Nightline & Racism: It's as easy as ABC
April 26, 2000
Nightline just devoted an entire week searching out Racism in America. Well, duh.Small: Best Cuts, the budget hair salons, agreed last week to pay damages because they openly charged blacks double.Medium: The Freemen -- many of whom believe that Jews are impostors and that whites are actually the lost tribe of Israel -- continue their stand-off with what they often call the "Zionist Occupational Government." No mainstream news report mentions their explicit anti-Semitism, nor that of intermediary and frequent talk show guest Bo Gritz, who shares their racial beliefs.Large: The recent Clinton/Dole Counterterrorism Act expands the government's power to spy on, imprison, and deport minority activists, immigrants, and resident aliens.Never mind that the only widespread terrorism in America is the ongoing white bombing and arson of black churches -- 61 and counting -- across the South.How bad is it?Think back -- were a Million Men at the March, or 400,000? Or did the Park Police just count each black face as two-fifths of a man?Even to split the difference and figure 700,000 showed up on the Mall, there are only 10.7 million adult black men in the whole country! That means one out of every 15 black men in the entire United States put their lives on hold, paid their own way, and traveled thousands of miles just to feel a sense of community for once in their lives.Try to imagine how desperate things would have to be in WalMartPlatz for one in 15 white men to do the same thing.You know all about racism in our history. The genocide of native peoples provided land. Slavery provided labor. Racism pays.But we're above all that, right?Um, how much of the stuff in our own apartments was made in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, or dozens of other countries where minorities work as forced labor in service of an export-financed ruling class armed by our very own government?Have a look. I'll wait.And as we search our selves and shelves (and Tribe fans, next time you don Red Sambo and start banging a tom-tom, ask yourself: If the Germans had won the War, would soccer fans in Berlin wear yarmulkes and sing "Hava Nagila"?). Maybe Ted Koppel can do the same.Nightline is on ABC, the network that canceled Steve Harvey's successful sitcom because advertisers thought the show was too black. ABC is part-owned by Cap Cities, which for over a decade employed Bob Grant, a proudly racist radio talk show host who often called black people "savages." ABC's other owner is Disney, the company that makes cartoons like Pocahontas and Aladdin in which you can distinguish the good Indians and Arabs from the bad ones because they're drawn with lighter skin and whiter features.And Nightline just spent a whole week looking for racism.At that rate, Ted Koppel couldn't find vowel sounds in Hawaii.