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Straight No Chaser: How to Turn Talk About Racism Into Action

Op/Ed By Gloria Winston


gloria newRecently, I read, with interest, an editorial in the Democrat and Chronicle titled “Racism in Rochester: Turning talk into action.”

The editorial was credited to the paper’s editorial board, and no doubt probably written by Unite Rochester leadership.

I am not a member of Unite Rochester, however, I do have a recommendation which may help the group achieve whatever goals the organization may have.

I met the leadership some time ago, and asked why Unite seems to have avoided connecting with some of the more opinionated personalities in our community.

I never did get a straight answer, regarding why some of the stronger, more opinionated personalities who have been most vocal about racism in our community seem to have been black-balled, or boycotted from the group, which has yet to put a dent in our community’s RACISM.

However, I digress.

Journalism, and those who report, or edit the news, whether it be in print, radio,  or on television, are responsible for the mindsets, and opinions, often associated with certain groups of people.

Bad news always sells.

And, good news gets overlooked far too often in this community.

God knows I feel badly, and sincerely offer my condolences to Bill Nojay, the Assemblyman, attorney, businessman and radio personality who allegedly took his own life for unknown reasons.

The news reported he was about to face some legal issues, and had been under indictment in federal court.

The story was on front page news for days.

In addition, the fact that he WON the primary, speaks volumes about where our priorities are in this community.

In this age of technology, I question why his name was even allowed to stay on the ballot.

The ballots could have been reprinted within the hour of his untimely death; however, politics, and the need to play games, seemingly won.

And, the media never questioned why his name was still on the ballot on primary day.

Instead, those in the political arena, who seemed to have their own agendas, sat back and encouraged others to vote for someone who could not serve, so that they could keep a candidate the Republican leadership did not support from winning the seat.

Stay with me, because I am going somewhere with this.

What annoyed me most about the news reports on primary day was the lack of coverage that was given to a woman who is about to make election HISTORY.

Just in case no one noticed, on primary day, Sept. 13, Melissa Barrett was VICTORIOUS!!

Yeah, yeah, I know she still has to get past November, but, yet, I don’t recall reading, or hearing about her win.

Think about it!!

Why is it that, when never before in this county has there been a BLACK woman who has won a primary for county court judge, did we not read about this event in the news?

Is it because she is BLACK?

If she had been a white woman, would the coverage of her primary have been more extensive???

I am just asking, and would love to hear the explanation.

Better yet, I would like to request that Unite Rochester, since they are looking for ACTION steps, consider what kind of news the media allows to filter into the community.

News media is more than powerful.

It educates, changes lives and helps those who are too lazy to do their own research form opinions based on what they may perceive to be fact.

MELISSA BARRETT made history as a candidate for county court judge, and I am waiting for the media to give her as much credit as they gave a dead man on a ballot he should not have been on.

I don’t want to sound redundant, but, there was time to replace his name.

And, I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for his family.

Now, why haven’t we celebrated Melissa Barrett’s historical and significant victory?

Why is the media not treating her like a rock star?

She is not only alive and well, but her accomplishment, thus far, has been more than noteworthy, in my opinion.

Hmm. Does it have anything to do with RACISM, perhaps??

In the end, when it comes to Unite Rochester, considering the news they disseminate to the community is one recommendation I wanted to put on record.

Sweep around your own front door, JOURNALISTS.

Too many of you are faking the funk, and pretending to care. However your actions, thus far, have seemed to suggest otherwise.

And, because of the way the press chooses to report news, racism is not only directed at black folks these days.

We certainly have our share of ignorant folks who also assume Muslims’ religion, and the Islamic walk spawns terrorists.

How terrible is that?

However, this, too, is a mindset the media creates.

As I have said before, and I will say again, you will never meet more kind, or caring folks than those who walk in the faith of Islam.

Nonetheless, the media has failed to treat our home-grown terrorists as negatively as they have treated those who have been from the Middle East.

And, this is just another example of racism that needs to be addressed, so the walk of those who’ve claimed they want to end it can be a little more inclusive, and transparent.

Everything else is just rhetoric, don’t you think?

“Turning talk into action” is easier said than done, but it will begin with the news media being REAL about the institutions in which they work.

The ones which instigate negative tones, and refuse to engage the people who are really on the battlefield, combating those unfortunate mindsets on a daily basis.

“The world within controls the world without.”

Gloria Winston is a Community Activist, Writer, Communicator, and Political Activist. She is a native Rochesterian and has been involved with numerous community organizations in Rochester. Contact Gloria at:

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