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OPINION | by Staff Writer Orisabiyi Oyin Williams
Tulsa, Okla. – “The Tulsa World” recently published an article with a picture of District 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper and former District 1 City Councilor Jack Henderson. The picture attempted to show “infighting” in the community that isn’t happening.
Like a dance, a fight takes two people and no one is engaging with Henderson, except the media. Henderson took his complaints against Hall Harper to “The Tulsa World,” instead of reaching out to her to discuss his concerns.
Mainstream media locally and nationally is the propaganda arm of white supremacy. This one picture, published by Tulsa’s only daily general interest print newspaper, has caused an uproar within a community. Social media platforms are enflamed with comments and posts, which feed off the narrative that the North Tulsa Community is held back by disagreement. This is manufactured drama to justify the lack of true economic development in North Tulsa.
Images are powerful tools and we must stay vigilant against the use of mainstream media propaganda that seeks to disparage and hamper our community’s growth.
Mainstream media uses this expertly-planned strategy to provide political theater for Tulsans, especially when an important issue that effects the lives of African Americans is at the forefront of public discourse.
Regardless of whether or not you like Hall Harper, the fact is that without her there would be no African American Affairs Commission forming; B.C. Franklin Park would have been nothing but a splash pad; the planned Save A Lot development would just be a rumor; a Family Dollar would have been built in the parking lot of the Gateway Shopping Center; and the Small Business Enterprise program (formerly the Bridge Program) wouldn’t be receiving a much-needed boost, enabling it to receive fair treatment with the City of Tulsa, particularly small black-owned businesses.
Studies have shown that North Tulsans have a life expectancy gap when compared to South Tulsans. North Tulsa residents live 10.7 years shorter than people who live in South Tulsa, but instead of reporting on these important studies and what they mean for the entire city, the media in Tulsa prefer to inflate nonexistent political drama, which must seem more profitable and enjoyable for them.
I am not putting full blame on “The Tulsa World,” because partial blame falls on us, as a community. We have to be intellectually engaged so that we don’t become puppets of white supremacy by being swayed by their propaganda. What keeps us from seeking the truth? A relevant African Proverb says,
“Truth came to market but could not be sold; however, we buy lies with ready cash.”
Is there division in the community politically? Yes, of course!
There is usually a small group of people who plot to sabotage the efforts of others and their motivations stem from a need to nurture their egos. If we are unable to put our ego to the side to join together for the betterment of our community, then we all fail.
In Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu writes, “The heavens attained unity, and became space, Matter attained unity, and became earth; Spirit attained unity, and became mind. Valleys attained unity, and rivers flowed into them.“