Search

BLACK ADVICE V. WHITE ADVICE COLUMNISTS 

The Civil Writer Magazine

When I was a young paperboy in the 1960s I would read the front page of the local newspapers I carried every single day for 6 years and I would also read the advice columns of "Ask Abby" stuck in the middle fold of the Chicago Tribune and "Ann Landers" of the Peoria Journal Star. I learned how to assess the issues by: Defining the problem. Analyze the problem (identify possible causes). Investigate the problem (gather information).Generate possible solutions. Evaluate the alternative solutions. From my empirical studies there is a difference between Blacks and whites giving advice because advice can be culturally driven according to the circumstances. As an example: I am a 42 year old Black man who lost his job who should I support with only $300 a week unemployment my current wife and children or my children from two other outside relationships. What I suspect the answers from white and middle incomes Dear Abby (Pauline Phillips) and Ann Landers (Esther Lederer) would be to quickly get another job because Abby and Ann would not come from a culture of babies born out of wedlock by one man to other women to know how to approach it. But to be fair they were conscious women. Both women were politically liberal, and used their columns to condemn racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism and to advocate for women's rights. Black men or women seeking advice would not necessarily seek advice from white advice columnist because Blacks have a tendency to seek solutions that are conforming to scriptures even if the problem(s) were born out of sin. A Black advice columnist would know this and would provide a solution from the cultural knowledge of Blacks experience knowing his or her advice should be more tooled spiritually than socially favorable. It is not that white columnist aren't spiritual it's just that they would resolve things from their own cultural experiences.

The aforementioned Esther Lederer died on June 22, 2002. The "Ann Landers" column died with her, but has been replaced in many newspapers by "Annie's Mailbox," edited by Lederer's former staff. Pauline Phillips retired from writing "Dear Abby" in 2000 and died of Alzheimer's Disease on January 16, 2013.