Opinion: Did Black America Turn Its Back on Roland Martin?

Opinion: Did Black America Turn Its Back on Roland Martin?

I originally had absolutely no intention of writing about the recent flap surrounding TV personality Roland Martin, but because of the unfair treatment he has received; and his seeming inability to defend himself, I feel compelled to speak out.

Martin is a syndicated newspaper columnist, a political analyst for CNN, and host of his own TV show on TV One. During last Sunday’s Super Bowl, he tweeted: “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear! If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the sh@t out of him!” and “I bet soccer fan Piers Morgan will be in line at H&M in the morning to get his hands on David Beckham’s underwear line! LOL.”

This was in reference to a TV ad with soccer star David Beckham shown wearing nothing but his underwear. But, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (better known as GLAAD) had to rear its ugly head and do what they do best–defame others!

According to GLAAD’s Website, their mission, in part is… “promotes understanding, increases acceptance and advance equality.” Allow me to interpret what they mean. They want to promote understanding as long as they agree with your viewpoint; increase acceptance of their lifestyle; and advance equality that provides them a “special” legal status before the law!

GLAAD’s knee-jerk response to anyone who is a public figure that says anything that they disagree with is to call on that person to be fired; and then request that person meet with them. Why would anyone that you made lose his or her job be interested in meeting with you?

But doesn’t that go against their very mission–”to promote understanding?” Isn’t it more logical to call for a meeting with a person before you demand that their employer fire them? Shouldn’t you dialogue with a person before you start questioning their motives and intensions, if your true goal is to “advance understanding?

In the immortal words of semanticist, S.I. Hayakawa, “meanings are in people, not in words.” In short, words have no intrinsic meaning other than meanings that are internalized by each individual. For example, if I walked up to a female and told her that her dress was “stupid,” she would be either flattered or insulted. If she understood the language of hip-hop, she would be flattered; if she didn’t, then she would be insulted. “Meanings are in people, not in words.”

Just as disturbing as GLAAD’s demand for Martin’s firing was CNN’s suspension of Martin indefinitely. According to CNN, “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”

But most disturbing is the loud silence from within the Black community, I know first hand that many of the so-called Black “leadership” were quick to call Roland to get on his TV show or to get him to write a supportive newspaper column about one of their causes. But, now that he is in trouble not one voice is to be heard supporting him. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Ben Jealous, Marc Morial, the Congressional Black Caucus–your silence is so loud!

They have allowed a few vociferous people to tar and feather one of their own. This is the real tragedy of this whole incident. I am totally embarrassed by the lack of courage from these Black “leaders.”

Roland, you are now learning who your real friends are and they are not as many as you thought. I am totally disappointed that you even issued an apology (but we all know that CNN forced your hand on that). Do you really need the money from CNN that bad that you are willing to back away from your own innocent words? If you do, I understand. I don’t like it, but I understand.

Just a side note here; why is it that GLAAD called on CNN to fire Martin, but did not make the same request from TV One, the network he has his own show on. Could it be that since TV One is a Black-owned network, that somehow it is not viewed as having any “value?” Just a question!

Roland, remember these are the same Blacks who said absolutely nothing when Jim Clyburn was forced out of the House leadership to make room for Steny Hoyer. Again, the people he and you helped the most, said the least when you needed support

Gays don’t deserve special protection because of their sexual preference, but they do deserve equal protection because of their humanity. GLAAD talks about promoting understanding and equality and at the same time set out to destroy any public figure who disagrees with them. Roland has never done this!

I have sometimes criticized Roland for some of his liberal positions on issues, but he is a very decent person and has worked for years to bring equality to those whose voices many times go unnoticed. There are two things for sure; I am not happy and Roland Martin is not GLAAD.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine, Freedom’s Journal Magazine and U.S. Africa Magazine.