Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Disrespected, Undervalued, & Marginalized

When I started writing this blog some months ago, I made a conscious decision not to dwell on one subject, and not to reiterate the same narrative. But as time goes on, I realize that there are certain "threads" in our society that are unending.
The blatant culture of disrespect when it comes to African-Americans is definitely one of them. It always has been and always will be a bone of contention with me. The fact is, no matter who you are, or how much you've achieved, there is always some one out there who sees you as less than, because of the color of your skin. So in their minds you are worthy of disrespect, inconsideration, and being under valued. Sometimes even by other African-Americans who have issues with their own self esteem. But that is another topic for another time.
The latest victims of disregard, disrespect, and disdain are former CNN reporter, Roland Martin, and former radio personality, Michael Baisden.

Back in January Roland Martin found himself embroiled in controversy due to messages that he tweeted during the Super Bowl that were perceived as anti-gay. Shortly after Calvin Klein commercial aired aired featuring David Beckham in skimpy underwear Martin tweeted,
"People should "smack the ish" out of any male fans of David Beckham's underwear commercial". Earlier in the evening, Martin made fun of a football player who arrived at the big game wearing pink.
Many of his Twitter followers immediately criticized him for posting tweets that promoted violence against the LGBT "community". Critics and activist groups, including the radical gay rights group GLAAD, called for CNN to suspend or fire him. It seems to me that GLAAD is a hammer that sees every non-gay individual as a nail. For an organization which prides itself on tolerance, it definitely lacks the ability to exercise any itself. This kind of knit picking makes them seem hypersensitive, petty, and small.

Martin who is known for his sharp, and witty commentary has been a CNN correspondent since 2007. CNN suspended him immediately after the uproar.

On Monday, Martin apologized for his messages and maintained that he was joking about soccer. He said he meant no harm and apologized for any 'offense' he may have caused. Two days later, CNN suspended Martin indefinitely, stating that his tweets were "regrettable and offensive." During his suspension, Martin met with leaders of GLAAD. The organization issued a statement stating that the meeting signified the "beginning of an open and honest dialogue."

An open and honest dialogue about want? The fact that anyone who offends the gay "community" must be prepared to kiss the ring of whoever is in charge in order to make a mends.

The ironic thing is the fact that the controversy over Martin's comments is much ado about nothing. Because he said absolutely NOTHING wrong. Other media personalities like Howard Stern, and Rush Limbaugh have said far worse, and were not only allowed to keep their jobs but have gone in to make hundreds of millions of dollars. Rolland Martin is nothing more than a victim of selective rage, and racism.

Over the last decade, Michael Baisden's nationally syndicated radio show has become one of the most popular in the country. His social, and political commentary is always inspiring, and informative, and Baisden has not only championed justice, but he has helped others get justice.

Last Thursday when Baisden and his staff arrived at work, they were locked out of the studio, and were not even allowed to retrieve their personal items. Michael Baisden has been listened to by over 7 million people, his Facebook page has a whopping 695,994 likes yet he will be off the air permanently on Friday March 29th.

It has been widely reported that there have been problems between Baisden and Cumulus Media (The company that has syndicated the show) for some time now. Cumulus Media, Inc. is the second largest owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations in the United States, behind Clear Channel Communications, operating 570 stations in 150 markets as of September 16, 2011. The current CEO is Lew Dickey and revenue listed for 2007 was $243,922,000.

According to Baisden the abrupt separation is due to a failure to come to a contractual agreement. On Monday, January 7, 2013, he posted a letter to his fans on Facebook stating that,
"there seems to be a disturbing trend in urban radio to opt to give the Black community less information about what's going on in our community, even when my program is competitive, and in some cases winning in its time slot."

I have never heard of a company that did not want to make a profit, so I am puzzled as to why Cumulus Media chose to forgo any further broadcast's of The Michael Baisden Show. Maybe Michael has a point, maybe there is a concerted effort to keep the Black community uninformed, under educated, and in the dark. Maybe it is a conspiracy theory that is far more conspiracy and much less theory.


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