Former President of the National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ As Only Group to Block LGBT Journo Group is 'Urban Myth' (Plus: Audio from the Michelangelo Signorile Show)

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"UNITY" has been a bit fractured ever since the National Association of Black Journalists pulled out
Earlier this week, the Voice went on SiriusXM's Michelangelo Signorile Show to talk about our experiences at the UNITY convention.

As we noted, this was the first UNITY without the official participation of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). It was also the first UNITY with the participation of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). Many members of NABJ still attended, including NABJ president Gregory Lee, who we interviewed.

NABJ's departure from UNITY and NLGJA's inclusion were not directly related to each other. Yet as we wrote, there was the appearance that the two were linked because of the timing, and there were feelings of unease between some members of both groups (particularly in that the name was changed from "UNITY: Journalists of Color" to simply "UNITY: Journalists").

We also reported that several people at UNITY told us that, though NABJ had not departed because of NLGJA, they had been the only group to vote, in the past, against NLGJA joining. (In the embedded audio of our post, current NABJ president Gregory Lee addressed this.)

But two other reputable sources contacted us to counter this claim. We updated our last post with a note from John Yarwood, former UNITY board member, to say it was not mathematically possible for NABJ to be the sole group to have blocked NLGJA.

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Gregory Lee, President of National Association of Black Journalists, On the NABJ/UNITY Split, Money, and NLGJA [AUDIO]

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Steven Thrasher
Gregory Lee (foreground) of NABJ in a heated exchange with LZ Granderson of ESPN and Mark Whitaker of CNN

Updated below, with a message from former UNITY board member John Yearwood.

Greetings from New York, New York (the city, not the casino) as the Voice has returned from the 2012 UNITY convention in Las Vegas.

The elephant in the room for UNITY, as CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker acknowledged in UNITY's first panel, was the absence of the National Association of Black Journalists.

For many years, multiple groups of minority journalists (NABJ, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, and the Native American Journalists Association) would meet every four years in what became the largest "Journalists of Color" convention in the world (and the largest gathering of journalists, period, in the United States). But in a highly public battle, NABJ decided it would not participate in UNITY 2012 about a year ago.

Meanwhile, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association joined UNITY a few months later. The formal name "UNITY Journalists of Color" was changed to simply "UNITY Journalists."


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How Will Rodney King's Death Affect Today's Stop and Frisk March?

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The reminder of police brutality couldn't be clearer, the timing couldn't be more creepy: as many New Yorkers prepare to join the NAACP's Silent March to End Stop and Frisk, Rodney King was declared dead.

King, arguably the most famous American victim of police brutality, has had a very difficult time in the more than two decades since the Los Angeles Riots, which were triggered after a jury failed to convict the officers who'd beaten him on camera. His Sunset Boulevard like death, reportedly at the bottom of a swimming pool, has endless allegorical meaning to his life in Los Angeles, Hollywood's history of broken dreams, and to King's troubled attempts at the periphery of celebrity and money to stay clean and sober.

Interestingly, today's march will be silent, and so we can't imagine King's death is going to cause any riots or even much more sound. Most of the signs have already been printed.

But the timing of King's death does something important to the march, largely lost in the media the past week.

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Betty White Meets Obama, Drops "White Power" Presidential Bid

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Pete Souza/The White House
The black/gay "Kumbaya" moment continues.

First we had President Barack Obama support same-sex marriage, followed by the NAACP and a bevy of black leaders getting on the gay rights bandwagon.

Then we had Gay Inc support the end of racial profiling.

And now we have gay icon Betty White meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office yesterday. The 90-year-old Golden Girls star recently endorsed Obama. This must mean she has given up running for president herself, on the controversial "White Power" party line, as she told Craig Ferguson she was planning to do last October.

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Gay Inc Takes On Stop and Frisk, the NAACP Goes to the Stonewall Inn, and Other Signs of the "Black/Gay Divide"

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Once gay pride goes black, apparently, it doesn't go back
So, the promised fallout between blacks and gays continues!

Four weeks after President Obama came out for same-sex marriage, today will see one of the most significant signs of a new alliance between traditional race-based civil rights groups and the current wave of LGBT oriented civil rights groups yet. At 4:00 PM, a cadre of gay organizations (including Lambda Legal, HRC, GLAAD, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, ESPA and GMHC) will be present at the Stonewall Inn, joined by Al Sharpton and the NAACP (marking the first time we've ever gotten a press release from the venerable civil rights organization telling us to meet them at a gay bar). Together, the groups will announce a new unified front in fighting "stop and frisk," the NYPD's practice of stopping, almost exclusively, black and Latino young men.

But, wait a second...what happened to Obama's support of same-sex marriage? The National Organization for Marriage, Touré and Rev. Ruben Diaz promised it would drive a wedge between the gays and the blacks and Hispanics.

Today's event shows, as Pam Spaulding and we have tried to point out again and again and again over the past few weeks, that black homophobia is overblown hokum. It also shows that the organizations that make up "Gay Inc" are not as white-washed as their critics sometimes claim.

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Obama Finally Loses Support Of A Black Leader Over Gay Marriage, And It's...Farrakhan!

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Over the past few weeks, we've been waiting for some fallout -- any fallout -- with black Americans over President Obama's support for same-sex marriage. Instead of the promised backlash, we've mostly heard the sound of crickets (unless you count the sounds of support from a majority of polled black voters, Will Smith, Colin Powell, 50 Cent, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jay-Z, most of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cory Booker and the nation's only black governor).

Other than a few Christian ministers, virtually no other black national leaders (cultural, political or business) have come out against Obama's support for same sex marriage.

But now one famous infamous black leader has, and it's...Louis Farrakhan!

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NY Post's Abby Schachter: 'The Left' Is Unpatriotic for Complaining About Racism

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This happened.
Did you know that complaining about racism makes you unpatriotic and means that you have a (bad) attitude toward America?

Well, it doesn't, but that's what the New York Post's Abby Schachter suggests.

"Bill Maher pretty much summed up the left's attitude toward the United States when he declared that Barack Obama came up from poverty to become 'the first black president of the racist states of America,' she writes.

For Schachter, of course, this is evidence that, "according to liberals like Maher, nothing has changed in all that time. This country is racist, many liberals believe, so it ever was and so it shall ever be. The election of a black president has done nothing to change our nation's true nature, says the left, because at its heart this is a racist country."

Somehow, Maher's one comment corroborates something about all liberals and suggests that white people get the short end of the stick. Oh, and apparently, the Trayvon Martin case is an example of "the liberal racist narrative."

She really said all this!

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Jezebel's Guide to 'Hipster Racism' Examined: Is 'Thug' Off-Limits?

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Jezebel's Lindy West has just weighed in on hipster racism, joining the ranks of many who have recently felt compelled by Girls to comment on cool kids' ostensible obsession with all things white.

Now, most of the author's "complete guide" is pretty solid. Basically, West makes the argument that ironic racism -- people pretending to say or subtly implying racist things instead of actually saying them -- has replaced the more overt bigotry of the past.

Some examples cited by West include Navajo panties, white people getting upset that they can't use the n-word for "literary" reasons, and white people thinking that American racism in the U.S. is over because Barack Obama is president.

We totally buy these examples, and and fully agree that this kind of thinking is as smarmy as overt bias.

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Donna Lieberman, New York Civil Liberties Union Director, on Trayvon Martin

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Turmoil and tension over Trayvon Martin continues to escalate across the U.S. -- now greatly inflamed by a leaked police report -- and intense discussion of the teen's death has continued in New York.

From Sean Bell to Jateik Reed to Ramarley Graham, the NYPD has long had a very strained relationship with young men of color.

The New York Civil Liberties Union feels that these cases emphasize the need for reform in the NYPD. The organization says that current policing tactics disproportionately target blacks and latinos. NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman chatted with Runnin' Scared about how the Trayvon Martin incident affects civil rights and law enforcement in the city. (Runnin' Scared also reached out to the NYPD for comment. We'll update if we hear back.)

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Charles Barron on Ramarley Graham and Trayvon Martin: 'This Madness Must Stop'

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As New York and the rest of the nation demand answers about Trayvon Martin's death, Councilmember Charles Barron delivered a message on the steps of City Hall this afternoon that was alternatively angry and somber.

Barron, joined by Ramarley Graham's parents and the family of Jateik Reed, asked that the February killing of Graham not be forgotten in light of the Sanford, Fla. shooting. Barron, alongside councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Melissa Mark-Viverito, voiced solidarity with Martin's relatives, calling for police accountability and an end to racial profiling.

But Barron, as well as the other electeds and community leaders present, delivered yet another message: Blacks and latinos had had enough, they said, and tension in New York's minority communities could soon come to a critical point.

Indeed, talk at the press conference quickly moved from Ramarley to riots.

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