I was 17 years old when I watched in horror, along with my High School classmates in AP Political Science, as Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was the victim of a self-described “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks…” It was a scene that helped shape my vision of American politics, and the role that race played in it. All the platitudes and hyperbole that were drilled into our youthful heads about the triumphs over racism in America, faded away like a mirage as white senators on national television chided and condescended a proud, educated and supremely qualified black man. It haunts me still; even more on days like today.
I can think of no faster rising star in conservative media than Charles V. Payne. Frankly, it’s not close. Though he’s been with Fox Business since its inception, he has only recently met his full potential once he was afforded the airtime he deserved. Yet with exposure, comes vulnerability. Payne is perhaps too effective, too articulate, and simply too black to be allowed such an opportunity not properly sanctioned by the powers that be. All of us who represent a new, honest approach to journalism must weigh the risks of notoriety. With that attention, comes the progressive and hateful left; like hyenas they circle and seek, gleefully taking down a target too much for any of them individually. To be more emphatic, let’s call it what it is: a high-tech lynching.
Is there a more effective use of triggering social imagery than a white woman accusing a black man of sexual harassment? I’d argue in the negative. This is the ultimate imagery used in deploying subversive racial animus. In this instance, we see an African-American man quickly reaching status as a national symbol of achievement over adversity. A proud man with an expanding audience, who uses his platform to occasionally illustrate the double standards of the liberal left and explain the endless attacks on black conservatives like Dr. Ben Carson. This, the progressives can’t allow. In turn, they deploy the most destructive weapon they have. A white woman, a CNN contributor, no less, suddenly cries foul and hires a female litigator to leak lies to the liberal LA Times; who then go to print while ignoring Payne’s strongly issued denial. Hand in glove…
Without a scintilla of evidence, and in the weak-kneed tradition of Fox News executives, Payne was unceremoniously suspended from the network without so much an inclusion of his denials. Like O’Reilly, Ailes and others before him, Payne now stands alone. But let there be no mistake, Payne stands in a much lonelier place. A place Clarence Thomas knows well, a place Herman Cain found himself as soon as poll numbers went too high in early 2012 while running for president. The message is clear: stay in your place, boy. This time, though, it is my hope that every African-American who has ever felt the professional sting of these tactics, will take up the cause; all politics aside. This goes beyond politics, to be sure. This must not be considered fair practice in America. Period.
Fox Business will no longer be my haven in a world without fair and balanced news. In fact, I will contact their advertisers and I will include this article with my explanation as to why I am boycotting their respective products until Payne is back on set. We are a nation of laws. We are not convicted by our accusers, nor is guilt predicted on our skin color. This is wrong and I won’t sit idly by while the hyenas dance in the darkness around the lion isolated from his pride.
I’m not 17 years old anymore. I will not be content with silence while my angers demands action. More than 25 years after Clarence Thomas triumphed over a political lynching to boast one of the most distinguished careers of any Supreme Court Justice, I will mobilize to ensure Charles V. Payne does not stand alone. Fortunately, we can tweet our support to him @cvpayne and we can let @FoxBusiness know we won’t tolerate this attack.
Payne need not stand alone, if we muster the effort, the compassion, and the courage to stand with him.