By Javier Manjarres
Times must really be getting tough for President Obama when you have someone like Florida Democrat Congressman Alcee Hastings saying that you are shunning the black community. Hastings, who is one of the nicest, most charismatic members of Congress, is also one of those guys who on occasion pulls out the ol’ race card to draw attention to himself or a cause, or both.
Back in the summer of 2012, I ran into Congressman Hastings on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., where he expressed his frustration over the lack of media coverage he was receiving from the Shark Tank, as well as from the rest of the media.
I do vaguely remember Hastings’ little ‘Chick-Fil-A tiff with former Congressman Allen West that came about because West bought lunch from the popular restaurant and fed the Congressional Black Caucus. Keep in mind that West bought the lunch 6 months before the Chick-Fil-A controversy even came to light. West then responded to Hastings in the media, and effectively ‘ate his lunch.’
During a speech at the mid-winter convention of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the congressman said that the Congressional Black Caucus offered up to Obama a list of 61 names of people they felt fit to serve in the President’s new cabinet.
“The Black Caucus of Congress then sent 61 names to the White House,” Hastings recounted. “Time went by. Not one of that 61 was selected – not one.”-Rep. Alcee Hastings
Hastings went on to say he was told by a White House official that Obama favored the ‘white man’s’ newspapers over ‘other’ papers that were ‘down with the struggle.’ Apparently, Obama is only going to spend $650,000 on advertising with Black newspapers, while spending $999,000 with others.
“If I was president of the United States, there is no way in hell that I would raise a billion dollars and don’t spend but a million dollars with people who probably had as much to do with my becoming president as anybody.’-Rep Alcee Hastings
Alcee must really be ticked off by referring to the President’s ‘peeps’as minions, a term often used to belittle a person’s associates or colleagues.
“I did that because I wanted Obama to win the presidency, but I particularly went to the ground in this election to prove to him and his minions that this was territory that had been watered, flowered, grown and harvested long before anybody knew his (expletive) name.”
Hasting criticized several Florida newspapers and local advertisers by name-Sacramento Bee
“Many of the same people that advertise in these [White-owned] publications don’t advertise with you and that’s insulting because we ultimately wind up using the products that they advertise and somehow or another, our news is ignored.”
“It was nine months into the administration before he appointed a single person, not just at the cabinet level …” Hasting recalled. “But when you look at the Schedule 1, Schedule 2, and Schedule 3, none in his first nine months of his administration was from a historically Black college.”
“I said, ‘If you are not sure about whether or not you are Black, look in the (expletive) mirror,’” Hastings recalled. “’And if the mirror does not give you an answer, ask your mama.’
Hastings continued on by saying-
The congressman said White-owned media is failing, in part, because of the rush to beat their competitors.
“The important thing for each of you is to be different from some of them,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about being first; most of you don’t publish but once a week. You’re last, so you can get the (expletive) story straight. And you can be accurate and, quite frankly, accuracy is what this online thing doesn’t allow for because everybody is rushing to be first.”
Like him or not, Hastings deserves credit for calling out President Obama, and drawing attention to what he feels is an unjustified ‘oppression’ of the Black media. On a personal note, I would like to commend Alcee for being so brave for showing support for his beloved Miami Dolphins, who had one of the worst seasons in team history. Last month, Hastings and I flew on the same flight to Washington, and to my surprise, Hastings was wearing Miami Dolphin gear from top to bottom. This orange and green display of support for the Dolphins prompted me to poke fun at him in front of the entire flight. How could I resist?! Good times and laughs for all. Hastings is a good sport.