by Sam Hieb
I did not attend the recent N&R forum on the plight of young black males moderated by ed page editor Allen Johnson and featuring conservative author and activist Star Parker and (my favorite—as you well know) liberal columnist Leornard Pitts.
But in yesterday’s Sunday Ideas section, the N&R invited members of its community editorial board to give their thoughts on the forum. While local conservative columnist Charles Davenport Jr. thought Parker “was not only thoughtful and articulate, but also, as a black female, courageously defiant,” fellow columnist Robin Adams Cheeley had a slightly different view.
Bad enough Parker “talked over and interrupted Pitts,” was “rude, dismissive and condescending” and “laughed at inappropriate times,” but:
Parker’s interaction with Pitts and Johnson mirrored that of how black men in America are often treated — with dismissal and disdain. She wasn’t just opinionated, sassy and expressive — traits I possess myself. Her behavior was more akin to that of Sapphire, Aunt Esther and Madea. She borders on having a case of the Angry, Black Woman Syndrome.
Ironic that at a forum examining the untapped potential of black men, you have a black woman on stage attempting to emasculate her male counterparts.
Personally I take offense to any negative comparisons to Aunt Esther—good God-fearing woman that she was. By the same token, anyone familiar with LaWanda Page’s career knows her standup tended to shade slightly blue.
Update: Correction from the N&R’s Doug Clark: “The moderator was Elon law professor George Johnson, not Allen Johnson.”