Businesses should hire whom they want to hire, without fear of being called “racist” or sued for lack of “diversity.” But I’m linking to this story on The Root by Charles D. Ellison to point out liberal hypocrisy. Since liberals are the ones usually hurling “lack of diversity” accusations, it’s a nice change to see others calling them out. For the record, diversity usually is code for black.
Black writers have been complaining that people like Ezra Klein (Vox Media) and Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight) haven’t hired blacks for their start-ups. Yesterday I linked to a story about Jesse Jackson’s plan to shakedown Silicon Valley and guilt-trip the techies into “diversity” hiring. (Just once I’d like to see an organization proactively push back against shaming tactics. ):
Yet entering this new exciting space of journalism is like Spike Lee’s cantankerous Do the Right Thing character Buggin’ Out walking into Sal’s Pizza Joint: There are no brothers or sisters on the wall. Despite the unavoidable hyper-diverse culturally driven world we live in, the clear message being put out is that it’s a marketplace where black thinkers, writers and editors need not apply.
Ellison points out that the leftist Think Progress doesn’t have an “editor of color.” And he calls Glenn Greenwald “insufferable.” He goes on to name other non-diverse entities. So, what’s the problem with dissatisfied black reporters and techies starting their own thing? Ellison writes (emphases added):
Thanks to the infinite digital galaxy, thought leaders and writers of color can simply circumvent racial foolishness and create their own space. We don’t have to ask them for a seat at the table anymore, right? And like Sal in Lee’s cinematic classic, “You get your own place, you can do what you want with it.” But, these are the sources we rely on as our daily information navigators. Plus: It’s not like black-run thought leadership is doing the same on that scale.
I have an idea. How about putting energy into a massive-movement push to those black-run leaders and organizations to do things on that scale? Wouldn’t it be more productive and satisfying to have your own thing rather than guilt-tripping Vox Media to hire blacks?
And even as the online space is infinite, black-owned commercial-news ventures are either too afraid or too vision-less to jump into creating similar Wonk-driven projects despite the abundance of talent. Others play it safe by spitting out routine rotations of trendy junk headlines and assume that black readers don’t have the appetite for or don’t understand a steady dose of polls, charts and infographics on major policy issues. No one wants to be the smart kid in class out of fear they’ll get jumped after school.
Even if you don’t agree with this article’s frame or premise, you can still find good stuff (if you suppress the instinct to point out double standards), like the paragraph above. Risk-taking is what built this country. Stepping up to the precipice and taking a leap of faith invigorates the spirit.
Update: A comment on the article:
When white conservatives saw little representation in mainstream journalism, they provided a market that made the few exceptions hugely successful (Fox News, talk radio). We need a huge black audience to make the few black voices in journalism equally successful.
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