I don't know if anyone at C-Span [U.S. commercial cable satellite television industry's public affairs arm] has noticed their programme "Think Tank" has 6 men and only 1 woman. This annual show focusing on Black American views on politics and public affairs is hosted by two media personalities - Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner - well-known within the Black American community. They're both male. The lone woman participant is Jocelyn Elders, M.D., who served as first Black woman U.S. Surgeon-General, the head of the federal government's Health and Human Services department.
The show's other participants include Cornel West, Joseph Lowery, Louis Farrakhan, and Al Sharpton. Veteran actor Ossie Davis also was to have been on the show but died before the programme was done. Producers were planning to honour his missing presence with an empty chair on the set. Had Mr. Davis done the show the ratio would have widened to seven (7) men and one (1) woman. I wonder what message people will get - and especially children and teens, as well as the non-Black public - watching a gender dynamic of 6 men discussing and debating with each other and 1 woman. Will any aspect of gender -within the Black community and more broadly - even come up in the discussion? Will it be raised by any of the guys?? If so, the likely candidate probably would be college prof & writer Cornel West who co-authored the book breaking bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life with womanist/feminist scholar & academician bell hooks. (Why didn't show producers also get bell hooks or other Black feminists??) Or will gender be raised by/dumped on the sole woman? I think things will be worse if neither Joyner nor Smiley nor anyone else on the show even mentions the glaring gender gap in their panel. Black Americans and some other populations usually would call a 6/7-to-1 representation ratio "tokenism." Think Tank could make things 'less bad' by putting another woman in that ceremonial vacant seat... and I don't think Ossie Davis would mind.