Diann Burns Over Alleged Racism
By: Michael M. Bates
Diann Burns, Chicagoâ€™s highest paid television news reader, and her husband recently built a $3 million mansion in the swank Lincoln Park area. Mondayâ€™s Chicago Sun-Times reported the couple is now suing the contractor for inferior work.
Disputes between contractors and homeowners are common. In this instance, though, Ms. Burns saw something more insidious than shoddy work. So she whipped out that trusty racism card faster than you can say teleprompter.
In the lawsuit, the couple claims the contractor did a lousy job because of a belief that black owners wouldnâ€™t notice. Court documents reviewed by the Sun-Times charge the contractor thought Diann and her very successful talent agent husband were â€œgullible and inexperienced in construction mattersâ€ and that the contractor could â€œdeceive and take advantage of and defraudâ€ them.
How Ms. Burns and her husband know for a fact their disagreement is the result of racism isnâ€™t given. Apparently, just the charge is sufficient. Evidence supporting the very serious accusation isnâ€™t essential.
Letâ€™s say, just for the sake of argument, that a contractor is racist. Would it make much sense to try to deceive and take advantage of a woman whoâ€™s smart enough to earn at least $2 million a year for reading news stories written by other people? Or a man who, in addition to running his own prosperous business, is smart enough to marry a woman whoâ€™s smart enough to earn at least $2 million a year for reading news stories written by other people?
Even racists arenâ€™t that dumb.
And even racists know that Diann Burns plays a mean game of PR. In 2003, her previous station was unable to negotiate a new contract with her. So they took her off the air months before the existing agreement expired.
If that had been me, Iâ€™d have happily stayed home and collected the almost $40,000 a week the station still had to pay me. But Ms. Burns is made of sterner stuff. She started appearing on black radio outlets complaining of the shabby treatment sheâ€™d been accorded.
The geniuses on Chicagoâ€™s City Council picked up on the outrage and held a pep rally for the aggrieved personality. According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Daley assured Diann that things would work out for her. One alderman feverishly proclaimed:
â€œWhen God needed a woman to come 18 years ago to change Channel 7 to bring forth the ratings and to do a job that weâ€™re all proud of, he brought forth Diann Burns, and we thank God for that!â€
There were threats of investigating the suspected shortage of minorities in television news and a hint of boycotting the TV personalityâ€™s previous employer.
When asked if an investigation was warranted, Ms. Burns was coy, saying:
â€œThereâ€™s enough room for Asians, blacks, Hispanics and white people to work in the media. Everyone pulls for that. How can I say no? Weâ€™ve talked about that for years and years and years.
â€œThatâ€™s the only way people are sensitive to the needs of everyoneâ€™s community – to have the TV stations reflect the people that live in the community.â€
Now we know what community she was speaking of: The one with $3 million mansions. Power to the people.
The Family Burnsâ€™ assertion that their house isnâ€™t exactly what they wanted because of racism is most likely ridiculous. If the couple were worried about being deceived and taken advantage of by white guys, they should have hired a qualified minority firm. It would have served as an economic boost to people theyâ€™re supposedly so terribly concerned about.
That thereâ€™s still racism in our country is indisputable. Ploys such as this one divert attention from genuine instances of it. They lend support to the view that charges of discrimination are bogus and that blacks routinely overplay the race card.
Spectacularly rich news readers who God brought forth to bring forth the ratings should know that.
Mike Bates can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the author of Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths.