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10 Things NEVER to Say to a Black Coworker


lictor616

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....Come on, Morris, why don't you shock me by actually answering this one.

Come on....it's frickin' Buffalo....so the answer is no. Buffalo may be an important trading post for tax dodging Canadians, but it ain't exactly a major hub for anything except hydro. Even OJ Simpson hated being there.

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"As I mentioned in my response to Michael, I think the media sees benefit in reporting white-on-nonwhite violence, but sees risk in reportin nonwhite-on-white violence."

Dog bites man all the time. It's not news because it isn't a rare occurance. If you want all crimes reported, I think "the media" does a pretty good job even though they do not necessarily identify the skin colour of the victims. Often they will simply report the skin colour of the perpetrator as a factor of description. (the example I supplied was a joke BTW). However, in reporting the description of the perpetrator, they usually do not care if the perp is black or white ot "asian." However, I highly doubt there is any reluctance on behalf of the media if we use the Jane Creba case as an example. This is the Canadian ethic.

I don't recall that the media made race an issue during that incident. This article, it seems to me, is typical of how the media tried to tip-toe around the issue of race:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/12/29/newshooting-Toronto051229.html

Mentions gang rivalry as possible motive for the violence, but unless "gang" is taken to be a euphemism for "black", that's as close as it gets.

Now, there *was* some heated discussion of whether Toronto had a "gang problem" after a series of incidents that included Jane Creba's death as well as a rash of other shootings. And that unavoidably meant a discussion of Toronto's black community, which was driven by black community activists and not by media types.

The fact is that it would not be a rare occurance for black to commit crime against a white person because there are 5 times as many white persons to be victims.

(Shouldn't that be counterbalanced by the fact that there are just 1/5 as many potential black attackers?)

However, it is rare - and this is borne out by the statistics - that there would be white violence against black - the man bites dog scenario. And this, coupled with the history surrounding the treatment of black people by the majority white elite in recent times and the efforts of the white majority to remove racism as much as possible has led to a sensitivity that compels news folk to take a closer, and sometimes more careful, look. I mean, do men still bite dogs nowaways? What's up with that?

So you can't blame them.

It seems like you're arguing that sensitivity to past injustices prompts the media to favor stories that chastise "men who still bite dogs"...

And yet when asked if that's the case, your response is...

"Is it your position that the media's job is to decide what merits coverage based on its potential to effect social change?"

Read 'Manufactured Consent' by Herman and Chomsky. My position is similar to theirs in that a simple view of the news industry leads to simplistic conclusions. But I will say that I believe that a primary factor in what the media decides is newsworthy has more to do with profit than social change. And, of course, it isn't all that profitable to report that a dog bit a man...

... that these sorts of decisions are driven by profit.

Personally, I disagree. I don't think profit explains it. I don't think non-white violence against whites is so commonplace that it's just not newsworthy.

I think the newsworthiness of a given event is determined by specific circumstances, but if race is an aspect of that story, the sensibilities with which race is addressed are very different depending whether the attacker is white or non-white.

-k

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Come on....it's frickin' Buffalo....so the answer is no. Buffalo may be an important trading post for tax dodging Canadians, but it ain't exactly a major hub for anything except hydro. Even OJ Simpson hated being there.

Well, when that gay feller got beat to death, that got turned into a huge story, and that wasn't even Buffalo, that was Bupkus Wyoming.

-k

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Maybe you're right. But you're guessing in any case, and what if you're right ? Does it matter ?

I think it matters.

I think the disproportion in coverage paints an inaccurate picture, and gives the idea that minorities are at high risk of violence from white racists. I think that's highly inaccurate, and I can't see anything positive that could come from giving people such an impression. I think it probably creates a climate of fear, resentment, and mistrust.

I also think the disproportion in coverage harms the cause of people who'd like to have some kind of dialogue on the issue. How can I seriously have a conversation with people who think the attack on Jay Phillips is the worst thing since the Holocaust, when similar incidents with the races reversed are commonplace and go unreported by the media? If a conversation is so loaded that it causes someone like me to dismiss it out of hand, how are you going to get your case across to the *real* knuckleheads?

And it gives the Lictors of the world ammunition, helps them rationalize their paranoia.

-k

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"I don't recall that the media made race an issue during that incident."

No, they didn't make it an issue, they just reported on it. Is it your position that the Canadian media needs to make race an issue in reporting to avoid a double standard?

"I think the newsworthiness of a given event is determined by specific circumstances, but if race is an aspect of that story, the sensibilities with which race is addressed are very different depending whether the attacker is white or non-white."

I see that you do. How interesting. :P Just kidding! We are getting somewhere now...

"(Shouldn't that be counterbalanced by the fact that there are just 1/5 as many potential black attackers?)"

Nope. Doesn't matter how many potential black perpetrators there are, they are still out-numbered 5 to 1. If you want insight into the odds, then factor in which skin colour is more likely to have the economic resources desired by the criminals. Not all robberies, assaults, break-ins or murders are about race. Very few are.

If you want to "counter-balance by the fact" go back to the US homicide stat tables from a previous post which show the vast majority of homicides committed against one skin colour are likely to come from a perpetrator with the same skin colour. Now, do you think the story behind a white person murdering another white person is about race? How about a black person killing another black person? Is that about race? No, of course not.

"Personally, I disagree. I don't think profit explains it. I don't think non-white violence against whites is so commonplace that it's just not newsworthy."

But it is newsworthy, just not by the same factor you wish to subscribe to the sample stories. Others have answered this aspect of your query with solid competence. However, when a white person commits a crime against a black person - especially when the crime is committed against a poor black person, the story is more compelling to a readership because of all the social factors pointed out previously. Compelling stories sell the news. Etc.

Kimmy, it appears to me that you have an expectation of 'equality' when it comes to news reporting and this presumes a level playing field where all the factors are equal. But when it comes to racial issues there are no level playing fields and likely never will be for a very long time. Not in our lifetime. You cannot comment about double-standards while ignoring the complexity of values that are input into an already imbalanced set of social circumstances. Well, you can comment, but that really doesn't do anything for your position. ;) Seriously, I am betting that should those circumstances be discussed you would find our positions are more similar and grey than simply black & white.

If you want a very insightful take on the modern US media read 'Manufactured Consent' and it might fill in some of those values for you. While the focus of this book is on the US media reporting bias towards foreign "news" the same principles apply to domestic reporting as well. And of course the Canadian media is quite different, but structured the same way overall.

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If 10 to 15 white men had attacked an 18 year old black boy for dating a white girl in Buffalo, do you think the story would have been picked up by media outlets outside of Buffalo?

Come on, Morris, why don't you shock me by actually answering this one.

-k

Probably. Is that analogous to the Bufaloo incident?

And Kimmy, I suppose someone your age might be a little conceited and think everyone hangs on to their every word....while I might be a fan of your posts, I am not your stalker, I don't read every post you make, even ones from the other day.

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K,

I think it matters.

I think the disproportion in coverage paints an inaccurate picture, and gives the idea that minorities are at high risk of violence from white racists. I think that's highly inaccurate, and I can't see anything positive that could come from giving people such an impression. I think it probably creates a climate of fear, resentment, and mistrust.

I also think the disproportion in coverage harms the cause of people who'd like to have some kind of dialogue on the issue. How can I seriously have a conversation with people who think the attack on Jay Phillips is the worst thing since the Holocaust, when similar incidents with the races reversed are commonplace and go unreported by the media? If a conversation is so loaded that it causes someone like me to dismiss it out of hand, how are you going to get your case across to the *real* knuckleheads?

And it gives the Lictors of the world ammunition, helps them rationalize their paranoia.

-k

Fine, but we were discussing trying to get the root of how this kind of bias happens and to that point, you can only drill down so far. As long as it's about just getting the media to do a better job, I'm with you. These discussions, though, can sometimes cross over to the world of the paranoid and you know what I'm talking about here.

If we take a common ground shared between reasonable left-ish and right-ish posters, it might be that news as information should be separated form news as entertainment. Both have their purposes, and more to the point - their markets.

I'm glad that Nancy Grace and Bill O'Reilly exist. More and more, they report on things that the general public isn't really even aware of - only their audiences. This represents the 'full circle' evolution of entertainment news, and this process should be allowed to continue. Hopefully, we'll have a core of real news that addresses the job of giving out objective information.

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This much is given, a news event like a swarming with racial undertones in a small town is newsworthy because it flys in the face of what our perceptions of what small towns are like.

A news event like a swarming in a small town where the victim pummels his would be assailants is even more news worthy...

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Probably. Is that analogous to the Bufaloo incident?

I think it's exactly analogous. If you wish to disagree, let's hear it. Otherwise, I'll just take "probably" as your agreement that yes, the race of the victim and the attackers played a significant role in the degree of media coverage the incident received.

This much is given, a news event like a swarming with racial undertones in a small town is newsworthy because it flys in the face of what our perceptions of what small towns are like.

A news event like a swarming in a small town where the victim pummels his would be assailants is even more news worthy...

On the contrary, it confirmed a lot of peoples' perceptions of what small towns are like... insular little communities full of xenophobic redneck dirt-bags. There are certainly comments to that effect in the thread on the topic.

-k

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Fine, but we were discussing trying to get the root of how this kind of bias happens

To this point I've been primarily just trying to argue that this kind of bias even exists. Look at him, he still won't give it up. "oooh, oooh, maybe it was newsworthy because people think small towns are peaceful and harmonious!"

and to that point, you can only drill down so far. As long as it's about just getting the media to do a better job, I'm with you. These discussions, though, can sometimes cross over to the world of the paranoid and you know what I'm talking about here.

I have no wish to claim that "they" are out to "get" "us" or any such thing. I just think the media are spineless cowards and deserve to be called out. I think they report on issues with a racial aspect is doing a disservice to everybody involved, and they deserve to be criticized for it.

If we take a common ground shared between reasonable left-ish and right-ish posters, it might be that news as information should be separated form news as entertainment. Both have their purposes, and more to the point - their markets.

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here. Personally my issue is not with the blurring of the line between "news" and "entertainment". My problem is more with the failure of the "news as information" people to actually present information.

I'm glad that Nancy Grace and Bill O'Reilly exist. More and more, they report on things that the general public isn't really even aware of - only their audiences. This represents the 'full circle' evolution of entertainment news, and this process should be allowed to continue. Hopefully, we'll have a core of real news that addresses the job of giving out objective information.

I just haven't watched either of them to have an informed opinion about what they report, but I do know that Bill O'Reilly and Nancy Grace are vilified for what they do. If that's what's waiting for reporters and commentators who are willing to dare being politically incorrect, then no wonder nobody's doing it.

-k

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K,

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here. Personally my issue is not with the blurring of the line between "news" and "entertainment". My problem is more with the failure of the "news as information" people to actually present information.

The point is that news items about racists get attention - that they get attention. They are therefore part of the selling of the news, or the entertainment part. It seems that way to me anyway. Don't you agree ?

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"I don't recall that the media made race an issue during that incident."

No, they didn't make it an issue, they just reported on it. Is it your position that the Canadian media needs to make race an issue in reporting to avoid a double standard?

It's my claim that the Canadian media downplays or avoids mention of race wherever possible, in situations where the accused or convicted are non-white.

Peruse this one for an example of what I'm getting at:

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1038995888018_128/

There's no mention at all of race. People might suspect that names like "Redbreast" and "Ironchild" and "Keewatin" are native, and somebody in the know would realize that the Alberta Warriors are an aboriginal gang, but that's all. The policeman offers robbery as the motive, as if such horrific violence were required to get some bank-cards from the captured teens.

Now, if 6 white men had captured and tortured a group of native teenagers... tell me if you think the media would be tiptoeing around race as they did in this article.

I previously mentioned another example, the 16 black teens who were accused (and ultimately convicted or plead guilty) in the ongoing sexual abuse of a white girl at their high school. We know that the accused were black and the victim was white... but only because the parents of the accused teens went to the media to howl that their children were the victims of racism. The later follow-up article I posted mentions the convictions, but completely neglects to mention the racial aspect of the story, despite the fact that the controversy raised by the angry parents had been the noteworthy aspect that got national attention for the story in the first place.

"(Shouldn't that be counterbalanced by the fact that there are just 1/5 as many potential black attackers?)"

Nope. Doesn't matter how many potential black perpetrators there are, they are still out-numbered 5 to 1.

You made it sound as if you think the ratio is a completely rational result of the relative populations. But that doesn't make sense at all. If group A numbers 45 million and members of group A perform activity X 2 million times per year, and members of group B number 225 million and perform activity Y 400,000 times per year, seems apparent that a member of group A is 25 times more likely to do activity X than a member of group B is to do activity Y.
If you want insight into the odds, then factor in which skin colour is more likely to have the economic resources desired by the criminals. Not all robberies, assaults, break-ins or murders are about race. Very few are.

... unless the attackers are white and the victims aren't... or so we're led to believe.

Kimmy, it appears to me that you have an expectation of 'equality' when it comes to news reporting and this presumes a level playing field where all the factors are equal.

I don't have any expectation of "equality" from the media. I have pretty low expectations of the media, and I'm seldom disappointed. The media is what it is. They want to sell newspapers/banner ads/ratings points, and they fear criticism.

And if they report certain stories in a certain way, they get a torrent of criticism from "progressives".

If they keep doing what they're doing, they get criticism from... just about nobody, except for maybe myself, plus some whack-jobs. They're probably completely fine with that.

But when it comes to racial issues there are no level playing fields and likely never will be for a very long time. Not in our lifetime. You cannot comment about double-standards while ignoring the complexity of values that are input into an already imbalanced set of social circumstances. Well, you can comment, but that really doesn't do anything for your position. ;) Seriously, I am betting that should those circumstances be discussed you would find our positions are more similar and grey than simply black & white.

I think we're mostly agreed (except Morris and Globe) that at least a double standard exists, and I agree that there are probably historical reasons why, and maybe it even made sense at some point. I don't think it makes sense any more, I don't think it can be argued to be beneficial to anybody, and I don't see that the criticism is unfair or undeserved.

-k

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It's my claim that the Canadian media downplays or avoids mention of race wherever possible, in situations where the accused or convicted are non-white....

Perhaps this explains why some Candians vicariously analyze and experience such incidents as reported in the United States, if only to confirm their own domestic biases and convictions. Starved of data with "racial" context at home, American news media makes up for the "downplay".

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Perhaps this explains why some Candians vicariously analyze and experience such incidents as reported in the United States, if only to confirm their own domestic biases and convictions. Starved of data with "racial" context at home, American news media makes up for the "downplay".

American media behaves in exactly the same way.

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The point is that news items about racists get attention - that they get attention. They are therefore part of the selling of the news, or the entertainment part. It seems that way to me anyway. Don't you agree ?

The entertainment would be just as grand if the racists in question were natives or blacks, would it not? Yet we never get entertained by that - for some reason.

Just think of the vicarious excitement the media could generate by dwelling on a group of Black men SEXUALLY MOLESTING a pretty white girl! Wow! Everyone would want to see! So why is the slavering public denied this form of entertainment?

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I think it's exactly analogous. If you wish to disagree, let's hear it. Otherwise, I'll just take "probably" as your agreement that yes, the race of the victim and the attackers played a significant role in the degree of media coverage the incident received.

So then,correct me if I am mistaken, I can assume the buffaloo incident invilved a geng of blacks beating a white guy who was dating a black girl? I ask this hoenstly.

I also disagree race makes something newsworthy. Uniquenes certainly does though. Like a victim thrashing his attackers. Or in yesterdays news, a couple of senior citizens (vets) fughting off a thief.

On the contrary, it confirmed a lot of peoples' perceptions of what small towns are like... insular little communities full of xenophobic redneck dirt-bags. There are certainly comments to that effect in the thread on the topic.

-k

While there may be comments to that effect here, I disagree that is the normal perception of what a small town is composed of or that typifies small town values.

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I think we're mostly agreed (except Morris and Globe) that at least a double standard exists, and I agree that there are probably historical reasons why, and maybe it even made sense at some point. I don't think it makes sense any more, I don't think it can be argued to be beneficial to anybody, and I don't see that the criticism is unfair or undeserved.

-k

You are right, I don't agree. Mainly because this opinion is unsupported by any facts or anything other than an assumption.

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You are right, I don't agree. Mainly because this opinion is unsupported by any facts or anything other than an assumption.

and that is merely a barefaced brazen lie... you say this not BECAUSE of the evidence dancer, but in spite of it..

invariably hate crimes are published ad absurdum if the victims are non-white

and when they ARE white, its swept under a very plush carpet...

its standard procedure, and it happens INCESSANTLY with always the same results. Those are the facts. not an assumption: this is what is actually happening and what is obvious even to you (although you choose to ignore it because it conflicts with your liberal delusions).

no need to delve further into the topic... that's what is happening.

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Argus,

The entertainment would be just as grand if the racists in question were natives or blacks, would it not? Yet we never get entertained by that - for some reason.

Just think of the vicarious excitement the media could generate by dwelling on a group of Black men SEXUALLY MOLESTING a pretty white girl! Wow! Everyone would want to see! So why is the slavering public denied this form of entertainment?

I don't think it would. I think that type of crime wouldn't elicit the type of righteous indignation that the editors want the viewers to feel. But I also agree with this: "Yet we never get entertained by that - for some reason."

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Argus,

I don't think it would. I think that type of crime wouldn't elicit the type of righteous indignation that the editors want the viewers to feel. But I also agree with this: "Yet we never get entertained by that - for some reason."

so you concede that you think that non-white victims are more deserving of publicity and public sympathy then white victims...

well that settles the argument then...

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Perhaps this explains why some Candians vicariously analyze and experience such incidents as reported in the United States, if only to confirm their own domestic biases and convictions. Starved of data with "racial" context at home, American news media makes up for the "downplay".

Not that long ago I was watching an American broadcast of a match between a black boxer and a white boxer where the announcer was trying to explain which figher was which by explaining that while both had black trunks, Johnson had some white trim on his trunks.

Americans are not as bold in mentioning race as you'd like to present, Dick.

-k

{on the bright side, at least neither of the boxers was described as a "visible minority".}

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I don't think it would. I think that type of crime wouldn't elicit the type of righteous indignation that the editors want the viewers to feel. But I also agree with this: "Yet we never get entertained by that - for some reason."

I think that in the inverse situation, the editors are worried that viewers *would* feel righteous indignation... and are afraid of being accused of fanning racial hatred (or "they treat it as a hot-button issue" in newspeak). They cover these stories as if this was still a culture where a lynch mob of angry whites would hit the streets to retaliate.

-k

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Ok - well it makes me ask why individual crimes need to be covered in the first place. They're always there but do we need to know about them in such a way ? Aren't trends and statistics more important to us than individual crimes ?

Most aren't, at least in a city of any significant size. Most assaults and attacks merit a brief mention in a police blotter column in the local news section of the paper.

Only incidents that catch the editor's eye get any more coverage than that. What catches an editor's eye?

Multiple attackers. Multiple incidents. Unusual circumstances. Lurid details. A video of the incident. All of these ones are obvious. I submit that a potential "hate crime" aspect to the case is something that catches an editor's eye as well.

-k

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