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Politico Joe Williams suspended, Racist Romney comments.

June 22, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Joe Williams a reporter for, has been suspended for making comments about presidential candidate Mitt Romney that the company deems to be racially-offensive.   During an appearance on the show hosted by Martin Bashir, Williams said this:

It’s very interesting that he does so many appearances on Fox & Friends. And it’s unscripted. It’s the only time they let Mitt off the leash, so to speak. But it also points out a larger problem he’s got to solve if he wants to be successful come this fall: Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that. But when he comes on Fox & Friends, they’re like him. They’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company.

Do you hear that?  Those are the crickets chirping in the background as I sit and wait for you to give me the punch line that led to Politico Joe Williams being suspended.  I can’t find a single offensive word in Williams’ remarks, and the comments are every bit as professional as Joe Williams himself.  I’ve  interacted with Joe Williams during interviews, and on every single occasion, he was efficient, thorough and thoughtful in his questioning.  The idea that he has somehow been labeled to be a rogue is beyond laughable.

But you see, there’s a pattern and unfortunately Joe Williams has been affected by it.  For the most part, being born a black man who speaks conscientiously or accurately about issues of race effectively defines you to be a rogue.  There isn’t much of a disconnect between the black man who is stopped and frisked on the street, and the black male professor/journalist/doctor/lawyer who has his capabilities questioned, even when he does nothing wrong.

In media, the pattern is quite the same:  Just a couple of years ago, Marc Lamont Hill was ambushed by the Right Wing and fired from Fox News for no good reason.  After that, Roland Martin was suspended from CNN for making remarks that I personally didn’t agree with, but were acceptable to many millions of African Americans.  The consistent and unfortunate reality for many African Americans who work with mainstream (read: white) media organizations is that you must either be a good little boy or you have to go home.  Most of these organizations have little interest in true and meaningful diversity.

Black men on Fox News like Juan Williams are rewarded for speaking negatively about African Americans, but when Juan tried to speak up in favor of the black community during the Republican primaries, he was slapped back into his seat and booed down by the crowd.  When it comes to liberal organizations, you are allowed to become fired up and radical about standardized liberal issues, such as gay marriage, reproductive rights, and torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  But the minute you get “too black” and speak truth to power on matters that affect African Americans, they put you back in the mailroom where you belong.

The saddest thing about what happened to Joe Williams is that he is the consummate professional, dedicated to his job and darn good at it.  It’s even more unfortunate that he was hit with a massive penalty for making remarks that were not just uneventful, but are also in alignment with millions of other Americans.  You want to know why I don’t work for networks like Politico, CNN or MSNBC?  It’s because black men are never really free if your platform is a part of a larger plantation.

Independent, black-owned media should be supported.  Strong journalists like Politico Joe Williams, in such environments, would be allowed to flourish without fear of intimidation for exercising fair and free speech.  We can never have true power if we are always living under an umbrella that is owned by someone else.  Malcolm X told us this a long time ago.

Joe Williams wasn’t suspended by Politico for being abusive, unprofessional, sloppy or disrespectful.  Instead, he was suspended for expressing opinions that come from a point of view that his supervisors can never learn to appreciate. Politico Joe Williams was punished in the same way that many millions of other men like him are penalized for being something different from that which the rest of America understands.  Politico Joe Williams was suspended for being a black man.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


4 Responses to “Politico Joe Williams suspended, Racist Romney comments.”
  1. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Dr. Watkins

    I completely agree with you for the first time in a long, long time. All Joe Williams did was stated an absolute fact. I’m often called upon to defend myself against the allegation that I tend to mount ad hominem arguments. But it’s never my intent to be personally abusive. The problem is, when you’re discussing a fool, the truth is offensive. That’s not the writer’s fault. The fault lies in the behavior of the fool. How can you accurately report the facts if you can’t call a hat a hat?

  2. Mark Smith says:


  3. Craig says:

    1. It should not be alright for anyone to make racist comments whether white or black. By stating that he was fired because he was black subtly encourages the idea that talking in a racist way is ok, if you are black. This is fundamentally flawed viewpoint as the same standard should be applied to whites and blacks.

    2. He was also fired for his Twitter comments which had nothing to do with raise. In fact, this has to do with Politico becoming nervous that they weren’t balanced enough when Joe Williams commented were obviously very slanted to the left. To the extent that you chalk up his firing to racism and fail to mention his Twitter comments is irresponsible.

    3. This type of commentary fuels a victim minded behavior.

    4. He admits himself that he is partially to blame for being fired. He blames the right for the firing, not racism.

    5. After all, he is the one that said something racist. To turn it around and blame “white” press of being racist is bizarre, strained way of looking at things.


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