TechCrunch Founder's Black Amnesia

The Bottom Line: No black CEOs in Chicago, creating jobs, Radio One's 54th station and more.

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TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington

"The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley," the fourth edition of CNN's Black in America series, debuts Nov. 13 with a reality show featuring eight black Webpreneurs. They were selected by the NewMe accelerator project. It hopes to inspire black entrepreneurs, provide mentorship and connect them to venture capitalists. From that point, the wannabe gazillionaires are on their own.

There are two NewMe companies not part of the CNN show: Central.ly, an aggregating social media site, and AisleFinder, a site to assist shoppers.

The Root has covered several of NewMe's mentors. They are Tristan Walker, the vice president of business development at FourSquare, and Stephen DeBerry, the chief investment officer of Kapor Enterprises. Another NewMe advisor is Terry L. Jones, managing partner of Syncom Venture Partners. Jones was instrumental in turning his firm's $25 million technology investment into $560 million. Full disclosure: I wrote that article.

Recapping the Flap in Silicon Valley and the Black Entrepreneurs Arrington Forgot

Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, was interviewed by Black in America host Soledad O'Brien for the NewMe show. In a promo clip, Arrington said that he didn't know any black entrepreneurs, and "that the scarcity of black entrepreneurs gives them an edge." 

Arrington was attacked by some for being racist, stupid or both. He replied that CNN sandbagged him and the editing made him look like a racist. O'Brien disagreed mightily but said that "Michael Arrington is right (about one thing) … black entrepreneur role models are crucial."

Micah Singleton, who happens to be black and the editor-in-chief of the consumer blog Powered by Tech, wrote on Technorati.com why he thought Arrington wasn't a racist. Angela Benton, the NewMe organizer and a contestant, agreed and wrote a blog entitled, "Drama: Why Arrington Is NOT a Racist and Don't Believe the Hype." Meanwhile pro and con Arrington flames wars spread.  

Arrington, on his blog, Uncrunched, wrote, "I don't categorize people as black or white or gay or straight in my head. They're just smart or not smart."

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Maybe so. But there are two black entrepreneurs who Arrington knows well and has considered as "smart," yet he still couldn't remember them. Serial entrepreneur Clarence Wooten, who has an Arrington quote on his homepage, has worked with Arrington for years. Wooten is CEO and founder of a new company, Arrived, a friend locater, and is working on another, Groupsite.com, a social collaboration platform.

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