When an American racial minority commits a crime, race is an important fact, if not the most significant fact.
When a member of the racial majority commits a crime, race is incidental.
This is something that has to be said, although many people don’t like to say it for fears of being perceived as defending the crime or worse yet the criminal.
This is not about putting the blame on racism to defend the crime/criminal.
Obviously there are far more people who have been victims of racism all their lives and DON’T kill.
It is to the credit of all members of racial minorities who have gotten beyond racism and managed not to end up criminals.
But is this being understood?
Not if every time, race becomes the big focus of a crime, and that’s being taken for granted as a matter of fact.
And isn’t that, after all, the mentality that perpetuates that kind of crime in the first place?
Why isn’t that being addressed today?
More than 40 years ago, it has all been said in Alex Haley’s interview with Miles Davis.
Asking the media to avoid mentioning race in a story may be unrealistic.
Asking the media to mention race in the proper way (with the proper perspective) may be just as unrealistic.
But it’s not asking too much to ask the media to avoid the assumption that race is somehow an important aspect of the suspect that led to the crime.
The media should also avoid using wording that plays upon such public assumptions.
Some of the language on broadcast news is appalling.
The sad thing is that the people who are speaking don’t even get it.
If we all tried to be more sensitive, then this wouldn’t even be an issue.
Such standards for sensitivity should be higher for journalists than for the general public.