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Cleveland Broadcaster Gets the Boot for Referring to Kamala Harris as ‘Colored’


A radio announcer in Cleveland, Ohio was fired for referring to Senator Kamala Harris as America’s “first colored vice presidential candidate.

He’s 26-year-old Kyle Cornell and made the announcement during the broadcast of a Cleveland Indians baseball game this past Wednesday on WTAM 1100, the same night that Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president.

During the broadcast, Cornell said, “The U.S. officially has its first colored vice presidential candidate. More coming up after the game on Newsradio WTAM 1100 Cleveland.”

Public outrage came quick, prompting WTAM Program Director  Ray Davis to issue the following written statement:

“We are aware of the reference made on WTAM by Kyle Cornell. We take this matter very seriously and addressed it immediately. The term used is extremely offensive and does not align with our station’s core values and commitment to the communities we serve. He is no longer with WTAM.”

Hear the Cornell’s broadcast and his apology here, as he spoke WKYC-TV station. He said that he was not trying to be malicious with his description of Harris.

Some reaction to the comment:

Given that there is a longtime national organization – the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People, was he wrong?

An entry in Wikipedia says:  In the 21st century, “colored” is generally regarded as an offensive term, due to the fact that signs under Jim Crow depicted the term “colored”.  The term lives on in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, generally called the NAACP.   In 2008, its communications director Carla Sims said “the term ‘colored’ is not derogatory, [the NAACP] chose the word ‘colored’ because it was the most positive description commonly used [in 1909, when the association was founded]. It’s outdated and antiquated but not offensive.”


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