Our First White Black President?

So help me Martin Luther King, I can’t understand why those persons most appalled by racial hate crimes do the most to stoke the fires of racial hate. Case in point, this sentence from a national newspaper story Friday: “The unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a white Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer…”

Is Barack Obama our first white black President? Like George Zimmerman, Obama was born of so-called mixed marriage parents … but those who see color first call Obama our first black president. Far as I know, nobody has ever called him “white black.” So why is Zimmerman “white Hispanic?” Only reason I can see is to stir up black vs. white animosity.

If the first news flash out of Florida reported that an unarmed black teen had been shot by an Hispanic man, would Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have led protests, and would the New Black Panther Party have put out a contract to kill Zimmerman?  Would CNN, MSNBC and USA Today be running special features on the Rodney King riots of 1992 and the sad state of racial relations in America today?

One apologist for the racial hate mongering rhetoric wrote that it’s right to call Zimmerman “white Hispanic” because Hispanic is not a race. If the goal is to become color-blind and judge people solely on the content of their character (thank you, MLK), why not drop the racial identification entirely? Why is a “hate” crime punished more severely than the same crime in which prejudice is not a factor?

A man shot another man. If it was homicide, it should be punished as such. Racial bigotry has caused enough misery and injustice. The people who have suffered from it gain nothing by perpetuating it.


My intention is to blog only 100% original writing, but sometimes power trumps originality. I’m a collector of great quotes, and today, with so much chaos swirling around me, this short message from Charles R. Swindoll says it so much better than I could. Reading it lifts me up and helps me carry on. May it do the same for you:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

” Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable.

“The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and this is our attitude.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

“And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”

Call Ralf on the Big White Telephone

As I scanned this morning’s USA Today, the nation’s McNewspaper made me wonder if there are any impartial journalists left on this particular planet. Here are the real headlines, followed by my parenthetical gut reactions as to why USA Today considered these stories important:

“Warm weather gives ski season a cold shoulder” (global warming is real, you stupid Republicans.)

Major League Baseball seeing fewer blacks (discrimination is real, you stupid Republicans.)

“Fewer sign up to race for the cure” (abortions should be funded by tax dollars, you stupid Republicans.)

“Activists pressure corporations to disclose political spending” (Activists are good and corporations are bad. When will you stupid Republicans ever get it?)

If you’re not viewing all information through liberal-colored glasses, you’re gazing through conservative shades. Clear glasses don’t seem to exist anymore.

And no, I’m not a Republican. Or a Democrat. Just a former editor and reporter who looks at the state of “objective” journalism today and feels a faint urge to call ralf on the big white telephone.

Do What You Love

Countless times during the 30 years I spent as a professional journalist, I heard myself say, “I love this job so much, I’d do it for free!”

I thought I was lying. Turns out, I wasn’t. I’m doing it for free right now, as News Director of KPTZ Radio 91.9, a non-profit, all-volunteer radio station.

But back when I was saying I’d do if for free, I was covering Major League Baseball for big newspapers. I slept in every morning, went to “work” (the ballpark) around 4 in the afternoon, hung around the field and clubhouse talking to players and managers, ate a free dinner, watched the game from the press box, went down to the clubhouse to talk to the players some  more, then went home.

When the team I covered went on the road, I went with them … Boston, New York, Toronto, Chicago … the best hotels, nice restaurants, all expenses paid.

Oh yeah, there was this little thing about a deadline. Some writing and reporting involved. But it was fun. During summer, I often “worked” seven days a week, and for 13 consecutive years, I never once called in sick. I actually looked forward to going to “work.” Every day brought a new adventure, a new story.

THAT’S what I’d do for free.

Now I’m in charge of five volunteer news anchors in a small, sleepy town, reporting on fundraisers for middle school sports teams, the library relocation and ferry cancellations. And doing it for free.

But last week, the local cops arrested a guy for breaking into cars to steal stuff, and I found out the suspect had spent a couple of years in prison for stabbing a homeless guy. I called attorneys, the District Court and Superior Court. I went into full reporter mode, adrenaline flowing. We had a scoop. It amounted to 37 seconds on the radio, but it was a scoop.

I’d do this for free.