Firing Of Anchor For Race-Related Comments Spurs Debate

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In early March, five adults — including a pregnant woman — were murdered at a backyard barbecue in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania.

Longtime WTAE-TV anchor Wendy Bell, troubled by the mass shooting, took to Facebook to express her outrage. But in doing so, she speculated about the criminals, who have yet to be apprehended.

In a post that has since been deleted, Bell wrote among other things, that "'They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20's. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested.'"

The post resulted in Bell’s firing. But it also gave rise to a debate in the Black community about whether Bell was guilty of racism and profiling, or expressing issues that have long troubled the Black community.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Niger Innis, a civil rights activist, member of the Congress of Racial Equality and a leader of Project 21, and Damon Young, editor-in-chief of the online digital magazine VSB and contributing editor of


This segment aired on April 4, 2016.


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