This post is not about crime, or violence, or racism, or even race. This is a post about the ridiculous subconscious biases that permeate the way the media covers news. Although this exact sort of absurdity has been pointed out again and again, the purveyors of the sort of obliviousness displayed below still are afforded positions of respect among too much of the voting populace. And so we must hit them again and expose who they are.
This story in today's Washington Post is about a school in Philadelphia that is apparently 70% black, 18% Asian, and 12% unidentified "other." On December 3rd of last year, many of the school's black students erupted in violence that was systematically and exclusively targeted at the school's Asian students. All of this is clearly set forth in the article:
Fueled by rumors, a group of students roamed the halls searching for Asian victims until one was attacked in a classroom. Later, about 70 students stormed the cafeteria, where several Asians were beaten. About 35 students pushed past a police officer onto the so-called "Asian floor," but were turned back. After school, Asians being escorted home were attacked anyway by a mob of youths.
In case you read this paragraph and thought that the Washington Post was describing racially-motivated violence, they were quick to set you straight in the very next paragraph thusly:
Almost all the attackers were black - but few observers believe the violence was due to racial hatred. Instead, they cite isolation of different groups within the school, certain students' warped "gangster" values, and for some, simmering resentments over perceived benefits for Asian students.
One is left to wonder who this vast majority of observers are who apparently believe that racial hatred didn't have anything to do with the targeted and systematic violence perpetrated exclusively on members of a racial minority in a school; certainly it cannot be anyone who actually read the first three paragraphs of this particular Washington Post article. Certainly if the victims of the violence had been black (or indeed any non-Asian minority), the author of this article would not have believed it himself. If this were a school in which the demographics were 70% white and 18% black, and one day a bunch of the white kids beat up dozens of the black kids, absolutely no one would be interested in the many subtleties at play in this particular locality that might otherwise account for the violence; we would instead be treated to A1 headlines in bold type screaming "HATE CRIMES ROCK PHILADELPHIA AREA SCHOOL" faster than you could say "Duke Lacrosse team."
But what about these alleged subtleties set forth in the article that allegedly show that race has nothing to do with this entire regrettable situation? Well, let's examine them.
Wali Smith makes no excuses for the attacks, but understands where they come from. A community specialist who holds workshops on anger management and conflict resolution in various schools, he witnessed the Dec. 3 violence.
The South Philly native says blacks have always felt marginalized in the neighborhood dominated by Italians and Irish. Now, some students feel an almost unconscious resentment when they see their Asian counterparts studying on their special second-floor sanctuary, which was established to provide language programs and provide a more welcoming environment.
"Those (black) kids feel the majority of the staff there does not care about their education," Smith says. "They see these Asian kids come in and be nurtured, and they want that same kind of comfort."
** snip **
"It's not based on race, it's based on opportunity," Smith said of the history of violence against Asians. "If they go to the bathroom and take your money, and you don't report it, they'll just keep riding it until the wheels fall off."
Um. Someone ought to tell the Washington Post that this doesn't explain that the beatings were non-racial; in fact, it proves that the beatings were racial. I mean, during the days of Jim Crow, I'm sure you could find plenty of people who would patiently explain to you that the reason whites were committing violence on blacks who attempted to enter de-segregated schools is because they felt resentment at intrusion on an area that had long been theirs, and worried that their children's educational accomodations would suffer, and they'd also point out that it wasn't like the blacks were going to do anything about it anyway. And today, we would even have a word for those people offering such justifications: racists.
You see, the people who sympathized with Jim Crow didn't have the gall to claim that Jim Crow wasn't racial; they just claimed that the deplorable racist behavior in question was excusable or at least understandable. That's exactly what the author of this Washington Post piece here does; yet somehow he believes that his explanation proves that the behavior of the black students in this school wasn't racially motivated at all. This is the height of ivory-tower absurdity, and anyone who works in a job where even marginal critical thinking skills are required (i.e., not the media) sees this farce for what it is: a willful refusal on the part of the author to believe that anyone can be racist who isn't white.
And so this dreck comes pouring forth on the pages of one of the country's most well-known newspapers, when everyone in Amercia can guess how the story would be covered if the tables were turned. As I said at the begnning of this piece, it's still probably true that the mainstream media has more influence over voters than do newer media outlets; thankfully, they are operating on an auto-self-discrediting loop, and we are nearing the time when that will change.