Monday, January 17, 2011

Fox Uses MLK Day to Promote Reaganism

The headline on Womanist Musings today is, "Fox Nations Asks: 'Was Reagan more of a friend to blacks than Obama'?"  Most people who have even one iota of racial sensitivity know that it's insulting and dehumanizing for white people to refer to black people as "blacks," so Fox undermines itself even in the title. I hope you'll click on the above link and read through Womanist Musings's list of reasons why Reagan was not in fact more of a friend to black people than Obama is. Please especially note, "As President, Reagan cut funding for civil rights enforcement and opposed a Martin Luther King holiday." 

You can also check out the original article, written by Reagan's son, Michael Reagan. 

That's right. Fox really did manage to turn MLK day into a day about a white man. 


  1. I don't even need to read that article to know that Reagan's policies weren't exactly friendly to anyone but rich white dudes.

    But I do want to ask--what is the proper wording Fox should have used? I'm taking a race class right now, and from what I've been reading, the term "African Americans" is fairly passe, especially inasmuch as many black people in this country are not actually from Africa, but rather South America, Central America, West Indies, etc. From what I understand, the best term to use is "black Americans." What would you say? I know I probably sound really obnoxious and racially insensitive here, but I grew up and went to school in overwhelmingly white areas, and I really want to get this right.

  2. My personal policy is to say "black Americans and African Americans," since I know people who prefer one term over the other. Or, if the individual chooses to identify with a particular country, I'll list that nationality, then American. (ie: Kenyan American). When I'm talking about people from other countries who identify as black, I usually just use black as an adjective. "Black women," "Black South Africans," "Black people," etc.

    I grew up believing I should say "African American," but when I roomed with a black girl who considered herself Haitian American, she interrupted me the first time she heard me say "African American" and told me that she's black, not African American. But when her sister roomed with us, her sister used both terms. And then I dated their friend, who was also Haitian American, and he used both terms. I've noticed that it's usually only white people using the term "African American," though.

    I learned from that experience that for many black American and African American people, those terms are politically charged. The friends I just mentioned told me that part of it came down to frustrations between black Caribbean Americans whose families have come to the US recently, and black African Americans whose families were brought to the US as slaves a few hundred years ago.

    So, my answer in a nutshell: it's complicated, don't use "black" as a noun, and try to be inclusive since there are various communities that identify with different terms, all for some pretty legitimate historical reasons.

  3. Honestly, though, if you're worried about offending someone, say "people of color." It's inclusive, and most people are very comfortable with that term.