Rolling Out

Wendy Williams and Roland Martin face off on racist remarks; HBCU alum weigh in

Wendy Williams and Roland Martin face off on racist remarks; HBCU alum weigh in
Photo credit: Wendy Williams Show

Recently, TV host Wendy Williams made some offensive comments about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Historically Black College and Universities. “Over the past few days, if you don’t know, I’ve been facing some really harsh criticism from our viewers and other people in the media because of my comments regarding racism,” she said. “One of my biggest critics was journalist and activist Roland Martin, who[m] I’ve known for several years, but he did what he thought he had to do.”

Well, one could’ve assumed that the boisterous daytime talk-show host wasn’t going to take Martin’s backlash lying down. In fact, on Monday’s show that aired on July 11, Williams told her audience that she “had a very interesting conversation on the telephone regarding race” with Martin and that he agreed to appear on Thursday’s episode “to have open dialogue” about the issue. “He’s educated me quite a bit and I hope you can do the same for all of us and we can begin to heal and stop,”

Well, it’s showdown time, and we can’t wait to see the sparks fly on today’s episode.

If you’re unfamiliar with what started the beef, you can get the CliffsNotes version below. It all started with her response to Jesse Williams’ BET Awards acceptance speech:

Jesse Williams speech was very poignant. On the other hand, I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically Black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP.”

As a result, Williams received a lot of criticism for those comments from several sources, some even causing her to lose major advertising dollars. Of course one of the sources included highly respected TV One news commentator Roland Martin. When he entered the picture he proceeded to “school” Williams on the subject at hand. He was quoted as advising Williams to “shut the hell up” about issues she’s not well versed on, and even went as far as calling her “silly.” Martin further took Williams to school by expounding on his points.

“One of the reasons you don’t have historically white universities is because we just simply call them universities. The fact of the matter is you can go around the country and you will see universities, Wendy, that are 70, 80, 90, 95 percent White.” He went on to further question Williams by saying, “You do realize that the NAACP was founded by a mix of folks that were Black and White. Do you realize that the first president of the NAACP, Wendy, was White? If you actually bothered to read something, you would realize that. It’s also called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. White folks have always been members of the NAACP. Always.”

Rolling out decided to take it to the streets and polled several HBCU alum from Grambling State University to hear what they had to say about Williams’ negative comments.

Read the comments for yourself below. We want to hear from you. What do you think of Williams’ racist remarks? Drop a thought or two in the comments section.

Monica Jo “The idiot needs to know that first of all, colleges and universities in the U.S. did not admit Black people. They excluded everyone except White people, so the HBCUs were started to give educational opportunities to the excluded, mainly Black people. HBCU’s never did and still do not exclude non-Black people like other schools in the U.S. did. So HBCU’s are not only for Black people, as that imbecile alluded to. Many HBCUs are attended by a majority of White students. The dummy also needs to know that the NAACP was founded by White people and all races have always been members of the NAACP because it does not exclude any race or ethnicity. This level of ignorance by someone of that age, with that platform is reprehensible and disgusting. I’ll stop now.”

Antoinette Riley “I feel as though if she understood her history, she would not have said that. The NAACP was founded by White and Black people alike and HBCUs were created because at one point, we were not allowed into the universities that white people created. Also, HBCU is historically Black … does not mean Black only. Just because we are historically Black and now we have an integrated nation does not mean that these universities and college will cease to exist. No, that’s silly. What we are doing is evolving. We are inclusive, not exclusive.”

Canisha Tisby “It’s her opinion. I respect that, she thinks it’s racist to use the term HBCU or NAACP, but as someone who is in television, she should have done her homework. Researched or had someone research it for her. Why is an HBCU an HBCU, what exactly does it mean and how did they become an HBCU? She should have looked up what the NAACP did and why they did what they did. What does it stand for and again why does it exist. I mean, there are a lot of questions that she could have asked if she didn’t understand and from what I understand she could have asked some members of her family!! Either way, I think she was trying to sound intelligent by saying that, but she didn’t realize that it showed just exactly how ignorant and unintelligent she really is.”

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