During a recent news broadcast a Rochester, New York meteorologist reported on more than just the climate in the local area. He also revealed that the current climate of racism is still as cold as it has ever been. During his segment the anchor referred to a downtown Rochester park named after Dr. Martin Luther King as “Martin Luther Coon” park. The anchor immediately said “King” after using the slur and continued his segment, but the damage was already done. Needless to say, this misstep made its rounds on social media and created an uproar that the anchor could not escape. The Mayor of the city along with the Rochester association of Black Journalists expressed immediate outrage and called for swift action to rectify the issue. The anchor was relieved of his duties and the news station that employed him was compelled to release a statement in an effort to do damage control.
While the use of the racial slur was unfortunate, it is yet another incident that unveils and speaks directly to the undercurrents of racism that exist in our society. Oftentimes there is a profound lesson in the most unfortunate circumstances. In this scenario, the resounding message we must hear and aggressively embrace is that despite the summation of who others may perceive us to be, we are “KINGS” not Coons!
By: Tony Robinson