On Sunday night CNN hosted a special with the provocative title Unconscious Bias: Facing the Realities of Racism. It probably should have been titled "Facing the Realities of White Racism." Weekend anchor Fredericka Whitfield began:
WHITFIELD: So what is Unconscious Bias? Over the next hour we're going to take a closer look at that because it's something we all do. We all have judgements that may color our decisions, whether it's crossing the street at the side of a black man walking your direction or at the airport fearing someone who appears to be Middle Eastern is a terrorist or presuming Chinese people are carriers of the deadly coronavirus.
Or it could be looking at a white person and just imagining they must be a racist. CNN turned again to Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility, who insisted everything in our culture says whiteness is best:
DiANGELO: Just start from the premise that of course you've internalized biases and prejudices and stereotypes. You know, you spent your lifetime absorbing messages, movies, television, your heroes, your heroines.
You know, the research is very clear that as early as three and four, everyone who grows up here understands it's better to be white in this society. Nobody misses the message. I didn't choose that message but I did get it and it does come out in my life.
Whitfield also talked racism with CNN political commentators Van Jones, Keith Boykin, and Ana Navarro. She ended the hour with the new black female mayor of Ferguson, Missouri, and retired Missouri state policeman Ron Johnson, but glossed over what a federal probe found in the probe of Ferguson: that Michael Brown had grabbed for policeman Darren Wilson’s gun, and not the long-running myth that Brown put his hands up and said “Don’t shoot.” CNN apparently preferred to avoid a balanced presentation of facts.
Whitfield ended with a commentary quoting from Frederick Douglass speaking out against slavery on the occasion of the Fourth of July in 1852. The righteous invocation of “fire” and "thunder" and “whirlwind” and "earthquake" might make you think not merely of rhetoric, but that the CNN anchor is finding some kind of inspiration in violent rioters lighting fires and destroying stores.
WHITFIELD: All right, so this has been a tumultuous two weeks from shocking, reaffirming, confusing, comforting, disheartening, giving rise to greater determination to keep fighting for right. And in this fight a diverse tapestry of people on one accord globally and racism and injustices, Black Lives Matter, right, not dictated by political leanings, associations with comfortable spaces, but what's right on basic human kindness and decency levels.
And along the way in the spirit of Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and George Floyd, we have seen these things, heard things, stirring all of our emotions, bringing us to ask, where are we, and how is this and how can this be? Behaviors, biases, travesties, and obstacles going back 400 plus years in America, so wouldn't it be something, if where we are right now, if we are in a place on the precipice, perhaps of what abolitionist Frederick Douglass said is needed to right the wrongs.
He said, "it is not light that we need, but fire. It is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. And in this moment, is all of this. All of this, is this part of the forces behind that storm, that earthquake?" It's up to all of us. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
There was plenty of conscious bias in the Unconscious Bias hour...and it's a classic Hot Take that the demands to defund police and other Black Lives Matter agenda items are somehow "not dictated by political leanings," but just about "human kindness and decency."