Can Black Journalists Be Trusted to Cover Obama?

Please. Groupies with press passes come in all colors.


“I would think that you give up certain rights when you are a journalist and if you are married to a journalist,” Shepard said.

I, for one, am not giving up anything to meet Shepard’s arbitrary standards of what makes a good journalist. Too many people gave up too much blood to get me the rights I enjoy today.

If my white colleagues are confused as to where my allegiances are, let me make it clear for them: I am a human being first, a black man second and journalist last. Dead last. It’s not even remotely a close call.

Journalism is what I do. Black is what I am.

There is no such thing as pure objectivity. Because of who I am, I look out for and protect the interests of African Americans. I’m always on guard for inaccurate and racist representations in the mainstream media. The news business remains one of the least diverse institutions in America—despite commentator Pat Buchanan’s ridiculous fear of journalists of color plotting to squeeze out white reporters.

The Barack backlash is a reminder of elitist gatekeepers’ double standards.

It would seem some of our white colleagues don’t trust us and don’t respect our ability to do our jobs. This is one of the reasons the UNITY conventions exist in the first place.

To our peers who seem concerned as to how fairly and accurately journalists of color will cover the presidential contenders, I ask only that they judge the results of our reporting first and not assume a shared racial identity automatically means we will be more sympathetic and less critical of Obama. After all, when it comes to race, white journalists have been given the benefit of the doubt when covering white candidates since, well—forever.

Jeff Winbush is a freelance journalist and blogger. He is a contributor to The Columbus Post, The Daily Voice and All About Jazz .