Marc A. Medley answers questions about African-American concerns

Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.



Hello. By way of introducing myself, I am Marc A. Medley and amid many other responsibilities, I am a radio talk show host. I host The Reading Circle with Marc Medley each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET on WP88.7 FM and As I answer these questions, I offer the disclaimer that I am not speaking as the spokesperson for the African American/Black community. I am speaking solely based on my opinions and beliefs. In too many instances when one African American/Black person speaks, it is taken that he/she is speaking for the entire race, when indeed that is not the case. I cannot speak for how other African Americans may feel as I can only speak what I believe or voice my opinions or concerns. So as I answer these questions, please keep in mind the views and opinions are solely my own and are not affiliated with my hosting of my radio show or my profession as an elementary school principal. These responses are my own.


(Q) There is no question that African Americans suffered a battery of discriminatory behavior that has negatively scarred U.S. history. Have things changed?  

(A) Historically, things have changed; however it seems the more things change the more things stay the same. For example the recent events around the country are very reminiscent of the events that were occurring in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, some of the verbiage on the signs are the exact same words. Even when listening to the words and music to songs such as What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, we see that the same song lyrics would apply in 2014 heading into 2015.

(Q)According to Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. history has not being fair (  As other books show, one third of slave masters were also African Americans according to not just his, but other African American scholars. What is your take on this? Is this research bias and why if you agree? 

(A) After quickly skimming the article mentioned in the question, what popped into my mind was this whole notion of green power surpassing both black and white power. It seems just as economics was a part of whites owning slaves, because power was also a part of that, economics factored into African Americans being slave masters as well. That’s the only thing I could think of that would lead one African-American to be the slave master of another, yet still today we have black on black crime.

(Q) They were other minorities that came later on the “Great Arrival” years that also suffered from these persecutions. That includes Germans and also Italians. How did they manage to go through? 

(A)For every other race, there was the ability to get by or to “pass” because of the color of their skin. Germans and Italians looked like any other white person; however, African-Americans can never hide the color of his or her skin. The fact that the Germans, Italians and other groups possessed Caucasian skin, they were able to assimilate with the masses. It is the same thing that feeds into white privilege.

(Q) Was Eric Garner’s, case significantly different than that of Michael Brown, and were both cases trialed differently considering the evidence? Was Derek Wilson’s case evidence solid to support his release?  

(A) The similarities for me is the fact that both Eric Garner and Michael Brown were allegedly breaking the law. There is no question that the laws they were breaking were no cause for them to deserve to die; however they were breaking the law nonetheless. I work with children every day and the message I work to get across to them is, do not do anything to cause your path to cross with the police, because once the police become involved you have no control over the direction that events will take. So the best thing is not to do anything that will cause your involvement with the police. On rare cases will someone who has not done anything illegal encounter with the police, particularly facing police brutality. That is not to say that it has not happened, because it has; however it is extremely rare compared with someone who has broken the law and is now encountering with the police. I am not sure on how solid the evidence was one way or the other so therefore I will refrain from commenting on that portion of the question.

(Q) Has the media considering both cases done an aesthetic job on their quest to make good news from Ferguson case a reliable story?  

(A) Unfortunately, good news does not sell. The media has done everything in its power to stoke the flames, no pun intended. Stories such as Ferguson and all of these other cases feed into ratings which feed into advertising dollars. The media has a vested interest in keeping stories like these going.

(Q) In your opinion, why did the cop who chocked Eric Gardner did got indicted by the jury? Was it a fair process?

(A)  The results of this trial baffled me as have many others particularly when a video is involved. Obviously the jury had something that we lay viewers did not have in order for them to come to the decision or they knew of some loophole that we did not know of that would allow them to go against what everyone in America and around the world saw on the video. During the O.J. Simpson trial when he was acquitted, the jurors were called all types of names including stupid, ignorant, crazy, etc. etc. etc. yet I did not hear the jurors in either the Gardner or Brown case called any of those names.

In fact, during the O.J. Simpson trial there was talk of changing the entire jury selection process based on the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, again I heard no talk of that with the Gardner or Brown case. The only difference was this was now an African-American who was being acquitted of a crime most people thought he committed. The tables were turned and because the tables were turned something must’ve been wrong with the jury or selection process, yet, historically the majority of white criminals were set free by white juries. It is for this reason we are seeing or experiencing the reaction that we are experiencing to the Gardner, Brown, Martin and so many other cases dating back to Emmet Till and before.

(Q) Overall, cops have a bad reputation. And many of them, evidently go a step too far when indicting a quick judgment. Are cops in your opinion a good leeway for justice? Would African American communities be better off without them patrolling their neighborhoods?

(A) I just posted on Twitter today, if we were all doing the right thing there would be really no need for policing other than to provide assistance in a medical emergency. I believe just as with any other profession you have good cops and you have bad cops; no different from you have good teachers and you have bad teachers, no different from you have good preachers and you have bad preachers no different from you have good lawyers and you have bad lawyers no different from you have good media and you have bad media. So the question is not are they a good leeway for justice because they are doing their jobs.

Their jobs are designed to do what they are doing and it ought to be up to us to not break laws to cause ourselves to cross their paths as a result of our breaking laws. To answer the last part of the question…… no, African-American communities would not be better off if the police were not in their communities. African-Americans are human beings just like anyone else, so unless no neighborhoods were patrolled, then African-American neighborhoods ought not to be treated any differently. Either we are all patrolled or we are none patrolled.

(Q) Ethnic differences seem to be a big issue everywhere in the world. But in America, recent statistics show that African American crime rates on average, top any other ethnic group. Here is data that supports the following brought by the FBI, “According to the BJS non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the prison and jail population in 2009, with whites 34.2%, and Hispanics 20.6%. The incarceration rate of black males was over 6 times higher than that of white males, with a rate of 4,749 per 100,000 US residents.” Why is the African American crime rate that high? And is it fair to point and admit that as of today, African Americans are the most disruptive ethnic group in the US?

(A) The answer to why the African American crime rate is so high is a dissertation in and of itself. There are too many variables including what I mentioned earlier this whole notion of white privilege that has been experienced by the white community from the beginning. Even with that being said I refuse to make excuses for anyone committing a crime, but do realize everything that has occurred between the ethnic groups contributes to what we are seeing today. To quote Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” In other words, everyone is being affected indirectly by the ethnic group that was so affected directly as a result of slavery.

(Q) Has the drug world altered the crime rates in black American communities since its early introduction in the 70’s?

(A) This is going to be probably a standard answer to that question but it happens to be the truth; cheap drugs such as crack was introduced in the African-American community, and many of the “salespersons” ultimately wind up being arrested, while the suppliers who generally are hidden or undercover living in suburban areas never get caught.

So you have a high number of African-Americans going to jail a $10 vial of crack or a $10 bag of weed while the supplier is sitting in a 5 to 10 bedroom luxury house, working on Wall Street, driving a Mercedes and is not a suspect. African-Americans who are being arrested in these communities are not bringing these drugs into the country. So yes, it has altered the crime rate, as you have a volume of individuals who are being arrested for the low-cost drugs while drugs such as heroin, PCP, cocaine, etc. etc. are in the homes in the suburbs and are not distributed on the streets.

(Q) According to the FBI 2014,”93% of blacks are killed by other blacks,” and apparently only 30% who are suspect for murder charges are never caught (shows something about police effectiveness). Should those statistics reflect the black on black crime phenomena to not be taken into bigger headlines, considering the mainstreams medias attention only showing cases of whites on blacks, that only accounts to less of 2%, of black murder rates? 

(A) Black on black crime is not a media sensation, and the only reason a white on black killing is a media sensation is because of the historical nature of race relations. At the end of the day, a life is lost whether it was lost by the hands of a white man with a gun or a black man with a gun, a life was still lost. That’s why I started the hash tag #haveregardsforalllives. A life is a life is a life.

(Q) They are other ethnic minorities who also live on Ghettos or poor income areas when they first moved to the US, for opportunities. Let’s look at Africans from Somalia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Somalia…As minorities they also hold good levels of education. How can it be, that considering the crime rates, these new ethnic groups have is there significantly lower average crime wise than African Americans Per ca-pita? (on average they share the exact same neighborhoods)   

(A)When these groups come to the US, they are so appreciative of the opportunities afforded here compared to the opportunities afforded in their countries, they are more than willing to do what is necessary to move ahead, and in fact, in many instances they see what we do here as easy particularly when it comes to education. Secondly, members of these groups are not going to do anything that might get them sent back to the country they came from and being arrested or getting into legal trouble is one of the easiest ways to be deported.

(Q) The above also shows that most of the “African” minorities have a higher level of income, and relevant employment levels, compared to those of African Americans. If racism is indeed a problem, how could you explain these minorities doing fairly better on terms of success (employment, job creation, education, lower crime, higher standard of living…)?

(A) African-Americans born in the U.S .have nothing to compare to. Africans and others coming from other countries compare what it is like in their country to what it is like in our country and as a result are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Unfortunately, and this is strictly my view based on my experience, too many African-Americans born in the U.S. take what we have for granted. Others coming from other countries do not take what we have here in the U.S. for granted and are grateful to do what is asked of them to succeed.

(Q) The introduction of rap music concerns people. Does it not influence negativity the resurgence of gangs, since these cultures follow a stereotype with a dress code, that not only degrades women on their lyrics, but exalts money, deals with drugs, and revolves on a world of violence to resolve personal conflicts? Does the African American community condone these movements and their apparent lyrics that define their personal urban culture? 

(A) As I said in my disclaimer, I do not speak for the entire African-American community, as I speak for myself. With that said, in my view there is no question that the negative rap music has a negative influence because words are powerful. Generally, what you take in subconsciously manifests its way outwardly. If the only thing you listen to is about killing, raping, name-calling, etc. etc., eventually that’s what you’re going to do.

I share with the young ladies that I speak with the fact that they control the power in terms of the sales of negative rap music. What I mean by that is if each time they were going out on a date or in a car with a young man that was playing that type of music that was degrading to women, they were to let the young man know that if you’re listening to that you cannot be with me; eventually the young man would stop buying that type of music. As long as the females sit and listen and except music that is obviously degrading them it will continue. What you allow will continue.

(Q) Finally, is race and crime a formula for stereotypes that degrade the innocent? That is, if African American crime rates stall high enough as the statistics clearly show, is it not going to draw more police surveillance and more chances to mistakenly target innocent people? If African American crime rates fell to a record low, and ethnic stereotypes continued, would it not be a more conclusive argument regarding ethnic intolerance from cops considering crime would no longer be an issue? What can it be done to achieve that goal to eliminate that stereotype and what do you suggest?

(A) First thing, there is no such thing as a good stereotype. When it is all said and done, we all regardless of race, color, or ethnicity need to follow the laws of the land. At the same time, qualified people of all races need to be hired based on qualifications and not on skin color. Unfortunately there were too many times when the most qualified person was indeed the African-American and he or she did not get the job because he or she was African-American.

When this happens time and time and time again, there is nothing left but crime. That is what I was speaking about in my earlier answer concerning the variables that feed into the high crime rates. Again, I am by no means excusing crime or breaking the law, however; there are too many variables to even begin to discuss why crime rates are where they are within the African-American community. It baffles my mind of the crime rate in the United States period, let alone when you start breaking down race, gender, and ethnicity. I really don’t understand why folks just can’t do the right thing.


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