- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A Baltimore news anchor, Mary Bubala, was just fired after asking an interview guest, on live WJZ-TV, if it were time for the city to see “a different kind of leadership,” given the beleaguered status of its last three mayors.

Bubala’s crime?

She mentioned the last three mayors were female and black.

That sent the likes of the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists into an uproar. According to NBC News, one past BABJ president, Nicki Mayo, watched the segment of Bubala speaking of the need for new city leadership and said, “I’m not even sure I want to hear the excuse for this. I’m cringing and cursing.”

The BABJ then demanded Bubala apologize on air for what the group deemed racist and sexist remarks.



But why? 

Truly, Bubala’s the victim here — not the black community. 

Here’s what Bubala said on live TV, while speaking with Loyola University Maryland professor Karsonya Whitehead, NBC reported: “We’ve had three female, African-American mayors in a row. They were all passionate public servants. Two resigned, though. Is this a signal that a different kind of leadership is needed to move Baltimore City forward?”

It’s worth noting the most recent mayor, Catherine Pugh, just resigned amid FBI and state investigations about possible kickbacks from the sales of her “Healthy Holly” book. Sheila Dixon, who served as mayor from 2007 to 2010, also resigned in disgrace, ceding her post as part of a plea deal in which she admitted to embezzlement and perjury.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took over for Dixon in 2010, won election to a full term in 2011, but decided against a reelection run in 2016. Her claim to fame? She says she left the city in better shape than when she took over, but it was under Rawlings-Blake’s tenure that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch launched a massive federal civil rights inquiry into Baltimore’s police department.

It’s with all that as a backdrop, and more, that Bubala wondered aloud about the future direction of city leadership. 

“The question implies race and gender are qualifiers in one’s ability to lead while also demonizing African Americans and women as poor leaders,” the BABJ said in a statement. Or, not. Perhaps it implies a train of thought about scandal-plagued city governance that wasn’t quite verbalized in full.

The BABJ added: “We feel certain Bubala would not have asked this same question of white male leadership.”

Disagree. But who’s to say? How would the BABJ know that for sure?

Bubala said on Twitter, in an apology, that she “asked a question that did not come out the way I intended.”

That makes sense.

Only those who see race and gender as constant wars to wage wouldn’t accept Bubala’s explanation.

It just defies logic that someone who’s worked in Baltimore television for 22 years and at a single station for 15 years, as Bubala said she did at WJZ-TV, could do so as a secret, closeted racist who one day, suddenly and inexplicably, slipped and revealed an inherent all-along disdain for blacks. And women. And black women, especially.

It defies logic to refuse to give Bubala, after 15 years at this one station, the benefit of the doubt and accept her explanation as truth.

But more than that, it defies logic to not take a deeper look to the elephant in the room here, the one named Hypocrisy.

How can the BABJ stand so tall and mighty at the anti-discrimination podium when its very organizational name suggests discrimination? So, too, the National Association of Black Journalists and all its other state chapters around the country? Just a thought.

Here’s another, for all those tolerance pushers that predominate the left — the very same ones who are no doubt cheering Bubala’s firing right now: Sometimes, people slip up and say things that don’t come out quite the way they intended. But the country shouldn’t be so poised to jump on those slips so as to rush headlong and gleefully toward ruining careers and characters.

The BABJ, in this case as well as in others, shouldn’t be so sensitive about a white person’s remarks as to immediately cry racism — particularly when the BABJ could stand a bit of introspection on that very same point.

One takeaway? Sometimes, just sometimes, white people really aren’t racist. Sometimes, accusations of racism are truly unfounded. Sometimes, blacks are just plain wrong.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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