Dick Clark: Naïve Offender?

By Jean Mavrelis - 04.20.2012

Last night I watched CNN as Anderson Cooper conducted live phone conversations with Aretha Franklin and Little Richard.

They kept saying he was a nice man, and he understood the industry, but there was no gushing.  They paid respect to the moment and the man.

Anderson Cooper missed the story behind the story.

What wasn’t said was that American Bandstand was not initially an integrated show.

Come on, we’re talking about the 1950’s.  I want to assume Dick Clark evolved like all the rest of us white folks who remember American Bandstand.

I googled Dick Clark on racism and found a reference to a time when, on the Pyramid game show, he offered a clue for things that are whipped: “Slaves that are disobedient” –then Clark added – “Of course, that was appropriate in a different era”.

It was a classic example of offensive statements that whites, often unthinkingly, make about blacks.

It’s not unlike the first line supervisor I heard of recently who wanted to compliment his line of workers, many of whom were African American, and sent them a “good job” card with a monkey on the front clapping symbols together. Most everybody agreed the first line supervisor was a “naïve offender”.  Maybe that expression fits for Dick Clark as well. Read more »