By: Joanne Moudy
If you take the best of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, the brilliance of Ben Carson, and add a touch of ethnic humor, you get James T. Harris, one of my favorite talk show hosts on the radio today. Broadcasting from the desert in Old Pueblo on 104.1, KQTH in Tucson, AZ, James T. is the quintessential Tea Party conservative, devout Christian and a dedicated father of three – all rolled into one . . . Oh yeah, and he’s black.
He’s the kind of guy I hate to argue with, which is why I don’t. I recently sat down with him and had a heart to heart about why the black leadership today is failing its own people. James T. doesn’t mince words and never leaves a doubt about where he stands.
Me; “Do you think Obama failed the black people in this country, and if so, why?”
James T.; “Absolutely. Americans of African descent had very high expectations of the first black president. The President was given – I say ‘given’ – everything he needed to be successful. Everything! Yet the very group that propelled him to victory – twice – still has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Add to that the ridiculous murder and incarceration rate, coupled with illiteracy and dependency on government handouts, and you have nothing short of a narcissistic despot who, by all statistical evidence, has failed black people – miserably.
“Obama is an ideologue who used race to advance his agenda; he didn’t have black folks’ back.”
Me; “Considering what happened during the race riots in L.A. in the 60’s and more recently in Ferguson, MO, why – when black people riot – do they burn down their own neighborhoods?”
James T.; “Some would point you to America’s racial history as an excuse for rioting and looting. I’m too young for the Civil Rights generation’s melodramatic view of the ‘cup of sorrows.’ A perfect example of my early skepticism was the OJ decision. I was on – what the Civil Rights crew would consider – the ‘wrong side’; I always believed he was guilty of murder even though Mark Furman used the N-word.
“Let’s be honest. Black men have been acquitted of killing white people but the whites don’t react with mass violence. Whites don’t riot or burn down their own neighborhoods. It’s absolutely illogical that blacks do it. I mean, I used to think, what’s the point?”
Me; “I can’t see any, except to exploit the situation.”
James T.; “Exactly. And why is it beneficial to exploit black people? That’s the heart of the question – one that has plagued the black community for half a century. It’s a question that has left a myriad of sociological, philosophical and psychological babble in its wake . . . and the answer is full of complexity.
“It’s a question I asked my own father and I imagine every cognizant black person has asked at least once in his or her life. The worst part is; we seem to be moving away from sanity and into a deeper, darker hole.”
Me; “Do you have any theories?”
James T.; “The answer depends on which generational goggles you are wearing. I’m an old Gen-X-er, sandwiched between idealist (Civil Rights) Baby Boomers and angry (It’s a black ‘thang’ you wouldn’t understand) Gen-X activists.
“However, no matter what your generation, there are some things in life you just don’t do. I tell my own kids, ‘Don’t be stupid.’ As the great Jim Croce sang,
‘You don’t tug on Superman’s Cape,
You don’t spit into the wind,
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim . . . (or the police).’
“If my kids can remember that, then they probably won’t get into trouble with the cops.”
Me; “I remember that song well, I used to have all his albums.”
James T.; “Croce’s verse was iconic. His message was simple. There are some things you just don’t do. Like you don’t mess around where you eat. And if you don’t fit, don’t force it. Again, these were sayings and songs my generation grew up with.”
Me; “How has this mess in Ferguson affected you?”
James T; “It hasn’t. That’s just it. It shouldn’t be affecting anyone except the people in that community. Unfortunately, according to the Grand Jury testimonies, the kid did everything wrong. And now because the White House, Justice Department and Civil Rights charlatans like Sharpton and Jackson found a crisis to exploit, Michael Brown’s family and all the folks in the vicinity have to pay in unrest and property damage. It’s nauseating.”
Me; “And yet as a conservative commentator you definitely have something to say. So, how do you impact conversation in Tucson (and world-wide) as a member of the media?”
James T.; ““Black and angry was never my style. I blame my parents. They didn’t allow it, nor did they allow me to make excuses for any of my failures. I know I just dated myself by quoting Croce. And any time I hit the Conservative button, I am outed as an American of African descent. I choose that language, instead of African American, because ‘African American’ is now synonymous with those who need the government to support them – or the unelected ‘community leaders’ (organizers) to speak for them. I frequently say on my show, ‘It’s the culture stupid!’
“I also never watched Mississippi Burning and was never a fan of Driving Miss Daisy, the Butler, DJango, or The Help. Those movies, while based on history, did not give rise to healthy, constructive conversation. They had a political agenda that was to enflame the population, not cure the anger.
“My motto is: ‘It’s only racist if you want it to be.’ That gives people the benefit of the doubt until their brand of –ism can be confirmed. This is the message I spread on radio and the stage.”
Me; “Talk radio is your third incarnation. You started your career as a teacher, then spent a decade as a national speaker before morphing into a radio talk show host. Was this always the plan? (Laughing).
James T.; Plan? No, The only constant has been loving my Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I mean think about it. If you love God with all your heart and love you neighbor as yourself, there wouldn’t be a need for ninety percent of today’s government or laws.
“The rest of my life has been a grand adventure that has included travelling the world, marrying a beautiful lady, raising three kids and a dog. I’ve always been political and very opinionated. I’ve been very blessed to be a teacher of some sort in each of my incarnations.”
Me; “Do you think America can get out of this tragic mess and eventually reunite as Americans, instead of Blacks versus Whites? I mean do you see a way forward for race relations in America?”
James T.; “Oh yeah, and it’s death. The Civil Rights generation must pass away before the ‘cup of sorrows’ can be poured out – never to be filled again. Is that harsh? Just look at Ferguson. The new black anger has no context. It’s not personal – it’s political.
“Until individuals are willing to move forward, willing to give the benefit of the doubt and take responsibility for their own individual actions, they will be slaves to the doomed collective. It’s time to break those bonds and cast aside the exploitation because Socialism always fails, no matter the agenda.