A quote similar to the one in this commentary's headline was coined and made popular 62 years ago (the year one of us was born) by Art Linkletter, the popular pioneer daytime talk show host in the early years of television. But Art said, "Kids say the darndest things."
There are big differences between the things white dudes say and the things kids say. The things white dudes say are not as cute and the things kids say are not as predictable. The prevailing similarity to kids, however, among more and more high profile white dudes is the lack of a filter so what comes up, comes out...especially regarding race.
The latest example is Chris "Mad Dog" Russo's declaration on his Sirius XM show that there are no black hosts whom he would deem "worthy" of doing a national sports radio show on a subscription radio service such as Sirius XM. And, if they could find one with the right resume, of course they would hire him.
Now that's a dog whistle statement on steroids. Translation: "We're absolutely not racist and we'd love to hire an African American, but we just can't find one that's qualified." That's what black folks heard, except Mad Dog had the unmitigated supremacy to express that there are no black hosts that he would deem worthy. Remind us who made you lord and savior again Mad Dog?
Russo was clarifying himself to a middle-aged guy and regular listener, disgusted by what Russo said. Undoubtedly, as a sports radio fan, this guy experiences the conspicuous dearth of African-American sports radio hosts every day. Plus, being an African-American man, it's quite likely that at some point and time in his life, he was the victim of the same racist excuse. Because it's the same old bu...... ("bovine excrement") that white dudes have been saying since they've been forced to explain the absence of African Americans in their work environments.
At least LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was honest as he explained to his slightly African-American girlfriend, "We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture and I don't want to change it."
Now, that was truly well spoken Donnie. Is it a culture of racism? Most def. Is it a culture of discrimination? You got that right. Is it a culture tolerant of the devastating impact of prejudice and power on the lives of people of color? Preach! Is it a culture that provokes and promotes negative racial stereotypes behind closed doors? Let the church say Amen.
Here're some facts about sports radio:
• It is the fastest growing radio format among African-American radio listeners.
• The sports radio format had the highest concentration of black male listeners at nearly 86 percent.
• African-American sports radio listeners have higher incomes and have higher educational attainment than their counterparts on any other radio format.
Everyone understands that black people are not just dark white people in terms of perspectives, opinions and life experience. So, based on those realities and considering the huge success of radio personalities such as Stephen A. Smith, Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner, wouldn't it make great business sense to hire some hosts to inculcate some diverse perspectives into the overwhelmingly lilly white sports radio environment?
Now, if you believe sports radio networks are actively and aggressively seeking African-American talent to host some of their network programming, hold your hands up high so we can see them. That's pretty ridiculous huh? But which is more ridiculous, the notion that we could actually see your hands or that anybody really believes that to raise their hand at all?
There are wonderful things in radio that just happen to be "R" words like: Reach, Ratings, Recognition and Revenue. How ridiculous would it be to allow a four-letter R-word like Race to restrict or remove the aforementioned four?
Speaking of R's, "A Little R&R on Sports" is a nationally syndicated weekend sports entertainment show on the Sports Byline network (America's first sports radio network) on 175+ radio stations, I-Heart Radio, 500 American Forces Radio outlets and many other platforms. The show has two atypical sports radio co-hosts, African-Americans guys from the South of different generations and with great chemistry. It's intelligent, entertaining, growing in national audience reach and ratings as well as generating national ad revenue.
But are we worthy? We don't know. You'll have to ask Mad Dog.
(Howard Robertson and Larry Robinson are co-hosts of "A Little R&R on Sports.")