Is there anything inappropriate or offensive about a mainstream news website creating a separate section for African-Americans and another for Latinos? And is there really any difference between that sort of thing and the array of ethnic publications and websites — Latino Magazine, Ebony, Jet, Hispanic Business, etc. — that already dot the landscape?
The answers to both questions are: “Yes” and “Yes.”
Someone needs to explain this to Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor-in-chief of the wildly successful and unapologetically liberal Huffington Post. The New York-based website, which has an estimated worth of $200 million, does not publish enough African-American and Latino writers. This is not opinion. This is fact. No one argues it, least of all Huffington.
That’s an embarrassment in a country where minorities are on track to constitute the majority by 2030 — despite the best efforts by nativists and the anti-immigration movement to reverse the trend. And it’s especially embarrassing in this case since liberals like Huffington consider themselves morally superior and are always more than ready to sermonize to the rest of us about our duty to embrace diversity.
They would do well to heed their own sermons before it’s too late. Any media entity — website, newspaper, television network, etc. — that doesn’t keep pace with changing demographics will eventually become irrelevant. Why would readers take the time to search out something that can tell them about the way America used to be, when they can opt for something that tells them how America is now and what it’s becoming?
So Huffington has a problem. The solution, she decided, is not to simply recruit more African-American and Latino writers to write for the website. That is too obvious. Anyone could do that. She wanted to do something really spectacular. So the Huffington Post is creating a special section of the website for African-Americans and another section for Latinos.
This kind of cyber-segregation is creepy. What’s next at this liberal watering hole? Segregated washrooms?
This is exactly the wrong path for Huffington to take. But it’s not entirely a surprising move. When liberals try to be more inclusive, they still can’t suppress their insatiable appetite for control. They have to preserve power. And that leads them to open the door of opportunity only a crack, which then reminds everyone just how restricted the main clubhouse really is.
The message here is condescending but at least it’s crystal clear: African-American and Latino writers — and the people who read them — don’t belong at the grownup table. So we’ll put them at the children’s table instead. Bon appetit.
Maybe Huffington needs to brush up on U.S. history. African-Americans and Latinos are an inseparable part of the American community and part of the nation’s fabric. The history of black Americans in this country goes back as far as the first settlement at Jamestown. Go to Santa Fe, and you’ll find Latinos whose families have lived on that soil for more than 400 years.
Members of both groups fought and died in every war since the American Revolution, often with distinction. African-Americans and Latinos helped build this country by taking jobs than no one else wanted, while putting up with humiliation and state-sponsored discrimination. And through it all, they’ve loved America even when America didn’t love them back.
Huffington thinks that her precious website needs a black section to cover black issues, and a Latino section to cover Latino issues. But what does that mean anyway? African-Americans and Latinos care about the same issues that all Americans care about right now: education, jobs, health care, taxes, immigration, trade, etc.
Huffington could have handled this much better. She could have launched stand-alone products aimed at African-American and Latino readers. If she had done that, there would be no problem. It’s not condescending or insulting to have an ethnic-themed publication or website as long as it’s a separate media product specifically aimed at African-Americans or Latinos.
Yet that’s not what we have here. What we have here is a mainstream product with a separate African-American section and a separate Latino section. And that’s offensive.
If Arianna Huffington wants to build a new home for African-American and Latino writers, then more power to her. Many of them could use the exposure. But she’s not willing to go that far. All she’s prepared to do is to invite minorities into her mansion — as long as they use the servants’ entrance.