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How to Report on Racial Violence: Don’t
Posted By Colin Flaherty On September 23, 2013 @ 12:30 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 20 Comments
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It might seem strange that anyone at the Society of Professional Journalists would think its members should write more often about racial topics.
The SPJ is already one of the most race-conscious groups in America. And that is easy to see in every aspect of SPJ’s operations, including its magazine, web site, blogs, meetings, training, conventions and membership.
But race and crime? Not so much.
Abe Aamidor is wondering if that is a good idea. Aamidor wrote a thumb sucker for this month’s SPJ Quill magazine called “When Race is Relevant.” It does not ask about the relationship between race and crime. Or how black violence and black on white crime is exponentially out of proportion. The numbers are overwhelming and well known already. Even to the most obstinate reporter.
Aamidor asks a different question: How much should the members of America’s largest journalism group let people know about it? Answer: not much.
Aamidor ignores how often SPJ members already report about race. How, every day, we read about the black caucuses, black colleges, black churches, black labor unions, black businesses, black neighborhoods, black leaders, relentless black victimization at the hands of white supremacy, and on and on and on.
Many of these stories are written by members of the SPJ and the National Association of Black Journalists.
But when it comes to reporting on black on white crime, or black mob violence, these same reporters suddenly turn color blind.
‘What’s a reporter to do?’ asked Aamidor. Aside from following a link in the main photo of his article which connects to a web site of the “Party for Socialism and Liberation,” here’s the only answer Aamidor can muster: “Working journalists may need to look no further than their own media outlet’s policies, which likely will offer guidance on how to report on race and crime.”
Translation: More of the same.
Fair enough. Let’s check Aamidor’s former paper, The Indianapolis Star, where he toiled for 22 years. The Star’s policy toward reporting race and crime can be summed up in one word: Don’t.
One hour after I read Aamidor’s piece, I came across a tweet about one of the more popular euphemisms for black mob violence: Large fights. This one in Indianapolis, involving 80 people with baseball bats and other weapons. Everyone was black.
The next day, the Indy Star dutifully reported some of the details of the riot. Everything except the race. The paper also dutifully reported that this kind of large scale violence had happened twice before in the last year. And dutifully gave some details. Except the race.
Dutifully understating the frequency and intensity of black mob violence in Indianapolis by a factor of at least ten.
In the last three years, there have been dozens of episodes of racial violence in this once bucolic slice of middle America. Many documented in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”
Much of it on video.
But because the participants are not carrying signs with racist slogans, or promoting violent black revolution as some did during a recent public meeting in Indianapolis, many reporters say there is no evidence of racial violence in Indianapolis. Or anywhere else.
No matter how many videos there are. No matter how far out of proportion black mob violence is. If they do not report it, it does not exist. And if it does not exist, how can they report it?
Every discussion of racial violence in Indianapolis must begin with the Indiana Black Expo. Over the last ten years, this annual, week long celebration of racial consciousness has been the site of shootings, assaults, property destruction, violence against police, and large scale mayhem that can only be called riots.
It got so bad even the Indy Star could no longer ignore it:
“Although none of the shootings or fights was directly connected to Summer Celebration events or venues, the annual celebration of black culture that attracts more than 200,000 people Downtown during its 11-day run has been inescapably tied to the violence.”
Much of the violence is on video. You can find a more complete record of the violence at the Black Expo here.
At this year’s Expo in August, hundreds of police smothered the downtown in anticipation of more black mob violence. Especially since the Expo occurred in the week following the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
When it did not occur, some accused the police of racial profiling. Others said police prepared for and prevented a predictable event. They wondered why an even larger event — the Indy 500 — required only a fraction of the police. And had fewer incidents.
Black mob violence is hardly limited to the Black Expo.
Downtown Indianapolis has been the site of dozens of cases of large-scale black mob violence over the last three years. The Indy Star reports these perpetrators as “unruly teens,” or “unruly youths” or any number of other euphemisms. But the videos tell the story.
The mobs are black.
Downtown Indy is supposed to be a gleaming center of commerce and government and tourism.
Instead, downtown on weekends today often resembles an armed camp with police officers, barricades, helicopters, and an increasing number of empty storefronts from merchants who no longer wish to tolerate the black mob violence that occurs with regular and violent intensity.
Earlier this year, after constructing a Maginot Line-like wall around the downtown, black people just went to one of the suburban malls and wreaked havoc there.
That is also on video.
By July 4 of this year, even the Indy Star knew there was a problem downtown. Here’s how they described it: “a city core overrun by unsupervised teenagers who fight each other and occasionally fire weapons.”
On July 4, despite dogs and helicopters and more than 100 police officers on the street, it happened again. But if you wanted to get the real flavor of the violence from the Indy Star, skip the reporting and go directly to the comments:
James Parson posted on the IndyStar.com:
“I was downtown with my family last night, I saw the gangs roaming the streets. I will not be coming downtown ever again,nor will my family. The insults that were thrown at my family by the black gangsters were out of line. One called my wife a fat whore. Glad to se that Ballard is doing something about these killers in training. I will not be back downtown.If you value your life you will not come either.The gangs own the streets in our city.”
Mark Magers chimed in:
“I agree James! I was downtown for the fireworks with friends and the gangs were ominous and ugly. What is going on downtown? We used to take pride in presenting a safe and fun filled experience.”downtown. I too will not be back and next year will go to the Geist “blast on the bridge”. A better show and nicer group of people!”
The national headquarters of the Society of Professional Journalists is four miles from the epicenter of this racial violence. But somehow, racial violence as a regular feature of the largest black expo in America did not make it into Aamidor’s discussion.
He did however, talk about how television news directors in Pittsburgh met last year with black activists to form an agreement as to how to reduce the coverage of black crime in that city. Aamidor reports the head of Black Empowerment Project said observing crime is bad for white and black people:
“If the only information about black people is what’s in the news, there’s a reason why the unemployment rate is astronomic and why we have all these negative issues — because the imaging of black people is extremely negative,” said Black Political Empowerment Project president Tim Stevens.
“Not only does it affect the viewpoint of white people with their thoughts on black people, I say it affects the psychology of black people.”
No news whether local farmers are complaining about the weather reports.
The Indy Star might be too queasy to cover racial violence, but not everyone ignores it. Writing in Indiana Barrister, local attorney Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, is out of patience with people who have too much patience for black pathology:
It’s time for some tough love in this town. There is a criminal element in this town that consists primarily of young black men.
The recent attacks on the Monon; the perpetrators were young black men. The “Pop It Off Boys” gang; young black men.
The most high ridden crime areas of the city, who are the bad guys? Say it with me, they are usually young black men.
This may be painful, but the truth hurts. … There is also something even more wrong when people will read this column and get mad at me and call me a “sellout” or an “Uncle Tom” because I was the guy who was brave enough to tell truth.
Indianapolis, you have a problem. Your problem is young, black men who are out of control. It’s time to step up and start making examples out of people.
Decent citizens black and white should not have to live in fear of urban terrorists.
The elderly man who marched for civil rights in the 1950s and 60s should not have to live in fear because some Robin Hoodlum doesn’t know how to honor the social contract.
Young people who are trying to do the right thing, shouldn’t have to live in fear because a bunch of cast extras from a Spike Lee film don’t know how to behave.
And I shouldn’t have to write blog posts like this because young black men act like social predators and terrorize the very neighborhoods they live in.
Not coming soon to your local chapter of the apologists at the Society of Professional Journalists.
Post Script: One of the stated goals in the SPJ Mission Statement is to “To encourage diversity in journalism.”
Of the 35 staffers and members of the board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists, none is black.
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