Tuesday, March 29, 2005

KeShawn's observations on the lack of coverage of the Ohio hearing last week

KeShawn: As I searched the net last week for news on the Congressional hearing in Ohio I notice a lot of things.

Of course I notice how there's pretty much nothing on it at all. The things that were highlighted here have been pretty much all I can find. I'll praise Jude [Iddybud] and Ron [Why Are We Back In Iraq?] but I e-mailed a lot of bloggers about this issue begging that it be mentioned and the return on this was nothing but silence.

Correction, not silence because the chatty Cathys haven't been silent. They've had tons to say. About the same topic everyone else talks about.

After awhile I start to wonder is it that people feel we need to "let go" of election 2004? If so, that's short sighted and blind.

But maybe it's a little more maybe it has to do with not being color blind?

Stephanie Tubbs-Jones is African-American. Black. And maybe in the white-white blog universe, when you're not white, it's easy to ignore you?

Is that sounding harsh?

Good cause I mean it to. I'm using my right as a member of this community to call out every blogger and radio show host and TV personality who couldn't be bothered to discuss what happened last week.

I know in the blog world it was all Barbara Boxer, all the time back in January. I know Stephanie Tubbs-Jones got little credit. Boxer credited her but one blog entry after another focused on Boxer.

On December 8, 2004, Tubbs-Jones was
on this issue.

"Today you will hear from voters and election day observers who will provide testimonies of confused and overwhelmed Poll workers, individuals waiting in the pouring rain for hours and hours as well instances of voting machine failures. Even with a diligent preparation effort, the infrastructure of the Board of Elections was stretched to capacity and beyond. The nexus between inadequate Poll worker training and an alarmingly high Provisional ballot rejection rate of 34% overall and as high as 51% in the City of Cleveland warrants careful study. To probe these and other data related questions I commend the work of the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition as being both reliable and truly independent. "The flurry of lawsuits in the months and days leading up to, including, and following Election Day have all of us - voters and election officials alike - living in a kind of purple haze reality. Election related cases focused on: the distribution and access to Provisional ballots, the role of Poll challengers, the paper weight of the voter registration form, the responsibility to inform ex-offenders of their right to vote and now the Recount cases.
"The appropriateness and even the legality of individuals simultaneously holding top policy and political positions must also be the subject of serious review. Secretary of State and chief elections officer, Kenneth Blackwell also served as Ohio’s Co-Chair for the re-election of the Bush Cheney ticket. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Chair, Robert Bennett is also the Chair of the Ohio Republican Party. The real and perceived conflicts in these policy and the political roles became more and more obvious during the run-up to the Presidential election. So much so, that the day before the Election the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor issued a ruling that forbade Mr. Bennett form holding both positions. Undeterred, Mr. Bennett continues to serve in the two roles.

She didn't wait until January to make her voice heard. But she was
there in January.

"I, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a representative from Ohio, and Ms. Boxer, a Senator from California, object to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given.
"I, thank God, that I have a Senator joining me in this objection. I appreciate Senator Boxer's willingness to listen to the plight of hundreds and even thousands of Ohio voters that for a variety of reasons were denied the right to vote. Unfortunately objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate avenue to bring these issues to light.
"While some have called our cause foolish I can assure you that my parents, Mary and Andrew Tubbs did not raise any fools and as a lawyer, former judge and prosecutor, I am duty bound to follow the law and apply the law to the facts as I find them.
"It is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value our democratic process and the right to vote that I put forth this objection today. If they are willing stand at the polls for countless hours in the rain as many did in Ohio, then I can surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress.

She was fighting then and she was fighting last Monday in Ohio.

But few cared or bothered to even mention it. I got an e-mail from one guy saying that nothing would come of it and he had "more important things to cover." Well good for you jerk off because I guess it would have been a great loss to the nation, to the world, if we hadn't had your voice chanting about Terry Schiavo with about a thousand others? Yeah buddy, we really needed you repeating the same thing everybody else said.

In Ohio, a brave woman, a warrior for the people, was taking a stand. But as long as you had "more important things to do" somehow it's okay that you ignored her? You think that qualifies as keeping it real?

If you really believed nothing would come of it, wasn't it all the more important for you to support her when she's supported the voting rights of all?

Doesn't that count for anything?

Or does her skin color cancel out her actions?

I'm pissed off and so angry that when an African-American fights and keeps fighting, she gets ignored so the blog world can dog pile on one story.

She was fighting for you, she was fighting for me. She didn't have to be there. She had better things to do. If you think the damn hearing was going to be a white wash, don't you think she probably felt that too? Don't you think she might be a little more in the know since she's sitting in the Congress?

But she got her righteous self on down to the hearing. She kept fighting.

She didn't abandon us, we abandoned her. Kicked her to the side of the road without so much as a "good game."

Don't tell me this wasn't about skin color because I won't believe your words when your actions running up and down the court were all about passing to the teammates who looked just like you and ignoring the ones who didn't.

It's a white-white world and I'm starting to wonder if the blog world ain't the exact same as the mainstream and if the only people who matter enough for a dog pile story are the ones with white skins.

You think I'm wrong? Prove me wrong.

The blog world needs to ask why they highlight the same voices over and over. Why Thomas Friedman getting a tiny bit of sense last weeks grabs more attention than Bob Herbert telling it like it is all along? Why you link to op-eds by whites repeatedly all the time with nothing from African-Americans?

Over and over. I go to blogs and find all these stories about white people. Last week, there was a link here to
the story of Theresa Battle. Why wasn't that story all over the blogs? Is it the fact that she has braids and not blonde hair?

I could go anywhere at the same time and see Jessica Lynch all over the place but not a word on Theresa Battle who doesn't want to go on active duty and leave her kids who might end up in foster care.

I see people write, "Oh George Bush doesn't support the troops!" and "George Bush doesn't support families!" and looking at Battle, I'm seeing proof of that. But the story's not screaming from the blogs. Instead we get silence.

"I'm not being racist! I cover what I see!"

The maybe you need to check your eyes or check your sources because you brave voices that were going to shed light on stories the mainstream ignored now just cover the mainstream. And the mainstream's done a poor job of covering anyone of color that wasn't a celebrity or charged with some crime or both. Reality check, you ain't getting color in the mainstream.

If you're the supposed brave truth teller, you're going to have to look a little deeper and a little harder.

When Cynthia McKinney was being trashed, if it got written of, it was about how those bad Republicans were doing it. You need to check yourself real quick because your brave Democratic voice on Crossfire joined in for the trashing. So did another brave voice at a magazine most of you link to. I was glad to read here that the magazine would never be linked to by this site because I don't forget that the editor of that magazine trashed McKinney.

It was the great big Sister Souljah moment all over again for many Dems, their chance to grab a slice of the Clinton pie and prove they could be "tough on them blacks."

But the blog world didn't call them out and doesn't call them out. You trip over yourselves to avoid the topic. And that's why they did it and why they'll do it again because they know they won't be held accountable for it.

As Greg Palast said, Cynthia McKinney got screwed. And you just averted your eyes and rush to praise the cowards and turncoats who screwed her.

You bent over backwards to take it up the rear for Simon Rosenberg and when this man of color asked you about his disdain for Marian Wright Elderman, you pleaded ignorance in your e-mails and then turned around and kept on pushing Rosenberg for DNC chair.

Is ignorance an excuse? Why are you only ignorant when it's a black person being persecuted?

"Oh, I don't like it when a white Democrat attacks a black Democrat!" you whine in your e-mails.

But when it happens, you hit the mute button.

You turn around each February and do a shout out to MLK ignoring the fact that every day of February is Black History Month. I e-mail you and you say, "Oh we'll do something about MLK's birthday." Thanks for the crumbs, we people of color would starve without the bits you toss us.

And you'll whine about the lack of black leaders today without realizing that we have many strong voices, you just don't seem to know about 'em or write about 'em.

The argument for not covering Stephanie Tubbs-Jones's brave stand boiled down "oh nothing's going to happen." Tell me what happened when Barbara Boxer stood up? Way I'm remembering it, she stood alone in the Senate.

Did anything happen? I think we learned the power of standing up and of sticking up for those who stand up. Or at least sticking up for those who stand up if they're white. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones stood up in Ohio and where was the coverage?

As reported on The Laura Flanders Show she told Kenneth Blackwell if he didn't like her questions he could "haul butt." Where was the coverage?

You can say "my site is welcome to all." And maybe that's true. I'm welcome to go anywhere on the net and read about white people. And maybe if a black athlete or musician gets busted, I can read about that too? That's balance in the blog world. But when an African-American is fighting for everyone us and our right to vote, our right to have a fair and clean election, suddenly that story's just a little too "black" to make it into the blog world.

"It's a white wash!" ___ e-mailed me to explain why he wouldn't be covering it. Maybe if it involved a white woman or man standing up it would have been news? The hearing may have been a white wash but the coverage online was a blackout or a black-get-out as so many avoided mentioning Stephanie Tubbs-Jones.

The blog world can dismiss me as some angry black man. Or you could take this as a moment to check yourself, look at who you highlight over and over and ask yourself why you don't highlight more people of color?

You can push it off as "my problem" or dismiss it as "those people." But maybe you better ask yourself which person of color you are covering after you strip away your writing on Condi Rice, Colin Powell and Alberto Gonzales because I ain't seeing it.

Dog piling on Ohio when a white face spouts off, ignoring the work from the Black Caucus. Swearing that you believe in clean and fair elections and writing things to me like "I have always supported election reform" but refusing to covering the hearing in Ohio seems to me like a contradiction.

Maybe before the next white victim or hero sucks up all your attention, you could take a moment or two to ask yourself when you'll be covering any African-Americans who aren't charged with a crime? Until you do that, you can say your sites are welcome to everyone but I ain't buying it. Sure I'm welcome to visit but it's not really my home, is it?

[Note: KeShawn's e-mail arrived yesterday. The post was delayed only due to problems with the blogger program. The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.]

[At KeShawn's request, one word has been edited out of this entry since it was posted.]