The other day I was writing a story about a DJ in Buffalo New York who compared black women to burnt toast. I actually got the lead from Huffington Post.
History: Arianna Huffington is the founder of Huffington Post. It was sold to AOL for $315 million in 2011, In June 2015, Verizon Communications acquired AOL for $4.4 billion and the site became a part of Verizon Media. As of November 2020, Verizon Media sold Huffington Post to BuzzFeed and it is run by Jonah Peretti. This leaves me with one question, why do I still own Radio Facts (lol).
Reading the story of course wasn’t surprising considering shock jocks have died out with Rush Limbaugh and it’s now a pretty old and antiquated concept at this point. Desperate times require desperate measures when Clubhouse is the new hot spot go-to portal for 18 to 34s …
But what I found more surprising was it was in the “Black Voices” section of Huffington Post … Um, isn’t this a section that is supposed to be about … well … I don’t know …. yeah …. BLACK VOICES??? As in writers and perspectives perhaps from BLACK people?
Hey, this was according to an editorial written by Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington in August of 2011 introducing the section as a guest speaker at the NABJ which stands for National Association of Black Journalists. The site was sold shortly thereafter to AOL so Arianna is off the hook but why did Verizon Media and/or BuzzFeed change this part of the site?
How could I think a section about Black people would be written by Black people. Why didn’t anybody educate me on this? All these years of wrong thinking. Was this a class I missed in grade school? Of anyone else they could have picked, the person writing the story was a white man with the “Black Voices” moniker right above him (see image).
Huffington Post/Buzzfeed this is unacceptable yet not uncommon and the way Black industry people are often treated. Are we supposed to be fools? How do you introduce a Black section at a Black conference and not have Black writers doing it?
This is almost the last of my soapbox platforms this week. I think I lost 10 pounds getting this sh out of my system. I’ve been very quiet for very long. I know that this audience wants radio news ONLY and I’m going to respect that but for those who think a little deeper and outside of the go-along-to-get-along box this is an interesting perspective. This is often what happens when corporations are testing Black people to see if we are paying attention or perhaps they just don’t care … or worse yet WE don’t care.
I ask again, how can you justify having a section called “Black Voices” and have a white guy writing stories in it and of all things ABOUT RACISM? I’m going to hand in my two-week resignation and apply for the new Full-time “Idiot” position. Are they still hiring?
In an effort to give Huff Post the benefit of the doubt, I was trying to think of an excuse as to why this happened maybe there were no Black writers available, maybe Black people don’t have Black Voices? Maybe they wanted to diversify the section? Maybe Popeyes has the best Chicken Sandwich and it’s the most crispy? I just don’t know.
At the end of the day, it’s FAKE diversity and we see a lot of it in the industry at times even when corporations hire black people to head the diversity divisions as the “image” but offer them no power or perhaps it’s the organizations that have boards where they bring on Black people who play a really mean politic and never ruffle feathers and even though they are black, they are not connected to the black community. Again, another “image.” I’m not blaming the writer David Moye, he’s just doing a job I’m blaming whoever is in charge of the “Black Voices” section.
At the end of the day, I’m disappointed in The Huffington Post but not surprised. I don’t own it Arianna Huffington does but with a behemoth site like that, it’s hardly an oversight, it’s intentional and they can do whatever they want to do with their online news portal but at least have some respect Black writers. OK, that’s my almost final soapbox gripe … back to the radio news only.