|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Henry Louis-Gate – Race Card|
I’m nervous about the “Beer Summit” tonight. It actually could be a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about how stereotypes and bias play out in the media, and how that, in turn, influences perception and even behavior.
But I’m afraid the framework for tonight’s meeting isn’t right. With the focus on “who’s drinking what” the power of the moment is turning into simply a photo op-probably of Gates and Crowley reluctantly shaking hands, with Obama smiling in between.
It feels like a train wreck waiting to happen. Why?
- There should be other people involved for a real discussion. With just President Obama, Gates, and Crowley…if/when they don’t agree on what happened, will they just glare at each other coldly in uncomfortable silence? Certainly the President should not be taking sides in a he said/she said (okay, he said/he said).
- I’d love to see Lucia Whalen there, too. Why does it feel like, once again, the woman is marginalized, off in the corner having to defend herself, and not brought to the table for discussion? After all, it was the misrepresentation of her as privileged white woman reporting break-in by black men (she’s Portuguese-American, and did not identify the race, saying only ‘maybe Hispanic’ when pushed) that initially fueled the cut-and-dried view of the story.
- Needs some balanced, comic relief, to help the conversation move forward, and hopefully get to a deeper level of understanding. Perhaps now that Jon Stewart is the “most trusted man in news” he could be involved, and bring with him Larry Wilmore, the Senior Black Correspondent on The Daily Show.
I really do think a mature conversation about institutional racism (e.g. racial profiling in the justice system) and how it affects people’s lives, how media reports perpetuate stereotypes, and perhaps even how technology (e.g. the ability to play tapes and record actual events) can ultimately help would be really interesting.
Finally, as long as I’m making this up, I’m going to suggest that my colleague Tracie Hall, Founder of GoodSeed Consulting, and I head over to facilitate the conversation, and I’m sure Tracie also would have a couple of thought leaders to involve.
“Dear Mr. President, You’re on the right track, but you’re making a grave mistake. I think we can help…”
Who do you think should be there?
Photo Credit: defekto on flickr