Belleville shock jock, Bob “The Grim Reaper of Radio” Romanik, has taken his controversial brand of radio to another level. This time he has resorted to feeding his listeners a steady diet of the N-Word in his new “racially radical” format which has even garnered some national press.
Much of the attention is the by-product of a January 19 rant in which Romanik went off the rails, against rapper Waka Flocka Flame, after viewing disgusting concert footage of the rapper pulling down his pants and wiping his buttocks with a fan’s Donald Trump T-shirt.
Romanik went on to refer to the rapper as a “no good, no count, greasy… n-----.” Since that time, the recurrent theme of Romanik’s shows have been racial in nature, with repeated use of the n-word (in reference to both blacks and whites), references to whites as “crackers,” to himself as “poor white trash from the projects” and to those who would challenge his First Amendment rights as “ignorant son of a bitches.”
He (Romanik) has also attempted to make distinctions between n------, versus proud blacks and proud whites, whom he respects, and has said that he wants to use his show to encourage dialogue regarding the subject of race.
That’s, by-and-large, missed in the heat of the rhetoric which, often, devolves into gratuitous name-calling or callers who simply phone in to tell crude racist jokes or simply to vent, with solutions taking a back seat to the venom.
And I agree that Romanik has a right to free speech, as I am exercising at this moment, and defend to the hilt. But with that freedom comes responsibility and forethought and respect for access to the airwaves and to the ears and minds of his listeners.
However, this goes beyond Romanik’s disgust with a rapper’s lewd behavior. It goes back, prior, to the November 8 elections in which Romanik unsuccessfully ran for the Illinois State House 114th District seat. In that election, Romanik trusted (and paid) black E. St. Louis politicians and “supporters” to get out the vote and was, summarily, double-crossed and rejected.
According to Romanik’s report for the state election board, he paid his ESL election workers, via the The New Vision Democrats, $94,590, including $62,400 (among 12 workers) on the Friday prior to Election Day. That may have been just enough to light the fuse on Romanik’s n-word-laced rage. That’s just my theory, but it was an expensive lesson for even a rich guy like Romanik.
Yet, at some point, if Romanik truly wants to go from being “racially radical” to having true racial dialogue, he must use the good will that he created during the election in bringing democrats, republicans and independents together under his Freedom Coalition umbrella.
Romanik has stated that the n-word is simply a word, which he and anyone else should feel free to use because of the First Amendment. On that we disagree.
The word has history. Its etymology is far deeper and is not to be minimized for the benefit of a radio show or rap lyric. The word was used, derisively (for hundreds of years), as blacks were enslaved, lynched, disenfranchised, dehumanized and subjected to the worst treatment of any human beings in the history of mankind.
Bob Romanik, from my personal knowledge, has quietly helped feed, bury and assist countless poor blacks and whites, with his personal wealth. However, that’s not conveyed in his public rants, which he describes as “like you just took a good crap.”
That’s an interesting analogy, because we can publicly defecate. Animals do it all the time. The question, however, is whether we should defecate publicly. And we don’t, because it is considered to be indecent behavior.
The same applies to what amounts to verbal defecation. Romanik has a precious forum, which in the age of Trump, “alternative facts” and heightened tensions, could be used to elevate the level of true racial dialogue and understanding. I hope that’s the course that “The Grim Reaper” pursues.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter@JamesTIngram