Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A page from the story that is my life...

Today I had the unfortunate experience of being a guest on the "Wylie Coyote Show" here in Big City Wanna Be. I call it that because it is a play on the radio show hosts name, and her audience is like a pack of wild coyote's.

Background: I turned some of my random thoughts into a rather long piece on the Michael Vick case and sent it the daily newspaper for publication. They asked me, at the end of 2006, to consider being a regular contributing commentator but I declined for the time being. Now, I felt up to the task of the additional writing that it would require. And also, I had to prepare for the potential added attention I may experience.

My article ran on Saturday and by Monday I got a call from Ms. Coyote to be on her show. I have declined her invitation each time I've been invited this year, because her audience does not stay on topic and they accuse every Black person who comes on the radio of "playing the race card." I decided to begin writing a few pieces for the daily to promote our newspaper and radio show and since exposure was the goal I accepted the invitation to do the show.

Some people crave the spotlight, and I admit I did too for a while in my life. I now prefer for my words to be in print so that people can reread them for clarity and any misinterpretation of my words can be blamed on the reader and not my sometimes blunt delivery.

Several listeners (all "sounded" white) took this opportunity to:
1. Accuse me of calling another talk show host a racist.
2. Tell me I was a racist for having a "Black" newspaper.
3. Tell me Black need to clean out their own backyard before calling others racist because we have Black colleges, Miss Black America and BET so are racists too.
4. Tell me that they were just waiting for someone to say that Vick was a victim of racism. Because "you people" always revert to that when you are caught with your hands in the cookie jar.
5. Agree that Vick should get his job back in the NFL (which was my real point in the article) but people like me make him sick always talking about race.
6. Call in to say that he had a comment but was so angry at me he couldn't get his thoughts together.

But 3 brothers (of course one being my Supa Dupa Fly Husband) and 1 white man called to defend my position.
1. The first caller gave several examples through the years of Black athletes who have been paid less that white counterparts helping to prove my belief that there is an underlying racist belief that Blacks aren't deserving of wealth. (I didn't say overwhelming belief, I said underlying)
2. The second caller compared the treatment of Barry Bonds to that of Roger Clemens. Why is a Black man accused of steroid use for hitting home runs but the white pitcher isn't?
3. The white man said that there are too many instances where judges and government has had to step in and change laws that were unfair toward Blacks for us to simply dismiss any claims of racism in this or any other case. He mentioned the crack v. cocaine sentencing and driving while Black as instances where it didn't seem racist initially, but further evaluation proved it.
4. Lastly, one brother called after I left and said he didn't know why I even came on the show knowing how her audience is. He said he only listens so he can hear what her listeners are really saying behind closed doors.

I had to go take some nerve pills and sit down with baby girl and work a puzzle with her to calm down.

When I returned to the office though, a 70 year old Black business owner called me. She told me that I made her proud by standing my ground against those callers and that that's how we 'used to be'. We always had the back of one another and my defense of Vick's rights was the right thing to do. I never said he wasn't guilty but I didn't let people kick him while he's down. She said what she read in the paper was not at all they way they tried to spin it on the radio.

That's why I do what I do. I am a defender of truth and I'm for the rise of Black people. Some see my Black pride as hatred for non-Blacks, but that's their issue to deal with. That one call from my elder reminded me that God groomed me for this work and this was just another day at the office.

p.s. I'm going to write something on the train wreck that we call "talk radio".


Heart Drops said...

dang. that was very brave of you to stand your ground. Your husband rocks!

African girl, American world said...

A friend told me she got a call from her ex husband PRAISING you about standing your ground on the show.
She listened on Sunday and told her friends about the show. Now they're listening...when she said the show this morning, I KNEW it had to be THAT show.

You ain't scared and they know it!!!

I hope you are proud of YOU because black folk in this town are :)

Bridgette Alyce said...

Oooh, my sister... "...reminded me that God groomed me for this work and this was just another day at the office." Say that!

Looking forward to reading about that train wreck...

Keep doing what you know you must!

Sister P said...

@HeartDrops-I couldn't do this without him. He says I'm fearless but he is the one. I'm only brave b/c God sent him to have my back. Glad to see you again!

@African Girl- I am proud of myself/us, but it's good to hear that people are speaking well of what we do. Thanks for telling me that story 'cause I always need it, especially after a few throat chops and gut punches!

@Bridgette- One of my favorite songs as a child was by James Cleveland (I was a church nerd) and said this, "nobody told me that the road would be easy, but I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me". Get on that next book girl!

Lord Hannibal said...

THAT'S what's up. I think some white people believe that if they bark loudly enough, we'll turn tail AND take our eye off of the ball. The red herrings about cookie jars and such ... please. White people need to be honest and admit that racism is this country's defining issue, more than class and more than religion.

I like what you've done with the place. I'll be back.

Brother OMi said...

its funny because all of those white folks who called the show played the "race card..."

too funny. ain't it?

sometimes we have to go to the den of the lions to defend ourselves.


i been on talk radio before. not an easy thing.

Sister P said...

@LH and Bro. Omi- It's tough to go through stuff like this day in and day out with the "masses" of whites in the area as an activist writer but then turn around as a business person and do mid-level deals (tens of thousands)with some whites who respect what you're doing and want to show support. I'm striving to keep my mind disciplined so I don't fall into to the trap of prejudging them all. It's tough man. Thanks for the support and shouts. Peace!