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RF Feature: A Black Man and a White Man Share Views about Racism

love_music__hate_racism_by_knotyknoh-d3h3ekcThis past week, I sent out an email blast and one of the titles read: “Great News Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dumped by Cumulus…” One of our readers who so happens to be a successful businessman in the industry contacted me immediately. His response caught me off guard. I’m so used to people in urban radio being terrified to respond to anything in an effort to stay off the corporate radar. But this was even more surprising, This was a successful white guy who began an exchange with me about why I didn’t care for Rush or Sean, I surmised that he would shut down once I brought up the issue of be he surprised me and proceeded to make his point. Things never got heated and I was grateful for the exchange because it is the first time I have ever had an actual conversation with a white person about race where they didn’t shut down. As stated, his first question after reading the title about Rush and Hannity being fired was “Why is that good news?”…

kevRoss: For the people who don’t either one of them, it’s great news. 

White Guy: Based on their ratings and the money they bring in, it’s fairly obvious that they appeal to a lot of people. The number of people who “don’t like them” is pretty small. While you may be among them, it doesn’t make sense to me to wrap “news headlines” with your own personal feelings. If you cheer about shutting down anyone who simply exercises their freedom of speech, think about how you’d feel if it was your voice being silenced.

KR: I’m black a lot more than my voice has been silenced. Now you are probably rolling your eyes up in your head. I understand that you may not know what racism is and I get that, if you have never experienced it it’s hard to imagine it. I wish people like you could be Black for one year just to get a clear picture of what it’s like, the opposition we face and the discrimination that we come across. Then you will see we don’t complain… ENOUGH. Rush is an angry white guy who wants to see HIS country continue to be controlled by people like him. This is why he hates President Obama so much. BTW, there are a LOT of people that dislike him I would venture to say as many as there are that like him. He CONSTANTLY wraps his “headlines” with disdain for others (especially minorities and people who are not Republicans or conservatives) everyday. There is a difference between free speech and Hate speech. Ask Sandra Fluke.

WG: I think you’re very wrong about Rush and Republicans in general. Rush doesn’t dislike the President. He dislikes his policies. So do I. That has absolutely nothing to do with race, except I don’t approve of the way President Obama uses race to divide our country. That is really racist.

KR: And here is where the problem lies. the way Rush, Beck, Republicans in the house, the Tea Party and Conservatives treated president Obama during his first term was a absolute disgrace. It was extreme racism … It was about HIM first THEN his (click “Next” above or below to see more)policies. This country was divided WAY before President Obama took office… Are you denying that racism exists?

cambodia-southeast-asia-summit.jpeg5-1280x960WG: Racism is back. We almost got rid of it. But it’s just too useful for stirring up emotions. Those who do this aren’t racist.  They’re just power hungry. Racial tension is a source of power these days. You’re right that the criticism of President Obama started almost immediately after he won the first election. I didn’t see that as racist, however, any more than the hatred of George W Bush that began immediately after his first election was racist. It was about radically different views, not different skin color. Might I suggest that you’re seeing racism because you’re expecting to find it, looking for it, being told that its there, or some combination of the three. I would enjoy digging into the issues with you in an honest and unemotional attempt to find common ground. I suspect that on the vast majority of issues we are very close together. You might try listening to an entire Rush show and see if you can find any actual examples of racism. I’ll bet you can’t. I can’t. That is, unless you automatically equate disagreement between a white and black man as being somehow racist. I don’t. I’m above that crap.

KR: I think we would be hard-pressed to find many people who would say Bush was a great president. If you get a chance please read The Dark Side by Jane Mayer. It offers a great perspective into Bush’s administration and how he repeatedly made (or didn’t make) decisions that cost millions of dollars and thousands of lives. President Obama came into office with a HUGE mess to clean up and people like Rush didn’t even give him a chance. Obama was destined to spend his entire first term and part of his second cleaning up the HUGE mess Bush left behind and people like Rush, Bill O’Reilly and Beck were very critical of his every move and were consistently making a concerted effort for Obama to fail and not to get a second term. In addition, they were using it as a way to drive bigger audiences to their shows and it was completely unfair. I don’t
rfocus.orgthink Racism is back I don’t think it ever left and I don’t think we will ever get rid of it because it’s so engrained in American culture even foreigners admit they see it when they come here too. Our jail system is a great example. It has an (click “Next” above or below to see more)extreme disproportionate number of blacks (men especially) in jail which exploded with Reagan’s “War on Drugs.” They were two people completely disconnected from poverty and the black community and used it for political gain. That was a horrible policy because there was never a war on drugs there was a war on the black people who used them and our prison system verifies that. People on drugs are not criminals, they’re addicts.

I never “look” for racism trust me, I try to avoid it at all costs and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I was in shock for YEARS that President Obama even won the first election but I also realized 50% of the country, both times, did NOT vote for him and they were pissed off and they let it be known (Tea Party, Republicans, Conservatives, Talk show hosts). I’ve been working in the industry for almost 30 years and I will tell you, racism is everywhere whether you look for it or not. I have to give you a lot of credit and say we do have something in common just by you having a conversation about it. In my experience, most white people shut down when a black person brings up racism and they don’t want to talk about it. That is probably why we have such discourse when it comes to racism. Perhaps it finally time to confront it head on.

Rush_limbaughFinally, in all fairness, I have askedRFFocus readers as well as the people on my FaceBook page how can we be so concerned about Trayvon Martin when all hell is breaking loose in the black community everyday. Ironically, many black people shut down when this question is asked. There are problems on both sides which is mostly a lack of understanding, if we never have dialogue we will never understand. I honestly can’t listen to Rush, him and O’Reilly remind me of each other with there sarcastic know-it-all feigned candor which comes off as very arrogant and authoritative. As if to say, I’m right and there is no debating the issue. Racism is not saying “I hate blacks” racism is preventing blacks from working or growing (how many blacks work for Rush or O’Reilly?) or what Bill O’Reilly did when he described why black men are unsuccessful recently which Don Lemon is taking insurmountable heat for when he agreed with him. The bottom line is we cannot be an “authority” on another race or culture if we are not a part of that race or culture but we know when we are being mistreated. Slavery is this country’s Scarlett Letter and history has a strange way of repeating itself. We must be able to walk a mile in that person’s shoes in order to describe their struggles. All the conservative talk hosts act as if they are authorities on other cultures and there assessments are always negative and it’s not balanced or fair the rest of the race or culture. Rush has probably never stepped foot into a black community unless it was for to promote his show in some way and he never will. Finally I was reading that Bill O’Reilly had dinner at a black function recently and admitted he was surprised at how the black people were enjoying dinner and having great conversation. What an asshole, did he expect them to be throwing up gang signs and twerking? It is frightening that someone like this is on a major network spreading vitriol about people he doesn’t even know?

WG: This is a lot to digest, Kev, but I knew we were very close on many issues.  I never said Bush was a good President.  But a lot of hateful things were being said about him by half the country the moment he won the election. It all started with the close call in Florida. It took years for some to accept the fact that Bush actually did win Florida, and some still haven’t received that memo.  Obama did come into office with a huge mess to clean up. Unfortunately, in my opinion, he made the mess even worse.

It’s a well established fact that Obama is Liberal, leaning Socialist and even Communist, thanks in part to (click “Next” above or below to see more)the friends he hung out with in Chicago. Rush Limbaugh is a solid Conservative, thanks in part to the influence of his father. It’s no shock that these two would not agree on many issues.  What’s wrong with BOTH men is that they are very partisan and stubbornly cling to their beliefs, even when the evidence clearly shows that they’re wrong.  This makes both of them very polarizing.  Instead of looking for common ground and bringing people together to solve problems, they both love to blame the other side and drive people apart.  Obama is a Liberal version of Rush.  Both are great speakers who have the talent to command an audience and be very persuasive. Hitler could do that very well too.

Let’s put the racism thing aside, if we can. We could hurl talking points at each other all day and that would never help us find common ground. It’s quite possible that some racism, on both sides, is justified. I didn’t say it was acceptable or correct!  I’m a student of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. who believes we should judge men by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. When I heard President Obama talk about how he experienced racism as a kid, it made me think about my own past.  I grew up in the inner city of Cleveland. My neighborhood was more black and Hispanic than white, but about equally divided among the three. Whites were moving out, so now my old neighborhood is nearly 100% black. My house is gone, as are many of the neighboring houses. That part of Cleveland looks like a country that just lost a terrible war. It makes me sick. But I digress. The President talked about women clutching their purse and car doors locking when a black guy was walking nearby. Yes, that happens. But I don’t think that happens because the guy is black. It’s not about race. It’s about protecting yourself from crime. The FACT is that way too many black men and boys are criminals. It’s not racist to say that because it’s true. More than HALF the people shot and killed in America are black men, killed by other black men. This is way out of proportion since America is only about 16 percent black.  Why are blacks killing blacks? Certainly racism has nothing to do with that statistic. I think it has more to do with the fact that the majority of people who have falling into the dependency class are black. Being dependent on the government means living in poverty. Poverty leads to crime, including drugs and prostitution, which leads to even more violent crime. People want what they can’t have, and desperate people will often take what they want by force. The jails have a disproportionate number of black inmates for exactly the same reason. Black people commit more crime, so more of them end up in prison. Actually, if you really dig into the statistics, there should be even more of them in jail. Our jails are now so overcrowded that we can no longer keep all the criminals in them. There’s no room!  Judges now put repeat offenders, often violent offenders, back on the street where they are free to rob or kill again. All of this makes me sick. I’d give anything to turn this around. Where I grew up, about half my friends were black kids. Too many of them ended up in jail or dead. I was lucky to escape. A lot of my white friends ended up the same way, and most of the others ended up living in eternal poverty on disability or welfare. You just can’t escape the ghetto very easily. I got lucky and somehow managed to get out. But I’m a rare case.

Prison-LifeI want to see everyone lifted out of dependency and despair, regardless of their color. I think the black leaders, especially President Obama, should be doing a lot more to get this done. But the Liberal policies of the President just keep dumping more and more money into entitlement programs, and those programs are keeping poor people poor. They’re doing nothing to pull people out of poverty. They don’t put people to work. The old saying that if you give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime, is accurate. We’re giving away fish when we should be teaching. But giving away those free fish is a great way to buy votes, and the entitlement money that comes from hundreds of government programs is more addictive than those street drugs. If I could be elected King, I’d shut down all the entitlement programs over time and gradually transition us from dependency to self reliance. People feel better about themselves when they accomplish something. You get there by working.  For most men, their work is a really big part of their life. It defines who they are. Men who do not work can’t have self esteem. When those men bring children into the world, then abandon them with their mother who depends on welfare, those children are at a serious disadvantage. It makes it so much harder for them to escape from poverty that most of them simply can’t do it. They end up becoming the next generation of criminal men who bring fatherless children into the ghetto.  This terrible cycle has to stop.

It won’t stop with one political party blaming another political party for everything that’s going wrong. We need to turn to the mirror and start pointing the finger of blame at ourselves. We created this mess, and we can clean it up. We have to start by turning away from politicians who use race and class hatred to keep themselves in power. We need to elect people who are intelligent, honest, and color blind. They need to come to office to fix problems, not to fix blame.

I think you need to reconsider racism in America, especially among white people. If white America were truly racist, Barack Obama could not have become President. There simply aren’t enough black people in America to elect him by themselves. A LOT of white people, myself included, cast their vote for him. They were all cheering on Election Day, and again on Inauguration Day.  I’m disappointed that he’s using the power we gave him to continue campaigning for Democrat candidates rather than using it to solve some real problems. But I don’t really blame him. I think his lack of real world experience is showing. He’s never run a business. He’s never worked in the private sector. He’s been surrounded his whole life by people who cling to an economic philosophy that’s failed every time it’s been tried.  We can’t grow our economy by expanding government. We have to grow the economy by producing and selling more stuff. That puts more people to work. It’s the key to getting jobs back here in America, and getting people of all colors out of poverty and into jobs. It grows the tax base, allowing us to improve our schools, infrastructure, and raise the standard of living for everyone.

We need to attack inequality of opportunity while we learn to accept inequality of outcome. Not all people are able to contribute in the same way. Those who work harder should be rewarded, while those who are lazy should suffer.  Nobody who is truly sick or in need should be abandoned by society. We’re all living in the same village, and we need to take care of our brothers and sisters.  But taking care of someone who is lazy doesn’t mean feeding them. That’s known as enabling. It means educating them and helping them find a job.

I think the Trayvon Martin incident was mainly a misunderstanding.  Trayvon thought George was stalking him, and George thought Trayvon was out to cause trouble. They were both conditioned to be suspicious of strangers wandering around the neighborhood at night. That comes from the high crime rate problem we have in urban areas today.  George was wrong to get out of his car though, so he had the best chance to avoid trouble. He didn’t need to play cop.  Once he made that bad decision, however, I think the conflict was inevitable. If Trayvon would have been the one with the gun, George might have been killed instead. It just didn’t work out that way this time. But we blew that case way out of proportion in the media. We tried to turn that into an example of extreme racism in American, and I’m sorry to say that most of that was done on purpose, by Liberals, for political purposes. As I said, pitting black against white, rich against poor, or any group against another is a great way to charge people up with emotion and turn them into supporters of the guys who claim they’re out to prevent things like that from happening again.  Of course, when the politicians say they’re out to stop this stuff, they’re lying. Since they use these incidents to derive and hold onto power, they really don’t want them to stop.

By the way, i happen to know that Rush does have a black producer and quite a few black people on his staff. He also has many black friends who are quite Conservative. I really don’t think he’s racist. He’s just a radio guy who knows how to energize and captivate an audience, just like President Obama does. For both of them, it’s more about money and power than it is about race.

…..

This last statement was most interesting. I have my response to it but I’d like our readers from all races to respond. Is he right? (click the comment link below this or go to the bottom of the page).


Pennies from Kevin Podcast"

3 COMMENTS

  1. This should be titled “Conversation with a Blind Self-Righteous White Guy from the Inner City of Cleveland” Wow! Where to begin… What a condescending guy. On racism he suggests we only see in what President Obama has confronted as racism because we are “being told” it is there. Wow–so we Blacks are in need of being led are we? Referencing the George Bush so called victory in Florida he calls that stolen election a “close call in Florida” as he simultaneously is blind in looking past the follow up next stolen Presidential election where in Ohio a black operative (Ken Blackwell in white guy’s home state and I might add mine too) again gave a tainted victory to Bush. We know he would never own up to that or the two follow up Presidential elections where potential Black and Brown voters were intimidated from voting at all. The this open mind individual then posits that it is a “well established fact that Obama is a liberal leaning socialist and even Communist.”

    He calls “some” racism “justified” as he is loose with facts, statistics and reality on who is criminalized in America. This white guy from the inner city of Cleveland didn’t mention if he grew up on the Eastside or Westside of Cleveland–matter of fact have him name the street he lived on. I might know him…as I lived around Hough, Cedar, St Clair, Wade Park, Superior, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Beachwood during multiple stints in my hometown he was perhaps really “lucky to escape” in calling himself some kind of “rare case”.

    Let’s stop calling him white guy–instead let’s call him the 2013 version of Mr. 47%. He suggests that if he could be “elected king”–Kevin who is this guy. Name names. He attributes to Obama and I am sure perhaps you and I both a lack of “real world experience” so much so as referenced earlier we must be “led”.

    Lastly, he wants to be the “decider” ( a George Bush term) of who should “suffer.” Calling the Zimmerman murder of Trayvon Martin merely a “misunderstanding”.

    • I told him I would not reveal who he was because I was blown away that he even responded. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have this kind of dialogue with a white man because it has been so incredibly rare that white men address the issue. This is what makes Rush Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly such big stars. They say the things a lot of white people want to say but don’t. In my experience when it comes to race. The first time it’s brought up, its the end of the conversation because white people usually shut down. Now I have a better understanding as to why. I don’t agree with a lot of what he said and I think to truly understand racism you have to walk a mile in the victim’s shoes but it appears that the greatest problem is that those who are not the victims will always fail to understand what it’s like to be on the other end of it.

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