Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blacks in the Media - Part I

On August 14, an article called "When the Media Treats White Suspects and Killers Better than Black Victims" was posted on Huffington Post, under "Huff Post Black Voices". In addition to the Whites listed in that article, here's a relatively recent example of a glorified White suspect: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (and to a lesser extent, his brother, Tamerlan).

Since White Americans dominate the media, it's no surprise brothers Tsarnaev, who murdered three Bostonians and maimed hundreds of others on April 15, 2013, were labeled the "Boston bombers", rather than terrorists, or "Boston terrorists". Rolling Stone "graced" the front cover of one of its issues with a whimsical photo of Dzhokhar, symbolically conflating a sociopath with a rock star icon. Inside, Janet Reitman reports on both brothers, but mainly Dzhokhar.

The title of the article is "Jahar's World", suggesting readers will be transported to a fascinating museum of arts and culture. 

The editors' intro statement includes this:

"The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens."

OK, but that "understanding" typically is absent from the media when non-White youth are the focus (and for doing far less damage).

Reitman states the following, four paragraphs in:

"People in Cambridge thought of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – "Jahar" to his friends – as a beautiful, tousle-haired boy with a gentle demeanor, soulful brown eyes and the kind of shy, laid-back manner that "made him that dude you could always just vibe with," one friend says ... a promising student. He was also 'just a normal American kid,' as his friends described him … "

We're told about the upstanding reputation of Cambridge (his community), and how talented he was; how "superchill" one friend thought he was, and how another friend thought he was "smooth as f**k". We're told all his friends "thought he had morals" and it was reported that he "never beat anyone up". Reitman informs us that Dzhokhar was thought of as a great boxer, and points to his alleged academic promise; Tamerlan was known as a "talented" boxer also. What is described, but downplayed, are Dzhokhar's repeated, anti-US, verbal outbursts in mosques, and the "jihadist screed" scrawled on the walls of the boat he hid in after detonating the bombs. 

 ... Ironically, two days following the bombings by the Tsarnaev brothers, CNN mistakenly reported that a "dark-skinned suspect" had been arrested. 

It's hard to imagine a "dark-skinned" American receiving Rolling Stone treatment, but when a White, male émigré deliberately snuffs out lives and blows off peoples' limbs in an American city after repeatedly proclaiming he hates America, that White terrorist apparently gets the next best think to a diamond-studded public microphone: 

That White terrorist is intimately referenced by his first name by a famous pop-culture mag that gives him a front cover spread and publishes his mini-biography, complete with glowing reviews from his friends.

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