Dr. Christina Greer (115266)
Dr. Christina Greer

Every year, I look forward to the White House Correspondents Dinner, a time when the president of the United States and journalists gather together and make fun of themselves for an evening. It is also an opportunity to raise money for future generations of journalists and provide support for programs that educate the public about free speech and First Amendment rights. 

This year, “Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. is hosting the event and there will probably be insightful political analysis from a comedian who has been a steadfast student of politics for quite some time. If you have seen his comedy specials or watched his analysis on the “Daily Show,” underneath the charming Alabaman accent and sometimes self-deprecating jokes are laser-sharp observations and analysis of racial, class, and institutional inequities.

As someone who writes about the news and has podcasts to discuss politics and political events, I am always aware of that fine line between journalists and the politicians they observe and with whom they speak. I am not a journalist by training, but I do take my analysis of New York City, New York State, and national politics very seriously. I have also, over time, become friendly with several other journalists and politicians, largely due to the sheer amount of time we spend together discussing and dissecting politics.

As you can imagine, sometimes that line can be blurred. Therefore, it is important to have a night where folks gather to acknowledge some of the troubling aspects of our journalistic and political systems, while also recognizing those who have dedicated their lives to public service. Being a journalist is not easy, nor is being a politician. There are many similarities between the two professions: long nights, sacrifices for families, and for many, a lack of real financial compensation. 

At least once a week, someone asks me if I will ever run for office. To say I am thoroughly disinterested in that occupation is an understatement. I have the utmost respect for people who choose to dedicate a portion of their lives to solving problems for their communities and various parts of their city, state, or the nation. Similarly, I think of the dedication of journalists who miss family functions and important events because they are trying to bring information to communities large and small.  

As I watch the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, I will reflect on all of the hard work and dedication of journalists and politicians who continue to serve our nation. I also look forward to enjoying one of the sharpest comedic minds in the game right now. I know Birmingham will be beaming with pride as they watch Roy Wood Jr. on the dais where so many came before him. 

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University; author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream”; co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC; and host of The Blackest Questions podcast at TheGrio.

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