Column: Karen Bass’ Latino-Black family is everything the ugly audiotape is not.
Karen Bass, whose family made a fortune on TV commercials, is a white woman who married a man who was black.
Her marriage was a black marriage—the kind of marriage where you have children from a previous marriage.
It’s easy enough to see why her family, at least her father and her mother, would want to keep it that way. But a closer examination of Karen’s life makes clear why her family may have preferred that her husband, David, go to sleep with a woman and have children with her.
When Karen’s cousin, Juanita, was murdered by police in 1970, the Los Angeles Times reported, her mother, Helen, turned to Karen for comfort.
She tried to explain what happened to her—about what happened when Juanita died.
Juanita killed her when she came home from her shift as a telephone operator. Her daughter refused to have anything to do with her.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a woman who was a friend to Juanita went to look for her. Juanita’s body had been burned. The woman took photographs.
A year after Juanita’s murder, in 1971, the family business suffered a huge blow. In the aftermath of the “Bloody Sunday” when civil rights marchers were beaten by the police, a major advertiser canceled its contract because the company feared that it might offend “the image of our people.”
The Advertising Council (not to be confused with the Advertising Council) found that the company—G.E. Capital Corp.—did not conform to acceptable advertising practices.
The company had done too few commercials featuring black actors. It had used an overacting black actor as the character Juanita in a commercial for a men’s grooming product that was supposed to be targeting black men.
The Advertising Council ruled out the commercial: “