Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Erik Rush: Too Many Blacks on TV

I’ve never liked seeing black people accuse other blacks of being Uncle Toms or the like, but if ever such a label applied it applies to Erik Rush. Rush is the black Worldnutdaily columnist who actually wrote a book claiming that the central problem in America is “negrophilia” — excessive love of black people. Seriously.

And his latest complaint is that there are too many black people in positions of leadership on television.

As a result of the dim view this president has cultivated, and its potential cultural blowback, it appears that the producers of certain television shows might have come on board to effect damage control in this area. In order to to counter the perception of ineptitude that has come about associated with Obama and his lack of leadership skills, an effort seems to have been made to portray blacks in high places as competent leaders in dramatic roles.

To be fair, some of these occurrences took place prior to Obama actually taking office, but a good case could be made that it was the intent of these organizations to prepare the American public for the leadership of a black individual via positive portrayals of black leaders. I would contend that America needed no such preparation, but that’s another issue. The stronger argument exists in these concerned parties making their efforts in the face of Obama’s subsequent plummeting popularity.

In any case: Within the past two years, the producers of several popular police dramas have made wholesale replacements of Caucasian leadership figures with black characters.

* In Spring of 2009, CBS’ “NCIS” killed off the character in a supervisory role, a Caucasian female, and replaced her with a black male character.

* For more than eight seasons, the head honcho in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (also a CBS property) was a white actor, William Petersen (aka Gil Grissom). In 2009, he was written out of the show and the leadership role was taken over by Ray Langston, played by Laurence Fishburne.

* “Castle” is an ABC Television comedy-drama that premiered in March of 2009. The white protagonist’s boss is played by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (as Captain Roy Montgomery). Santiago-Hudson is black and Latino, as well as a 2009 NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award winner.

* In “Fringe,” a Fox offering that premiered in fall of 2008 (just prior to the election), the director of the scientific and paranormally derived “Fringe Division” of the FBI is played by Lance Reddick, a black actor once again, presiding over an almost exclusively white unit.

* In “The Mentalist,” also by CBS, black actress Aunjanue Ellis plays Madeleine Hightower – the “special agent in charge” of the California Bureau of Investigation.

There is irony to be found here. If you wrote a character as ridiculous as Erik Rush in to a TV show, no one would believe it. Yet he actually exists.