Re: The Inflexible, Utterly Predictable Coverage of Race by the Press

Falcon wrote:
> Covering the 'Kwa: The Inflexible, Utterly Predictable
> and Parody-Worthy Coverage of Race by the Press
> by Douglas Wright
> 26 November 2005
> Memo
> To: The Reporters, Photographers, Graphics Designers, Editors, Copy
> Editors, Cameramen and other Producers of the American Media
> From: The Management
> Recently it has come to our attention that there may be some confusion
> about how to cover race in America. This should not be a complicated
> issue. However, to provide guidance, we have assembled the following
> rules.
> Blacks
> 1. Anything a black person has to say is valid and understandable.
> There are no exceptions to this rule. No matter how uninformed or
> expressive of negative sentiment toward whites, anything that issues
> from a black person's mouth is to be accorded the highest respect, and
> the grammatical errors cleaned up. They are understandably reacting to
> whatever situation is being reported on. You as the reporter are "on
> their side" and there to help them get their message to the world. It
> is your responsibility to make them look as good as possible.
> 2. Anything a black person does is valid and understandable, if not
> praiseworthy.
> Blacks are noble individuals living day to day at the mercy of a white
> racist system. Whatever they do to get by is to be viewed and reported
> on as the most common-sense approach possible. If it is simply not
> possible to put a positive spin on something, it can be jauntily
> referred to as "having gotten into a few scrapes with the law." This
> can be used for a triple homicide. Do not refer to the triple
> homicide. Another way to salvage a life situation is to include the
> black interviewee's acknowledgment that he "has a rough past." This
> makes him appear down-to-earth and honest. If he does not offer this,
> get him to agree to it. If blacks are burning, rioting or looting, it
> is because they are oppressed. They are "responding" to white
> "neglect" or "demanding justice." They may want to "send a message."
> Or to simply let the white racist system know they're there. Still
> another is to present criminal activity as increasing the authenticity
> of the black person. But be sure to mind Rule 3, below.
> 3. If a black person has done bad things, they are in the past. Future
> bad things will not happen.
> It is not possible for blacks to be looking forward to a bad or worse
> future. Things are always looking up. Multiple children by multiple,
> unknown fathers and a crack habit at the age of 17 is contrasted with
> recent enrollment at community college. End story with quote about
> this. No black aspiration is too far-fetched. Black desire to be
> astronaut or brain surgeon is to be treated respectfully. Black males
> just released from prison are "looking to put their life back
> together." Contact with low-level executive for rap label is proof of
> this. For general guidance on the issue, see Rules 4 and 5.
> 4. When it would otherwise reflect poorly upon them, blacks take the
> objective form.
> In other words, blacks are never the source of bad things --- bad
> things only happen to them. This rule applies to black neighborhoods,
> as well. A black neighborhood is "neglected;" it is not populated with
> individuals who are themselves neglectful. (Note that the presumptive
> subjects here, whites, will not be interviewed or given a chance to
> respond to the charge of neglect.) A black male is "bounced around in
> the prison system;" he himself did not do anything to cause that to
> happen. A young black male "finds himself in the clutches of the
> criminal justice system;" he similarly did not do anything to bring
> about the situation. Black politcians are "caught up" in a scandal, as
> if they were just sitting there reading Proust with a glass of Merlot
> when terrible scandal-monsters burst into the den and caught them up.
> 5. On the occasions when it reflects well upon them, blacks take the
> subjective form.
> This is the converse of Rule 4. If a black person has graduated from
> community college, it was by his own actions. And always against a
> tide of white racism. Blacks "put themselves on the right track,"
> "pull themselves up from the ghetto" or "fight for justice." A black
> who accomplished almost nothing in life may still be referred to as
> "proud." Nobody will call you asking to know what they're so proud of.
> 6. Any black child killed in the inner city would have gone on to
> greatness.
> Because assertions of would-be greatness by black children can never
> be tested, feel free to indulge even the wildest speculation about
> what he or she would have achieved. Ask about interest in mathematics
> or similarly brainy pursuits. Do not offer fact that statistically,
> they would have gone on to welfare, prison or do-nothing civil service
> job.
> 7. If at all possible and when warranted, nobody is black.
> Use geography, nationality or age, instead. Black Africans setting
> fire to an entire country are "French youths," "Disaffected youths,"
> "Teenagers," or simply "Rioters." Black Americans smashing out jewelry
> store windows after a hurricane are "residents of New Orleans." The
> "American" murder rate has gone up or down. "Minnesotans" are
> responsible for a certain percentage of gun violence. "New York City
> schoolchildren" cannot read. "Revelers" destroy resort town during
> Hip-Hop Week.
> 8. If someone must be black, they "happen to be African-American."
> If the story you are writing is such that the race of a black person
> is unavoidable, put this information in a clause following a comma
> after their name. Example: "Randall Robinson, who happens to be
> African-American, said that as an African-American, he disputes the
> notion that whites shouldn't pay reparations." The felicitous "happens
> to be" reminds readers that race is a mere happenstance of such little
> relevance that anyone who would suggest otherwise by cruelly using any
> other grammatical formation is a bad person. Bad.
> 9. When it is to their advantage, blacks are a collective.
> Blacks suffered and continue to suffer injustice as a group. They
> deserve curative attention as a group. They deserve representation as
> a group. It will not be inquired whether an individual black merits
> inclusion in the general group of aggrieved blacks. Blacks not only
> regularly receive unjust treatment, they always do so as a group. You
> must remember to acknowledge both.
> 10. When it is to their advantage, blacks are individuals.
> The disproportionate commission of crime by blacks is not be
> associated with any individual black. The disporportionate social
> pathology in practically every other area of human existence displayed
> by blacks is not to be associated with any individual black and
> especially not blamed on them, as individuals. See rules 3 and 4.
> Thus, consistent with rules 9 and 10, it is perfectly acceptable to
> dole out goodies on the basis of group blackness, but not to issue
> restrictions or criticism.
> Whites
> 1. Whites do not exist as a group with legitimate aspirations.
> This rule should not need expounding. The possibility of this is not
> even to be put forward for questioning, as in, "Are whites a group?"
> "Do they have legitimate group aspirations?" This is because the mere
> question would be enough to suggest that one legitimate answer is
> "yes." This cannot happen. You are to address this as a member of the
> media by simply not writing or reporting a story that would touch on
> this topic.
> 2. Nothing a white person has to say is valid or understandable, if
> they are expressing white group interests.
> Therefore, do not dignify what they say. Helpful phrases include
> "racist ranting," "ignorant outpouring of hatred" and "message of
> hate." If you are a columnist, please restrict yourself to the phrases
> "(John Smith) should crawl back under his rock" or "(John Smith)'s
> message of hate is not welcome here." When responding to "racism," it
> is not necessary to be creative or think too hard about your response.
> Certainly, addressing any of the points is not necessary. In fact, it
> is discouraged, because the last thing we want is discussion of the
> merits of white nationalism or other forms of white group interest
> expression. If fliers or newspapers containing messages of white group
> interest are distributed in the area, overlook the obvious irony of a
> newspaper journalist covering the distribution of a newspaper as
> Armageddon and proceed first to a police official, whereupon you
> should pose a question about the legality of distributing a newspaper.
> As you are aware, the First Amendment does not apply to hate. Do not
> address the contents of the flier or publication, no matter how
> factual or reasonable. It should be easy to find a person to quote
> about how the paper is "unwelcome," because everyone will be expected
> to denounce the flier or paper. Round out with quote from Southern
> Poverty Law Center, which as you know is a mainstream, unbiased group
> fighting for justice.
> 3. A white person who expresses white group interests shall be
> referred to as a "white supremacist."
> There are no white activists or advocates for whites. The supremacist
> tag must be used in order to foster a sense of fear that a person who
> thinks whites have a right to self-determination necessarily also
> seeks to kill or imprison all other racial groups. It is simply not
> possible that a person who advocates for white interests would be
> smart or sincere, so make sure your coverage reflects that. You as a
> journalist are under an ethical obligation to present all sides of a
> story, even the ones you personally dislike, except in the case of
> white racists. This is an official proclamation from The Management.
> 4. When it reflects well on them, whites are to be presented in the
> objective form, or not at all.
> If whites have paid large sums of taxes and spent many administrative
> hours in an attempt to boost black scores by one percentage point, no
> mention will be made of them. This simply came out of nowhere. When
> whites work to deliver the goods and services that keep America
> running, this is simply taken for granted. If a neighborhood comes
> back to life because whites have moved in, you may use the
> increasingly controversial term "gentrification," but consult with
> your editor before doing this. By no means should you mention that
> this means whites.
> 5. When it reflects poorly on them, whites are fully guilty, as a
> group and as all white individuals within that group, for whatever the
> bad thing was.
> An obvious example is slavery. Despite the common-sense observation
> from even mainstream conservatives that no white living today is
> personally responsible for slavery, coverage of this should accept the
> reparations view of white guilt that is collective by race and across
> the span of time, as well as black victimization that is likewise.
> Thank you for your attention. Now get back to reporting!

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