More than 200 public-radio employees have signed a statement calling for an end to “objectivity” in the reporting of race-related issues and for the removal of some white managers.
The call to action published Monday by the Public Media Anti-Racist Partnership also was endorsed by several station leaders, according to Current, a publication for public broadcasting professionals.
“Public radio newsrooms must transform their coverage by insisting on diverse newsrooms, ending the pursuit of objectivity, rigorously pursuing racial diversity in sourcing and audiences, and developing ethics codes that embrace anti-racism and harm reduction,” said the statement.
It charged that “white supremacist culture and anti-blackness shape the policies, norms, and standards of public radio.”
“They determine whose opinions are valued, whose voices are heard, whose stories are told and taken seriously, who is promoted, and whose resume never gets a second glance.”
Management, said the statement, remains “overwhelmingly white.”
“We’re not a mostly white and male industry because we consciously think white males are better, but because we live in a racist, sexist society that has conditioned us to view white male heteronormative as the standard.”
It said the “systems we’re comfortable with are sustaining the discriminatory system that favors white males.”
Fighting “racism” is everyone’s work, it said.
“Everyone in the industry has a responsibility to scrutinize how our work contributes to or challenges white supremacy and racism.”
The objectives include “removing white people who have created a hostile work environment for people of color, and the leaders who have been complicit in that hostile work environment.”
The solutions rest with apologies, reforms and reparations, the statement said.
“These reparations could include offers of financial compensation, support for mental health costs for individuals, or in some cases opportunities to return to positions they have left or lost.”
Paul Bedard wrote in his Washington Examiner column that the new “vision” statement also demands employees endorse “statements of belief” such as “climate change is real” and “black lives matter.”
The signers allege: “Historically, black on-air talent are told their dialect and speaking voices do not fit the public radio prototype. There is a strong bias against journalists who have a distinct ethnic or regional tone in their vocal delivery.”
Any lack of cooperation will be resisted, the statement said.
“Where these forms of accountability don’t happen voluntarily, they can and will happen through community organizing, protest, sit-ins, walk-outs, encouraging donors to withhold funds, and other forms of confrontation and divestment. We have provided a road map: now the work is up to you.”
We are edging up toward 400 signatories, with support from 8 organizations. In the words of @Lin_Manuel, this is not a moment, it’s a movement. We must hold each other accountable. https://t.co/uEtUdRM93b
— Celeste Headlee (@CelesteHeadlee) January 19, 2021
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