According to the Pittsburgh Courier and the Associated Press, a popular Jackson, Tenn., radio talk show host posted the following on Facebook, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012:
“A short message to Obama voters. To vote for him with a 9.2 unemployment rate, a [expletive deleted] of Benghazi lies, $16,000,000,000 in debt and an Israeli war, [a derogatory reference to the sex scandal involving David Petraeus], a pimp walking prez married to cheetahs daughter ... expect what you will most certainly get. bye bye medicare. hello homeless ... I love America except for the idiots.”
His name is Bill Way, by the way -- host of "It's Your Turn" on WNWS-FM, in Jackson. Well, at least he didn't go the "birther," "socialist/communist," "anti-colonial Kenyan," routes -- although I'm sure a cursory check of his past radio shows would reveal some of these tidbits, too. These particular remarks appeared on his personal Facebook page, and they obviously expressed not only the way Way felt about the President's re-election, but they reflect the sentiments of his many Facebook followers and radio show listeners as well. Why am I not surprised that this man is wildly popular in both the cities and foothills of Tennesee?
Way is but a back-bencher or second stringer when it comes to the white right's radio shock jocks and media mavens. Still, his comments may be even more disturbing and ominous than those of a Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh because Way's race-based hatred is disseminated, heard, and acted upon on a local stage rather than the national level. His particular diatribes are thus more concentrated, focused, direct, "up close and personal." He is a known quantity in Jackson, Tennessee, a neighbor, a friend, a lodge brother. In a word, his screed against the president and all things non-white is decidedly more dangerous.
For what it’s worth, Way later apologized on the air. Then an obviously embarrassed station president, Carlton Veirs, read a statement which tried to distance the station and himself from Way’s comments:
"We're discussing his comments and apology," Veirs said. "Considering the gravity of the situation, for now, by mutual agreement, Bill is taking a few days off."
Harrell Carter is president of the Jackson-Madison County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In what is also becoming a worn and tired refrain from the NAACP and other such groups, Carter “deplored” Way’s comments, and called them “irresponsible” and “offensive.”
"We're asking for a change of direction and attitude from one of Jackson's most famous and entertaining talk show hosts," Carter said in a telephone interview. "It is unconscionable, the language he used for the president of the United States and the first lady."
“We’re asking….” Carter says….”for a change of direction and attitude….”? Hmmm. Why not demand this guy’s job or the NAACP will call a boycott of this station and its sponsors? If that doesn’t work, take it to the next level and picket the station day and night until this guy is history?
Carter said he knows Way personally and that, "[t]his was out of the clear blue sky. I don't know what the circumstances were, but this was surprising and disappointing."
Let me help you, Mr. Carter. Years ago, the now "old school" R & B trio, The O'Jays, did a smash hit called, “The Back Stabbers,” whose point was that your so-called “friends” sometimes “smile in your face” and then, when you least expect it, “stab you in the back.”
In 1983, Harold Washington became Chicago’s first black mayor. At the time, I worked as a paralegal for a white, middle-aged attorney, a sole practitioner. I thought we had a great relationship. He offered me the job after encountering my work against him when I was with a large, white shoe firm. I loved working with and for the guy, the clientele, the travel…and the money. After a couple of years, I considered us friends; but I made a point never to talk politics with him, mainly because I knew he was a “regular" Democrat,” which in Chicago is pretty much the same as being a Republican.
The day after Washington won the election, he came into my office and demanded my keys. I was dumbfounded. “What’s up? What have I done?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said. “I just know that now that you got a black mayor, you’re gonna go work for him at some point. So, here’s a week’s pay, and I’ll take my keys.”
And this is what we are witnessing now throughout this nation-state. Now that Obama has been re-elected, despite the majority of white folks voting against him; despite iron-clad predictions and prognostications by “reputable” talking heads and experts that Romney just couldn't lose, many – a very great many – of these closet racists can no longer contain themselves or their bitter animus toward people of color generally, and Obama and his family in particular.
Many of them are in clinical denial of Obama's very existence and cannot bring themselves to face the stone cold reality that a black man is actually in charge; that he is the boss – their boss, not a “token” boss – but a real boss with real power, the power to affect their lives in ways that they would never have imagined of black, brown, red, or yellow people.
Expect more, not less, of this kind of gross, base vitriol. It's now out in the open for all to see, and will only deepen and sharpen its ugly message and meaning with each passing day, month, year.