- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2002

A conservative activist says that he was booed, jeered and called "the white man's boy" by a crowd of nearly 300 black reporters and media figures for speaking against reparations at last week's annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, presented his opinions during a Friday debate with Michael Eric Dyson, author and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on "The Case For/Against Reparations for African Americans."
"During the question-and-answer period, Dyson and others in the audience called me ignorant and accused me of being 'the white man's boy,'" Mr. Peterson said. "They attacked my education and the way I speak and told me that I was a pawn for the white man."
He said the reaction from the journalists calls into question their professionalism.
"I always thought that the responsibility of a journalist is to be objective and look at both sides. It seems that these journalists have a personal agenda to get out," he said in an interview yesterday.
The attack on Mr. Peterson continued Tuesday in Mr. Dyson's weekly column in the Chicago Sun-Times.
"If you've ever wondered what a self-hating black man who despises black culture and worships at the altar of whiteness looks like, take a gander at the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson," Mr. Dyson wrote. "In Peterson's mind, black rates of teen pregnancy, the breakdown of the black family and black people's addiction to civil rights advocacy are the unerring symptom of our moral failures."
About Friday's debate, Mr. Dyson wrote, "Mr. Peterson refused to engage in an intellectual or principled defense of his opposition to reparations. Instead, he relied on the heavy-handed emotional antipathy toward black people."
Mr. Peterson was invited by Condace Pressley, president of the black journalists group, to debate Mr. Dyson and argue against reparations.
Miss Pressley and Mr. Dyson did not return calls, and attempts to reach several members of the National Association of Black Journalists' board of directors were unsuccessful.
The 90-minute debate was moderated by Ed Gordon, a former NBC television reporter and host of his own news show on Black Entertainment Television.
The event was part of the five-day conference that included several other speakers, although Mr. Peterson was one of the few conservatives.
Mr. Dyson has written books on race, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and hip-hop. He is best known for his outspoken liberal views, stating last fall that the September 11 attacks were "predictable to a degree due to America's past imperialistic practices."
Mr. Peterson is the conservative author of "From Rage to Responsibility" and a former liberal. He is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Rev. Jesse Jackson, filed by Judicial Watch, that says he was assaulted during a public meeting of Toyota executives and Mr. Jackson in December.
"I've had both of them on my show," said Mark Thompson, a on-air personality at WOL-AM in Baltimore. "I let Jesse talk, which is the best way to deal with him. I would see no reason to have a confrontation with Jesse he defeats himself."
Mr. Peterson countered, "All I can say about reparations to these people is that these professionals, you would think, would be happy with their progress and want to move forward. Instead, they were angry at me and saying I was defending white folks. But my principles apply to all of mankind."

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