Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Home News: Watch Out for Those Black People!

In the past, I've been critical of The Morning Call's editorial policy against the use of racial identifiers. When it might help identify someone, whu not play the race card? Yet Last November, The Morning Call never told us the race of someone who punched out an Easton bus driver. And in June, it refused to describe the skin tone of a rapist, disguised as a cop. Plenty of other details were known about both criminals, including age, sex and clothing. Isn't race relevant when police are actively searching for someone and other physical characteristics are known?

Although I disagree with this practice, I do understand that the language of race can be dangerous, adding to existing subtle racism here in the Lehigh Valley. And the practice of another local paper demonstrates the danger of stereotyping.

The Home News is a weekly publication that covers the Northampton-Bath-Nazareth area. It's a neat little paper. I like quirky stories like the one about a 48" alligator captured in Hokendauqua Creek, or another about a Moore Township man who recently received an answer to a letter inside a balloon set aloft over twenty years ago.

But when it comes to racial identifiers, this paper has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In a recent account of Northampton Borough Council meeting, the paper reports the complaints of two police officers, one of whom was terminated for using excessive force in an encounter during community days. The paper just had to point out that the officer's dispute was with "a black youth." Just why is that relevant?

In another account about purses being stolen from a Nazareth area movie theatre, the paper tells us to "be vigilant of other persons acting suspiciously." And then it drops this little bomb. "Black women and men are alleged to have entered the purses and removed credit cards." So what Home News is really telling us is this - watch out for black people.

6 comments:

A.J. Cordi said...

This blog reminds me of the New Orleans media incident when black people were accused of "stealing," when in the same setting white people were described as "finding."

When defining a wanted person's physical attributes, race is a key detail.

But when one mentions the race of a non-wanted person, among other descriptions, it's very insulting and some type of formal complaint (at least) is warrented.

Bernie O'Hare said...

AJ, Excellent comment! You hit it right on the head.

Anonymous said...

Racists come in all colors, and exhibit their racism in a variety of ways. Racism of the sort exhibited by The Home News is relatively easy to spot. The racism of msm outlets who won't describe the physical appearance of a wanted person requires a sharper eye.

It seems that some's desire to offend nobody is, in fact, offensive to most.

J. Spike said...

yes we spoke of that in sociology right after Katrina two years back.

Also the media during Katrina called the blacks action looting while the ran piece showing white cops doing it and talked how they were doing what ever it took to survive.

And lets not forget the worst media in the world the US TV News kept showing the same jerks stealing TVs during the first day of floods over and over.

And the White cops knocking dipers and water out of the hands of "black looters", yet plenty of white cops were shown later stealing the same stuff.

As for the local paper Bernie, maybe if the White cop has a long record of altercations with "black youths" maybe it is worth noting. There are plenty of borderline racist still left in law enforcement.

I mean look at NYPDs solution to a terror threat rtacial profile of subway riders. Cause all muslims are dark skinnned and have beards and turbins.

I guess NYPD has never been to Kosovo and the old commie blocks of east europe to see that their muslims are more , um white.

Tom Foolery said...

AJ was correct when he stated that a wanted person's physical attributes are critical to know, especially in regard to public safety. This is the issue here. The Call refuses to publish that and they are wrong..Period!

river said...

We need accurate descriptions. However, saying someone is "black" may not be accurate. Some African-Americans have lighter skin colors than others. Also many India/ Pakastanies have a dark skin tone which would be the same as a lightskin colored "black". The same goes for Hispanic and people from South America. Perhaps instead of trying to be politically correct the MSM should and could add that the person was of dark skin, light skin, etc. It would be better than saying "look out for a male with a white Tee shirt and jeans. Whats going to ne next I ask? A bank robber captured on video but the news channel can't show it because he is "black". I also think much bigger problems exist than "black or white or Hispanic". Gangs and Drugs and Guns. 15 year old kids are out there killing each other and if a mother and child happen to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time.. they could care less. The Bloods, Cripts, Latin Kings, there is even an asian gang. And its all about drug turf. Some have a rule that you are not a full member untill you kill someone. They are destroying every big city in America.