by Dr Boyce Watkins
I was really saddened to see the resignation of Donna Brazile from CNN earlier this week. Her departure appeared to be related to pressure coming off the release of debate questions that Brazile allegedly sent to Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podeste. According to various sources, Wikileakes revealed the emails to the public, which have served to stain the reputations of Brazile, CNN, Hillary Clinton and the entire Democratic Party itself.
I don’t know Donna directly, but I know a lot of people who know her. The one thing that always stood out when people mentioned Donna is that she is as sweet and honorable in person as she on television. I would trust her to babysit my own children. But this incident might also show that even good people can be caught doing bad things, and I am sure Donna has many regrets.
Brazile’s debacle sparked a few thoughts that came to mind as we walk into one of the most ridiculous and embarrassing presidential elections in recent American history.
1) The Democratic Party is crooked: Yes, the Republicans are crooked too, but they aren’t the ones under the spotlight. Instead, the Republicans simply look too incompetent to nominate a quality candidate, while the Democrats appear to be as dirty as the Drug Enforcement wing of the LAPD. The release of private information from the Democratic National Committee has not only revealed debate cheating, but a series of other serious and simply humiliating indiscretions that would get nearly any of us fired from our jobs. I don’t trust this party as far as I can throw them, and if they are screwing over other white people, then you already KNOW black people are going to be at the back of the bus.
2) Television Networks will spit you out in a second, especially if you’re black: I watched the insanely untimely and sudden dismissal of Marc Lamont Hill from Fox News a few years ago over his support of Assata Shakur. I saw Roland Martin get bullied out the door of CNN after his fight with the LGBT community. We also saw Melissa Harris-Perry lead a parade of exits of black faces at MSNBC after the network no longer found black people to be useful (Yvette Carnell calls them “Negro Whisperers,” which I think is hilarious). Even I spent a year in exile from CNN after being banned after my public fight with Bill O’Reilly several years ago.
The fact is that none of these networks really want black people around anyway. But like the homeless orphan that nobody loves, we keep begging these people to let us into their institutions instead of pooling our resources and developing outlets of our own. Our greatest hope for intelligent black news and commentary might be TV-One and the lawsuit that Byron Allen has filed against the Obama Administration for allowing Comcast to pretend that black people don’t exist.
One consistent theme in the stories of Martin, Hill and Harris-Perry is that all three of these individuals retreated to urban or African American spaces, where their views are more readily accepted and won’t subject them to unfair persecution. The bigger question that should be asked is, “Why did you feel the need to mess with those bigots in the first place?”
3) Beware of digital footprints. They tend to last forever: I have one rule when it comes to sharing private or personal thoughts on digital media – If I am not prepared to defend my words on CNN, then I won’t put them in an email, a blog post a facebook status update, a text, a youtube video, a vine, an instagram post, or a tweet. Wikileakes is teaching the public a valuable lesson: Nothing digital is permanently private, and anything can be released to the entire world……FOREVER. So, without being judgmental of Donna Brazile (whom I still love) or any other victims of Wikileake’s peculiar crusade, I only want to remind young people to be careful about the booty shots on Instagram or the text message you sent to your ex-boyfriend saying that your cousin Pookie could make him disappear. Maybe next time, you should just tell him over the phone.
Let’s be real: Most black people can tell a thousand stories about being kicked out of white companies for doing the same thing that a white guy got away with last week. But the bottom line is that these are not our companies, and that is not our community. The only way I was able to feel safe and secure from the tyranny of racist institutions was when I built a space of my own. Now, even when I call Bill O’Reilly an asshole, tell how that the Democratic Party is racist or tell the truth about racism in America, I don’t have to worry about some white guy tapping me on the shoulder and sending me on my way.
Freedom is absolutely priceless.