Friday, January 12, 2007

Hey Anderson Cooper, where's Dinerral?

Early in the week one of my neighbors got ahold of the producers of Anderson Cooper to tell them about our plans to march on city hall. They called me and told me about their plans to do "something" although at the time they weren't sure what. They wanted to know about Helen Hill, and like most journalists, they assumed that I knew her. After putting them in touch with some of Helen's friends, I told them that they really needed to do something about Dinerral Shavers, who was killed the week earlier, and who was as much an inspiration to those of us organizing as Helen Hill was. Finally they relented, and scheduled interviews with Dinerral's family--which were subsequently cancelled. I don't at this point if they ever rescheduled the tapings, but, of course, there was barely a mention of Dinerral on the show. Julia Reed, on hand as some kind of expert talking head, managed to slip his name in, thank god.

In case you don't know, or haven't figured it out yet, Helen Hill was white. Dinerral was black.

And yet, the march itself was neither black or white. One of the many things that speakers at the march addressed was the fact that we all came together, that it wasn't about black or white, that it wasn't about one death, or two. But some people still don't get it. The New York Times, for example, was curiously absent during all of the planning for the March, which was reported step by step--with accuracy--by the Los Angeles Times. At one point, a media savvy friend explained: "the Times reporter doesn't come to this side of Canal Street; he's afraid."

Since the March was on the other side of Canal, the Times has a report today, though from the spin they put on it, I think I know who was in the helicopter flying overhead. The photograph manages to squeeze only white people in (although, guess what?, they all live in the 9th ward) and nearly every paragraph declares "whites only."


Anonymous said...

In Cooper's defense, he did stress that the march was a coming together of black and white citizens.

And shame on the New York Times.

Yokeitha said...

My name is Yokeitha Ramey and I'm Dinerral's oldest sister. I watched Anderson Cooper 360 and was very upset that they did not interview my mother, Yolande Adams. The producers of Anderson Cooper 360 cancelled the interview with her and failed to reschedule, but took time to interview Helen Hill's stepfather in South Carolina as well as other white residents living in New Orleans. Shame on CNN and the producers of AC 360 for not interviewing a griefing mother of a African American male who only wanted to make positive changes the lives of the youth in New Orleans. Also for the record, the march was organized before Helen Hill's murder. The Hot 8 Brass Band began organizing the march and Dinerral's murder.

To add insult to injury, Anderson Cooper had the audacity to broadcast live from the Lower Ninth Ward and failed to interview my mother, a life long resident of the Lower Ninth Ward until Hurricane Katrina forced her to relocate to Baton Rouge.

It's really sad that racism is and never will go away.