EDITORIAL: Why Did White America Ignore the March?

Anytime more than a dozen Black men gather in a public space, it’s viewed as news – food and fodder for prime-time TV and print media.

So, with thousands of Black men, women and children taking over the National Mall last Saturday, you would have expected to see both the leading local and national television outlets and newspapers out in force to get the scoop – the blow-by-blow if you will.

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, very little, if anything was said. Silence, for the most part, remained the strategy of the day.

Here in the District, our “sister” newspaper, The Washington Post, presented a “feel-good” story about clergy who participated in the first Million Man March back in 1995 and who shared their feelings about its merit both then and now.

As for any noteworthy analysis of the words and program of the leader of the march, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, very little remained said. Only the Black press, including The Washington Informer and the wire services supported by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, bothered to weigh in on the minister’s speech or to talk to those who attended.

The question that we pose is why white America chose to ignore this landmark event?

Perhaps it was because Blacks did not riot, rebel or chant angry, volatile remarks at our nation’s leaders. Maybe the silence was planned in efforts to minimize the importance of this gathering. It could be that white American media simply didn’t want to paint a positive face on Farrakhan who has often been labeled as a hatemonger.

However, those same media outlets jumped at the opportunity to report that Farrakhan and his colleagues were advising Blacks to come armed and ready for a proverbial race riot – something that was subsequently proven to be totally false.

Black America needs to wake up.

Booker T. Washington was right when he said that we would need to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We can ill-afford to wait for those who live a more privileged life to do the right thing and make America live up to its promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for all of its citizens.

Why? Because the memo was never sent to Blacks. And without a not-to-subtle nudge, it probably never will.

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