Best-selling author and SiriusXM host Karen Hunter provided some interesting vantage points for the upcoming televised special “White In America,” a look into the current state of race relations in the United States with an all-White panel.
NewsOne was present at SiriusXM’s studios in New York City as anti-racism activist Tim Wise, Salon.com editor-at-large Joan Walsh, SiriusXM conservative political talk radio host Andrew Wilkow, finance attorney Boris Epshteyn, and comedians John Fugelsang and Dean Obeidallah, engaged with Hunter on a variety of topics including White privilege, the existence of a racial divide in the country, the Confederate Flag, and an eyebrow-raising question about returning to the world as an African-American.
When asked what inspired her to have a conversation about race with White media heads, Hunter said she wanted a meaningful discussion with people who are connected to the topics in an organic way.
“I felt compelled to put together a panel to finally have a meaningful conversation about race with people who can actually move the needle on the topic – White men and women in media,” said Karen Hunter, SiriusXM host. “Race is the one topic we are afraid to tackle in this country. With this panel, I am hoping to offer SiriusXM listeners nationwide the conversation that is not available anywhere else.”
The conversation was anything but discreet, as views on White privilege and the existence of racism were seen differently in the eyes of the White panelists. While Fugelsang believed America’s progress should be commended, Wise pointed out that work still needs to be done.
“I’m always astounded when White folks use progress from 50 years ago or 100 years ago as a touchstone for something important,” he said. “Let’s be honest, we don’t have a race problem, we have a “White” problem. The reality is White America has been in denial consistently, generation in and generation out, and I’m tired of it.”
Walsh added that Black outcry led to deeper reports on the Michael Brown shooting – but not justice – as several cases against police officers involved in killings related to Black lives lead to non-indictments.
“We’ve seen cases now where the police department does the right thing, but then the situation doesn’t fester,” she said. “It was in the absence of detail and in the disrespect of the body lying in the street. We started hearing young Black people-then activists saying ‘This is what’s happening, we want answers.’”
Audience members also engaged in the conversation when some of the panelists were given a choice — if you could come back to earth as a White or Black person, which would you pick?
Wilkow and Epshteyn both stated they would come back as White people.
The takeaway from the informative and tense debate revealed that while we’re ready to talk about race, it often gets stuck in between the factor of politics. Everyone agreed that race is an underlying factor in police encounters and the recent Charleston shooting, but addressing the leaps and bounds Whites are easily able to make in everyday life is something no one wants to admit.
“White in America” will broadcast on Tuesday, July 7, at 4:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Urban View channel 126 and at 7:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Insight channel 121.
It will re-air Wednesday, July 8 at 12:00 am ET; Saturday, July 11 at 4:00 pm ET; and Sunday, July 12 at 10:00 am ET on SiriusXM on Urban View.
PHOTO CREDIT: SiriusXM