>Open letter to the news media

>Dear media,

As a concerned journalist, I’m writing this letter to share my disdain of your coverage of the presidential race, particularly the “battle” over the black vote between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

First, I want to say stop fanning the flames when it comes to the race and gender question. Black people are not a monolithic group of people who are “torn” over if they want to vote for a woman or a black man. We actually care about health care, education, the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy, the mortgage crisis and attacks on the Constitution.

Second, please quit flocking to the churches and barber/beauty shops to see what we all think. Black people also can be found in coffee shops, on university campuses, in stores, restaurants and even on the street! Please, quit your sloppy reporting and venture out into unknown territory to find more of us to talk to you. You may find that we all aren’t “torn” between the wife of the “first black president” and a native son.

Third, ask us about the same issues you ask white voters. Black voters think about a wide variety of issues. We all don’t dwell on HIV/AIDS and education. While those two issues are important, we also think about the economy, the rising costs of college tuition, the war on drugs and the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. Quit your lazy reporting and try a new angle with your story.

Fourth, quit flocking to black leaders to get their opinion. They do not speak for us. They have never spoken for us. They will never speak for us. What they think is their opinion. What they think does not represent the views of all black voters. Once again, quit your sloppy reporting and start doing your job correctly.

Finally, send your white correspondents to talk to black voters. This pairing of the minority journalist with “their own” is sickening. If you are as open minded as you claim to be, then break the trend for once. You never know; these white correspondents may learn a thing or two about us.

I hope you don’t take this letter personally. This is just an observation that I’ve been making since this campaign started two years ago. As someone who desperately wants to work in the field of political reporting, I would like to see you all put your trust into someone who looks like me and their ability to cover all candidates, no matter how they look.

I would like to see you buck the trend and start taking the black vote seriously. The analysts you’ve hired imply that the Democratic Party doesn’t take us seriously, but what does it say about an institution that fails to branch out and break the trend during every election season?