January 15, 2019
Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images
Over the weekend, CBS News announced its official election coverage team for the 2020 election, and there wasn’t very much melanin in the line-up of reporters. Although she doesn’t foresee herself going into politics, Kerry Washington took note and brought up a very important question: “Who will you turn to for a perspective with nuanced & personal understanding of the African American experience?”
But, can you blame her? With issues of social justice, immigration, poverty and so many other matters that are ongoing in today’s society, it’s only right to have representation from all sides…including the black side.
Dear @CBSNews, I am encouraged by the diversity you DID include. But when it comes time to discuss the inevitable role that race and racism will play in the election, who will you turn to for a perspective with nuanced & personal understanding of the African American experience? https://t.co/yqViF535oY
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 13, 2019
Even Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to social media to acknowledge how wrong and “unacceptable” it was for there to be no black journalists represented. “This WH admin has made having a functional understanding of race in America one of the most important core competencies for a political journalist to have yet @CBSNews hasn’t assigned a single black journalist to cover the 2020 election,” expressed Ocasio-Cortez. And Auntie Maxine just wanted to know the reasoning behind it all:
CBS, the efforts on your website about your support for diversity fly in the face of your display of all of the reporters you've selected for the 2020 campaign. Not one Black. What's up with this? An explanation is needed.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) January 14, 2019
While many people, including politicians, are trying to figure out why CBS News decided to go with these journalists, radio host Jesse Kelly is agreeing with the outlet’s decision. He took to Twitter to insinuate that “many black people have no interest in journalism”:
People are dragging CBS for not having enough black people, but has anyone considered the obvious explanation that many black people have no interest in journalism? Cultures are different and value different things. Doesn’t make CBS the KKK.
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) January 13, 2019
And, he was met with some very surprised and confused reactions by black journos who would beg to differ. Their argument had a lot to do with the fact that there’s a whole organization dedicated to training and advocating on behalf of black journalists worldwide, and it’s called, the National Association of Black Journalists.
How dare you type “many black people have no interest in journalism.” Where is your evidence? Your conversation with yourself in your bubble of ignorance? Please get educated and realize @NABJ exists because black people are interested in and highly qualified at journalism. https://t.co/RP9fkHCkBG
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) January 14, 2019
There was a time when taxi cabs wouldn’t pick up Black journalists.
Black journalists would arrive to report stories and people thought they were maids +refused them entry.
News offices were destroyed.
Dorothy Butler Gilliam. Alice Dunnigan. Ida B. Wells.
We fought for this. pic.twitter.com/KO9h1AWB3E
— Natasha S. Alford ??+??✊????? (@NatashaSAlford) January 14, 2019
But there’s an entire association called the National Association for Black Journalists….. so I assume the thousands of memebers don’t want to be in journalism?
They just in it to be in it? Get another cup of coffee and check yourself, Jesse. https://t.co/pVxep6HZXy
— Astasia Williams (@AstasiaWill) January 14, 2019
the “obvious explanation?” ok. what are we interested in then? shucking & jiving? please let us know https://t.co/NZ6R9MR41g
— Africa Miranda (@africamiranda) January 14, 2019
Unfortunately, he didn’t get the memo. But as for the former Scandal star, she’s always been a champion for diversity. This isn’t the first time she’s spoken up about the uniformity of CBS. In December, during an appearance, Washington called out the network once again for not having a single woman of color at the center of any of its programming. She urged them: “Come along for the ride, CBS.”
— Kendall Ciesemier (@kciesemier) December 6, 2018
Last year, at the 49th NAACP Image Awards, the Broadway star also spoke about how the work that she and other entertainers are doing will allow people to continue to dream and strive for equity in Hollywood. Watch below (start at 2:10):
When she’s not fighting for change, Kerry is busy producing her upcoming comedy about modern-day pastoring and blended families, inspired by Sarah Jakes-Roberts, and her husband Pastor Touré Roberts.
TELL US: Which black journalist would you like to see on CBS News’ election coverage?