How anyone could ever discriminate against my little Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of TV News is beyond me. I mean, look at that face? So sweet. So pretty. How could anyone find him threatening? But alas, TJ, like all black men, has to deal with the crap that comes with being “Black In America.”
What I loved about his snippet was that he included some personal, “TJ facts” along with his story about racial ignorance at a Bay Area car wash. For instance, the winner of BlackSnob’s 2008 Ed Bradley Award for Journalistic Hotness is 5’11” and 165 lbs (he’s thin but fit!)
Here’s a taste of TJ’s views on racism:
I haven’t come in contact with a lot of blatant racism in my life. Yes, I’ve been called the N-word. To be honest, it never really upset me because as soon as that word comes out of someone’s mouth, I’m pretty sure that I’ve won the argument. That person has just confirmed how ignorant they are.
I don’t necessarily consider most people racist. I have, however, seen a lot of racial bias. What I mean by that is people don’t hate me because of the color of my skin, but they simply don’t see me as an equal. Some may say that by not seeing me as an equal, that’s the very definition of racism. Rather, I believe people have so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about black people. They make assumptions based on the color of my skin.
And about that Bay Area car wash?
One of the clearest examples of what I’m talking about is a simple incident at a car wash. I was a news anchor for three years at a station in the Bay Area in California. And when I lived there, I drove a big, white SUV. It had 22″ chrome wheels, dark-tinted windows, and a few personalized touches. It was hot! I would always wash my truck myself at one of those car washes with the pressurized hoses where you spray your vehicle down yourself.
Of course, when I go wash my car, I don’t necessarily look like a news anchor. I look like a guy who’s washing his car. I wear sweats or shorts or jeans with holes, I wear tank tops or t-shirts, I might have on a bandanna or be wearing a baseball cap backwards.
One day a man came over to me as I was washing my truck and said, “Man, I just gotta know. What do you guys do to have nice cars like that?”
He was a nice enough guy and wasn’t really nasty when he asked the question. He truly seemed puzzled about how a young, black man could be driving such a nice car. He went on to ask me if I played for the San Francisco 49ers. Again, I’m 5′11″ and 165 lbs. No, I don’t play for the 49ers.
The guy’s first thought at seeing a young, black man in a nice car was not that I could have gotten it through education and hard work. That is what I mean by bias.
It didn’t cross his mind that maybe this young, black man went to college on an academic, not athletic, scholarship.
If he couldn’t imagine that then he couldn’t imagine that maybe this young, black man graduated from college in four years with a degree.
If he couldn’t imagine that, then he certainly couldn’t imagine that maybe I used my college degree to start a successful career.
And, if he couldn’t imagine that, he certainly couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe this young, black man was making more money than him.
Well said, my little sugar loaf. Well said, indeed. West Memphis, Ark., represent! What! What!