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The First 48: Juan Williams, You’re Fired!

October 21, 2010

On the show the First 48, investigators explains that if they do not get a strong lead within the first 48 hours following a murder, their chances of solving the crime is cut in half. I am wondering if the management team at NPR shares this sentiment. I am trying to figure out why would Juan Williams, a long-time NPR analyst and Fox News contributor, be fired for saying he gets nervous whenever he boards an aircraft and see Muslims dressed in garb, etc. I am not saying I support his comments. They are insensitive. But haven’t we witnessed much more insensitive remarks, especially on the O’Reilly Factor, to be more up in arms? So here’s the thing: Williams made the comments on Monday and within 48 hours, on Wednesday, he’s fired; fired from a contract, not regular employment. I am not a big fan of Fox News, though I try to watch it regularly to know what our nemesis is up to, but I was a fan of Juan Williams.

I think Williams had balanced commentaries and views both on NPR and Fox. He wasn’t radical, yet conservative enough for talking heads like Bill O’Reilly to welcome him on the show multiple times without brow-beating him. Now, don’t confuse this op-ed. This is not to rally an opposition protest around Williams firing. It is for us to really take a critical look at the vulnerabilities of Blacks in America. Soledad O’Brien does a great job highlighting the issues that Blacks face. I actually missed her at CNN studios last week but made sure I sent her an email applauding her sagacious efforts.

We have witnessed Whites make much more egregious and bigoted statements against, Blacks, immigrants, Native Americans, and the poor, yet they continue to cash paychecks from news networks and corporations as the endorsement and advertising checks keep rolling in. What does this say? It really underscores my point about rebuilding the Black infrastructure. They can do this because they own “this.” When I say “this,” I mean their infrastructure! They own their banks, hospitals, media, airlines, pharmacies, manufacturing plants, etc. The problem is we tend to ignore and overlook the risks we take everyday not having a black infrastructure set in place once all is well and our payroll checks don’t bounce. We never claim institutional racism when we are part of the institution. We don’t monitor the unemployment rates until we are unemployed. We are not compassionate to the poor until we find ourselves one-week away from being homeless.

There are millions of Black Americans who suppress their true thoughts and actions because they are a part of an infrastructure that controls us? When in fact, the only way to true freedom of speech, the only way to extinguish racial hate, the only way to have fair and unbiased treatment is to become a self-sustainable progressive group; one that is independent of those with low interest in the Black well-being.

It seems like the First 48 hours is the most crucial in taking action towards an issue that may arise but without an ownership stake or a competitive infrastructure, we could be waiting 48 days, 48 weeks or even 48 months for any type of equitable resolution. Take it from me, Juan Williams is not alone. With actions they seem inappropriate, we are all expendable. Until we get our dollars and minds together to collectively erect an infrastructure that creates jobs, wealth and unity, we can expect to continue this tap dance in America that will never allow us the freedom our ancestors died for.

Devin Robinson, Sr. is a business and economics professor and author of Rebuilding the Black Infrastructure: Making America a Colorless Nation and Blacks: From the Plantation to the Prison. Order his books at, or He resides in Atlanta, Ga.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. NJ Gilbert permalink
    October 21, 2010 6:17 pm

    Great Info!!!

  2. October 21, 2010 7:23 pm

    Unbelievable!! That they would fire him for the comment is simply inconceivable and unfair. Bill O’Reilly can make a blatant statement on the View saying that Muslims killed the people of 911 with no recourse, not even a slap on the hand.

    Devin, your comments are right on target. I think when you say we (African Americans) don’t own the infrastructure, you have nailed the problem. Until we are able to build within our communities, financial entities, businesses, etc., something that reflects self-reliance, we will always be at the mercy of unscrupulous people.

    Devin, your article tells the facts as they are. Well done!!

  3. October 21, 2010 7:55 pm

    Great article. The use of knowledge is powerful to seek it will be our strength.

    Lucille Tyler Baldwin

  4. October 22, 2010 4:17 am

    APPLAUDED Thank You Mr. Robinson for again a Awesome post!
    They wanted to fired him all the time, just waiting for the right opportunity. Come on now, was this really the TIME. See that’s the problem, The more they TAKE the Less WE HAVE…When will there be PEACE???

  5. October 22, 2010 4:12 pm

    They both screwed up and if they worked for me, they both would have to go. I understand their points of view. However the generalizations they both used were
    inappropriate for their venues.


  6. November 30, 2010 6:10 pm

    Simply, one of the best article l have come across on this precious subject. I quite agree with your suppositions and will eagerly look forward to your forthcoming updates.

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