Think it’s racism? Do some research

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

A few weeks ago, we at Freedom New Mexico were afforded the opportunity to speak with Clovis native Jerry Large, who now works as a columnist for the Seattle Times.

Large spoke with us about journalism and his history in it, and it sounded like we could be the same person. We both got our starts in New Mexico, and we both have the opportunity to write columns about whatever piques our interest. The only difference is he’s a lot better than I am.

What I hate are commentators who make the people in mine and Large’s position look bad, who ignore facts that nullify their grandiose arguments.

I got this feeling a few weeks ago from syndicated columnist Walter Williams. Williams complained Hillary Clinton was talking down to black voters when she said, “I don’t feel no ways tired. I come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy. I don’t believe He brought me this far.”

Williams said it was akin to Clinton cozying up to Native Americans by saying, “Me come heap long way.” What he didn’t mention was that Clinton was quoting “I Don’t Feel Noways Tired,” by the late James Cleveland, who she credited in her speech.

Williams’ columns usually extol a message of success through intelligent discourse and respect. He avoided intelligent discourse by taking Clinton’s speech out of context, and didn’t respect readers enough to give them all the facts.

Williams isn’t the only one missing the boat on racism. Consider Glenn Beck, who hosts a syndicated radio show and a television show on CNN Headline News.

Beck lambasted Jesse Jackson for recent comments that presidential candidate Barack Obama was “acting like he’s white.”

I agree with Beck’s reaction that Jackson made “an unbelievably racist statement.” I only hope Glenn Beck will be just as harsh to … Glenn Beck.

You see, on Feb. 12, Beck referred to Obama on his radio program and said, “I thought to myself, he is — he’s very white in many ways.”

Maybe I’ll let those guys off the hook if they call out Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.

O’Reilly recently had dinner with Al Sharpton at a Harlem restaurant called Sylvia’s. O’Reilly said he, “couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, (with) primarily black patronship. … There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.’”

Maybe he was expecting the pizzeria featured in Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” … who knows? Though O’Reilly might not be a racist, it doesn’t help to be shocked that a restaurant full of black people would act like a restaurant full of white people.

As long as there are small-minded people, there will be racism. And those crying racism to score political points will always undercut those calling out racism in order to end it.

With a little research, it’s never hard to tell which one is which.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:
kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com