By Tolu Olorunda | Blackcommentator.com
In the coming years, as the snow-White press corps seeks to challenge Obama on the pressing issues facing the country, of what use is the Black Press to an administration it helped cheerlead into victory? Is the Black Press willing to step up to the plate and hold Obama accountable, or does it prefer the modest role of defending him at all costs – in a pathetic attempt to ward off inevitable racist characterizations of the Black president?
In the last half-century the Black Press has functioned as the conscience of Western journalism. From the publication of a picture bearing Emmett Till’s disfigured head in Jet magazine, following the infamous 1955 lynching episode; to accurately documenting Martin and Malcolm’s human-rights movements thereafter, and the hellish conditions of Blacks and Browns; to remaining true to its vision during the rise of the Black Panthers; to celebrating the barriers broken by Shirley Chisholm’s and Jesse Jackson’s historic presidential runs; it’s clear that Black journalists are an intricate part of the Black freedom movement.
One cannot expect journalists such as Suzanne Malveaux, Soledad O’Brien, or Eugene Robinson to accurately represent Blackness in a non-stereotypical way. CNN’s exploration of what it means to be “Black in America” helped paralyze all possibilities of Black journalists telling our story with the truth front and center of the depiction.