Using the victim card stifles the life of a community and sends a message of powerlessness. The identity of victim is always used for at least two purposes: appealing to emotions and searching for advantage.

I read with interest an article in the local newspaper, News-Press, concerning the arrest of an individual who was conducting a pirate radio station in the local black community of Dunbar. I do not know the man.  Apparently, multiple other people in the community knew well of the illegal activity. The story begins recounting the arrest and describing the community by appeals of segregation-era pictures of a railroad dividing blacks from whites.

According to the story, the station exists because black voices have supposedly been excluded and even derided in regular radio. The argument goes the traditional way of victim-focused storytelling: Blacks are in the News only when there is a crime and no positive stories are available in the regular press about people of color. I know that to be an outright lie in the SW Florida region, where a good amount of positive coverage of minorities is indeed available on a regular basis.

In our area, by the way, there are legal Hispanic radio stations and multiple radio  and TV programs. The reason given for stealing a radio signal someone else is paying for, is that there is a great need for the service, as assessed by those supporting the activity. If one does not like that Dunbar is in the news for crime, why commit a crime to change such perceived reality?

“Local voices and the voices of people of color have been left out in particular”, tells us an advocate for “community radio” with the Prometheus Radio Project. We get it, racism is the reason for committing a felony. After all, it seems to be an act of fighting for social justice, an act of civil disobedience. That is the party line. Again, there are several radio stations ran by “people of color” in our area, as well as TV programs prominently hosted by minorities. Several black and Hispanic churches conduct services on TV and radio. Local black personalities have run radio programs for years. There is no such exclusion. The gentleman who was arrested, I am sure, is a good guy. He skipped his arraignment to go to Washington to “tell his story.” Some community leaders praised the illegal action in the name of some good supposedly done; the end justifies the means.

The story goes into the absurd when we read that at a local Family Dollar store we can only hear the air conditioning hum as there is no longer the possibility of good Hip Hop music on the radio. I mean can’t they buy an inexpensive system and a few CDs?  By the way, I remember listening to this local radio signal running at times the most foul Hip Hop music. It was the lofty community radio station. The same story tells us that a year ago the Local Community Radio Act was passed easing restrictions for licensing applications for new community-based radio stations. The good news apparently did not deter the radio signal stealing.  A petition supporting the gentleman is ongoing and the apparent purpose is to support the community station.  Why not do this before breaking the law?  No, this is not the way to advance the good name of the very good people of Dunbar. This is playing the victim and justifying the unjustifiable by appeals to erroneous visions of “social justice.”

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