The Race-Hustle Crowd Should Take The Loss On Tiffany Cross
Consider this column an experiment. The expected reaction will serve as proof of its point.
When the subject of Tiffany Cross’ firing as one of MSNBC’s anchors last month came up as a possible topic earlier this week, I consulted a friend who shares Cross’ ethnicity and sex. “Should I write on this?” I asked, expecting a laugh and a “Don’t touch it!” response.
What came back was the opposite.
“You not only need to write it,” she said, “but you need to make the larger point about how people are fed up with the Tiffany Crosses of the world and how toxic they’re making it for the rest of us.”
By “us,” my friend meant black women, or black people in general, who don’t hate the rest of the world.
The more we talked about the subject, the more interesting it became. My friend pointed out that there is a type of black woman ascendant — sort of — in America today who seems to be metastasizing in our culture to the detriment of, well, everybody.
Cross, who was the single most outspoken racist in American media before she was fired, exemplifies this type. But she isn’t alone. They’re seemingly everywhere, and they’re being put forth to define the black community in America to the horror and disgust of black Americans who can’t stand them.
In politics, they’re ubiquitous. Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, LaToya Cantrell, Lori Lightfoot, Muriel Bowser, London Breed, Kamala Harris, even (to a lesser extent) Karine Jean-Pierre. In news media, Jemele Hill, Cross, and Joy Reid, not to mention Karen Attiah, whom we’ll get to in a minute. Celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Lizzo.
I could go on and on.
“What should I say are the traits exemplifying the type we’re talking about?” I asked my friend.
The response was long and enthusiastic, but she ultimately settled on four things.
First, ingratitude. My friend noted that a large majority of the figures exemplifying the TBFA (toxic black female aggressor) type, something she coined, are people whose rise comes courtesy of a system that is rigged to produce their success — and yet they still spend their time alleging persecution.
Second, racism. More than just decrying the America they’re succeeding in, the TBFA will go out of her way to attack “White America” for its sins in ways that nobody else in this country would dare to do. She noted that it’s a tactic that works; it’s a self-licking ice cream cone if ever there was one. “Say that they all hate you because you’re a black woman,” she said, “and that you can’t succeed because of it, and they will do everything they can to ensure you succeed in order to prove you wrong.”
Which leads to the third thing: lack of real accomplishment. So many of these figures have risen based on virtually nothing that it’s no longer a requirement for many of them to even be good at a job in order to maintain it or get a better one. My friend noted that in the black community, for example, it’s exceptionally common to hear people talk about all the degrees they’ve earned that the general public would regard as useless — but in the meantime there isn’t a lot of real achievement going on.
Stacey Abrams is a perfectly good example of this. She’s twice been the Democrat nominee for governor in Georgia, but she’s never run anything other than a political campaign — and despite getting paid handsomely by left-wing nonprofits, she managed to ring up a massive tax debt. Point out that she’s never been able to run so much as a lemonade stand that achieved sustainability without funding from the Soros mob, and you’ll be branded a racist for your trouble.
Take Cross herself as well. She was a news producer at CNN and before that ran BET’s DC bureau, neither of which being jobs that suggest the next budding cable news anchor, and MSNBC plucked her away and put her on the air for an hour. Almost immediately afterward she was screeching about persecution and the unfairness of life as a rich TV personality of color, as if that act wouldn’t wear thin in a hurry.
And the fourth thing, interestingly enough, is anti-male hostility. My friend noted that intersectional feminism is a warm Jacuzzi in which the TBFA type delights in soaking, and it isn’t just a “Dear White People” complaint they specialize in — it’s a full-throated, never-ending indictment of men.
My friend said the fourth part, interestingly enough, is the worst of the traits. She pointed out that less than 30 percent of black women in America are married, and the more the TBFA type is presented as a role model, the more certain it is that those women will die alone.
That’s something that Kevin Samuels, the controversial YouTuber and relationship coach who died not so long ago, raised lots of hackles over when he brought up again and again that disagreeable black women who couldn’t stop complaining about how beneath them ordinary black men are – and who prioritize everything but having a husband – were ruining their lives.
“That’s a real thing,” my friend said, focusing on the cultural effect of the promotion of TBFA’s on TV and elsewhere in the legacy corporate media, “and it’s a disaster for everybody in the black community. We’ve gone from them trying to abort us out of existence to them making us unattractive to each other and finishing us off that way.”
Tiffany Cross was a perfect avatar for the TBFA type. Her show on MSNBC was an exercise in indiscriminate bomb-throwing that even Joy Reid wouldn’t match. For example, the straw that broke the camel’s back for her was a comment she made as a guest on Charlamagne tha God’s radio show. Asked what state the Democrats could most afford to lose in the midterms, she said that “Florida literally looks like the d**k of the country, so let’s get rid of Florida. Let’s castrate Florida.”
Nobody in media could survive long after making so idiotic a comment. But it was typical for Cross. There was her calling former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin a “tawdry turncoat Trump loyalist” after the latter was named a co-host of the View. There was the time she called for progressives to “pick up a weapon and get involved” in the “war” for America’s future, something that in a different context might not have been so inflammatory but in this current moment certainly is. Think about what would happen were someone on the right to pop off in such a manner. Cross also instructed white people to “sit out” the controversy over Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars, a kerfuffle that illuminated Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, as the queen of all TBFAs.
And then there was the idiotic attack on the NFL: “To see all these black men crashing into each other with a bunch of white owners, white coaches, and the complete disregard for black bodies and black life.”
Black women responded enthusiastically to Tiffany Cross’ Saturday morning show. When she was fired, there was screaming. Interestingly enough, the ax on Cross was swung by the president of MSNBC, Rashida Jones, a black woman whose curriculum vitae shows that she in no way fits the TBFA mold — she’s a very accomplished TV news executive who’s led successful operations at the local market level and in cable TV before making her way to MSNBC.
This brings us to Attiah, who in a Washington Post column on Sunday attacked Jones and MSNBC for firing Cross a month earlier:
To be a Black public figure who chooses to be honest about white supremacy in this country is dangerous business. And there is no starker example of that than Tiffany Cross — whose show, “The Cross Connection,” was canceled last month by MSNBC, and whose contract with the network wasn’t renewed.
Cross, a former D.C. bureau chief for BET Networks and an associate producer for CNN, was named host of “The Cross Connection” in late 2020. The show aired Saturday mornings and was one of the higher-rated weekend political shows for the network. It was also one of the few shows left on a major news network that centered the voices of Black people and others of color. Cross focused on matters domestic and international, doing shows, for instance, on global diaspora movements.
She was unapologetic about discussing white supremacy and did not hold back on matters of race. This, of course, drew the ire of the right-wing chattering class, who increasingly singled her out. In October, after Cross (rightly) noted how White men dominate the NFL’s coaching and ownership ranks, Megyn Kelly called her a “dumbass” and “the most racist person on television.” Later that month, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson went on a 10-minute tirade against Cross and MSNBC, accusing Cross of stoking hatred against White people, and comparing her show to the radio broadcasts that led to the Rwandan genocide.
I’m not making this up.
What Attiah is making up is the idea that it was racism that got Tiffany Cross fired. Or rather that it was somebody else’s racism rather than Cross’ own.
Karen Attiah taking up for Cross isn’t surprising. Attiah is herself a TBFA, exhibiting the classic pattern. She showed up on the Post’s staff eight years ago after a short stint working for the AP in the Caribbean right out of graduate school, on the “global opinion” desk, and at some point recruiting the Saudi jihadi sympathizer Jamal Khashoggi for that section. When Khashoggi was, it’s alleged, murdered by the Saudi government, Attiah came to prominence and won the 2019 Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
She is supposed to write a memoir of her time working with Khashoggi and the circumstances of his killing. That book is set to be released in February of next year.
In other words, here you have a nobody shilling for another nobody and trashing more accomplished people — in this case, a black female TV executive — for “racism.”
And people, particularly people like my friend, are sick of it.
There’s a reason Stacey Abrams, after four years of being feted as a dignitary following her refusal to accept her close loss to Brian Kemp in 2018, was blown out in the Georgia gubernatorial election last month. It’s the same reason Tiffany Cross was fired.
People are exhausted with the TBFAs. And continued aggressions, name-calling, accusations, and belligerence aren’t going to fix that. To the contrary, all of that will only make things worse.
Karen Attiah won’t listen, but she ought to leave the Tiffany Cross subject alone and learn from it instead.