http://www.nydailynews.com/news/col/story/377042p-320321c.htmlOn Wednesday morning, I was surfing the radio dial listening to different takes on the transit strike. I accidentally flipped to "Miss Jones in the Morning" on Hot 97. Her discussion of the transit strike was unquestionably the worst I've heard thus far. She was foulmouthed, racist, embarrassingly ignorant and contemptuous of working people. This is the same woman who was recently suspended for ridiculing the tsunami victims.
The comments she made about TWU President Roger Toussaint slandered Caribbean people in this city and disgraced black Americans. After denouncing transport workers as uneducated and overpaid losers who made the wrong choices in high school, which resulted in their driving a bus, she viciously attacked Toussaint. She called him "a dumb coconut who probably don't even have a green card." It was a performance that could well aggravate the already troubled relations between the African-American and Caribbean communities.
Miss Jones' comments demonstrated the worst sort of African-American ignorance of the tremendous contribution that West Indians make to this city today, and their historic contribution to the advancement of black people everywhere.
In his fearless and principled leadership of the Transport Workers Union, Toussaint, from Trinidad, is honoring a glorious ancestral imperative. He is heir to the legacy of such leaders as Ferdinand Smith, the African-Jamaican immigrant who was the principal organizer of the powerful National Maritime Union, which controlled American merchant shipping worldwide in the 1930s and '40s and revolutionized the status of seamen.
Like his predecessors, Toussaint envisions the question of justice for workers as a fundamental human-rights issue. The wisdom of his choices is a matter for history to decide.
But the wisest minds among black Americans and West Indians have always known that the mutual enmities and ethnic chauvinisms that poison relations between these two neo-African peoples is dangerous folly.
Many African-Americans are outraged at the kind of ignorant racist propaganda leveled at the Caribbean community by Miss Jones, and we are prepared to support any effort to challenge the license of Hot 97, which is a menace to the youths of this city in more ways than I can list here.
The black labor leaders throughout American history are far too numerous to mention, and new heroes are born every day - Toussaint among them in the eyes of many municipal workers.