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Warren Ballentine Headshot

Can Blacks and a Few in the Media Change the Media?

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As a radio talk show host who speaks to millions of people every day for three hours, I really thought that I could get on the air and have a "real" conversation about race and media in the United States boy was I wrong. I now realize America is not ready for that conversation!
Race is the one thing that seems to be the great divide in this country. From a white point of view, there are few who can be honest in the media when dealing with race -- Bill Maher, Howard Stern, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Keith Olbermann to name a few. Although all of the above have different styles, all are honest when speaking of race to best of their abilities. All of the above have at some point on their shows stated that some white Americans have a problem with the POTUS because he is black, not because of his policies. All of the above have had the nerve to question race as a crutch for blacks in this country, which needs to be addressed but, what is rare about all of the above is that they try to understand the feelings of Black Americans. Now, do not get me wrong here, all of the above have said things about race that have left me wondering what the hell they were thinking. However, all are honest in the conversation to the best of their abilities.

As someone in the media, I still long for all of the above to question one other thing about race that no one has from the white media. Why are there no black opinionated shows on TV? All of the above will have or do have black guest on all the time, but you mean to tell me that none of them have wondered why there are no black opinionated talk shows? And therein lies the problem. When you have honest people who I feel are not afraid of race not asking that question, then what hope do we have with the millions who are not as honest about race? I often wonder: is it because when a black person is vocal they categorize us as "angry" yet people like glen beck can call the POTUS a racist and its OK?

From a black point of view, my biggest concern is the listener and the viewer. I often ask myself why we continue to accept all the nonsense that we do on the radio and on TV. We are the number one consumers in America yet we allow our children to be conditioned every day by the media. I recently watched an award show where children were in the audience and the rappers just cussed like the kids were grown! And the aftershow had a living legend in front of his 19 year old step son drinking vodka and pineapple juice.

When will we have accountability in our community? When will we target our spending power with people who care about our communities and our kids? When will we stop blaming the world and say if we come together the world will come to us? When will we teach our kids and each other that ball players and rappers are not heroes? When will stop looking for the bad and start enjoying the good in things?

We must change this stupid no snitch rule in our communities. We must call the cops on our kids who are on the corners selling dope. We must stop all these town halls and State of Black America meetings. And we must stop supporting these singers, actors, rappers, and athletes who don't do anything for us.

In the end if the white media that are trying to understand race never fight to help put a black opinionated person on TV, and if we as blacks don't use our spending power and be accountable we will continue to get conditioned by a media that only wants one thing from us: our money.