Atheist billboard sparks debate on issues of bible, slavery and race

African-Americans have charged that the country’s leading civil rights organization for atheists is tone-deaf in terms of its messaging about Pennsylvania’s “year of the Bible.” American Atheists erected a billboard quoting the bible verse “Slaves obey your masters!” depicting an enslaved man with a barbed metal collar around his neck.

A number of African Americans say the campaign was ill-advised and illustrates the disconnect between the organization and people of color. American Atheists counters that the ad was intended to provoke and to show that the bible does promote racist ideals and that viewers’ anger is misplaced.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with AJ Johnson, development director of American Atheists, and Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, author of “Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars,” to discuss the campaign.


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GOP making progress in outreach to African Americans, expert says

As the GOP continues to rebuild its image in the wake of an election that saw constituents of color and different ethnic backgrounds vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, Republicans have started several outreach programs to gain popularity among these groups.

Most notably the issue of immigration has forced the GOP to re-evaluate its position on the matter with many politicians paying attention to the prominence of Latinos in the U.S.

However, the GOP is also focusing on outreach to African Americans.

The most recent step in this goal includes the hiring of Raffi Williams by the Republican National Committee to serve as the group’s deputy press secretary. Williams is the 24-year-old son of commentator Juan Williams.

The hiring is seen by some as a step in the right direction and now puts GOP chair Reince Priebus in the lead against President Barack Obama in terms of African American hires since his re-election.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with conservative political commentator Raynard Jackson to discuss the forward progress of the Republican Party in terms of its outreach to African Americans.


Film, Lyrics Bring Back Mississippi Racial Crime Into Public Spotlight

In 1955, a 14-year-old Chicago youth named Emmett Till was visiting family in Mississippi where two men abducted Till and later murdered him, throwing his mutilated body into a river. A jury had found the two men not guilty, but they later admitted to the murder to a journalist.

Fifty-seven years later, Till is back in the news—one for the play-turned-film “Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till” and the other for Lil Wayne’s controversial rap lyrics referencing Till’s beating that have now been removed by Epic Records.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with actor Mike Wiley and director Rob Underhill to discuss the play-turned-film “Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till” and the Epic Records decision.


Organization Works to Reverse Negative Images of African Americans in Media

A new recent study has revealed that 86 percent of images and stories told of African Americans are related to crime, but one organization has been trying to reverse that very image.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Pittsburgh-based rapper and social commentary Jasiri X to discuss One Hood Media and reversing this trend.

From Lincoln to Bush–and Potentially Romney: How the Republican Party Lost the African American Vote

“Does the Republican Party really want more African Americans?” That’s what filmmaker Kevin J. Williams asked before setting out on a non-partisan journey to find out why there are so few black Republicans.

Williams and wife and producer Tamara Williams tackled this question and what it means for the future of the two-party political system in the new documentary, “Fear of a Black Republican.”

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Kevin and Tamara to discuss what they sought to reveal in the film and the troubles and triumphs faced in the production.


What the Conventions Did for the African American Vote

Now that the Republican and Democratic conventions have finished, pundits, political analysts and more are examining the platforms, the speeches and what it all means for voters.

While the Democratic National Convention escaped unscathed, the Republican National Convention was tarnished temporarily due to a peanut-throwing incident involving an African American camerawoman for CNN and a couple of older white male attendees.

Despite the incident taking up the headlines for several days, the GOP released its platform in Tampa, Fla., days ahead of the DNC announcing its platform in Charlotte, N.C.

To discuss the conventions and their impact on the African American vote, host Jamila Bey held a panel discussion:



Sally Kohn, a writer, activist and frequent television commentator for Fox News

Shirley Husar, an urban conservative freelance writer for Washington Times

Steven Gray, a columnist and contributing editor at The Root

Tara Conley, founder and president of Media Make Change

Kevin Williams, director of the documentary “Fear of a Black Republican”

Tamara Williams, producer of the documentary “Fear of a Black Republican”

Bey also recapped the conventions and their impact on the African American vote with Voice of Russia correspondent Carmen Russell-Sluchansky: