individual is validated by the color of her skin, but it probably means whatever Cross wants it to mean at whatever time. Bigots are like that.

Similarly, the reference to "a safe haven for well-established white supremacists" is odd- nay, ignorant- because Real Time is consistently bereft of white supremacists. Maher clearly prefers the company of moderates and liberals, all the more so to emphasize that there are people on the left dedicated to democratic values and opposed to bigotry of the right or left.

It shouldn't be necessary to tell anyone not on the far right that credibility should not be measured by color of the skin heredity has assigned. Alas, "stay in your lane" Cross needs to be told. 

Cross intends some issues to be off-limits to whites. By the same principle, comment on others could be reserved for whites. This would include the stock market, given that whites are more invested in the stock market than are blacks. This framework would be bad for open debate and democracy itself but would create a  bear market for apartheid. It's unlikely that would deter cross.

Perhaps one of Cross' colleagues on MSNBC can remind her that viewers include individuals who are white, old, and male. Stereotyping such a person as an "old, angry, white male" strikes a discordant note on the airwaves of a cable news network continually asserting its commitment to diversity. Nevertheless, this probably is of no concern to MSNBC, which clearly is trending toward women, blacks and Latinos, and gays.   

Given the increasing polarization of politics on the basis of ethnicity (and education), this is probably wise marketing. Still, a legitimate cable news network should not be unaware of bigotry in its own ranks.  

A consistent application of cancel culture would prompt the firing of Cross. However, that is a toxic culture, one with which the host appears to be too comfortable.  Nonetheless, a network appalled by racial bias on the left must not (though it will) let this moment pass unnoticed. Consistent with the values it claims to espouse, MSNBC could issue a statement with a reference, merely vague if necessary, to the comment of Saturday morning and add

We decry bigotry in all its forms, especially in a month in which our organization has celebrated the diversity represented by individuals given the opportunity to love and marry anyone of their choice.  We welcome their voices and voices of all Americans, and those who have come to our shores seeking to be Americans, whatever their religion, gender, or national origin.

That would the values of MSNBC claims, or once claimed, for itself.  The network's silence will indicate that the second part of the recommended statement is no longer operable.


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