1. Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Tony, I agree with you that the journalism here is shady. 

    However, let me play devil’s advocate here…

    The fact is that when there is “looting” or “finding” going on (or whatever you want to call it) more often than not it’s black people. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves. Is this an absurd statement? I don’t think so.

    Here in Chicago there was looting whenever the Bulls won a championship in the ’90s, some years worse than others.

    Now, the looting didn’t happen in the white areas of Chicago, and it didn’t happen in the white suburbs. No, the looters were in the black areas turning over cars, setting stuff on fire, smashing storefront windows, and stealing TVs, microwaves, clothes, and whatever else they could grab in the moment.

    Why? I guess because they could.

    Give me another recent example of looting in the U.S. and I’m guessing the culprits, more often than not, were black.

    Am I wrong to make this presumption?

    I’m not saying that white people never loot, nor am I saying there weren’t any white people looting down in the South these last couple of days. Idiocy is not bound by race.

    But I’m guessing the vast majority were black (and, btw, I don’t begrudge anyone who was taking food and water, regardless of color.)

    Yeah, you’re right. It’s sad that so-called professional journalists are so dumb.

    But it’s also sad that whenever you hear of looting, most people will think of a black person jumping through shards of glass with a computer on his/her shoulder.

    And it’s not like the reputation isn’t earned. It’s been earned.

    Look, like I said, I agree with your post, but the truth is that black people, as sad as it is, are more likely to be deemed to be looting than white people because, well, they’ve been more likely to loot in the past. When that reputation is shed, then we can REALLY shit on these crappy journalists.

    You can rant about the journalism here, but there are bigger problems than that, problems you may be neglecting to look at because of the whole racism angle.

    I mean, what’s worse? A few dumbasses in a newsroom, or a mob stampeding through Wal-Mart, stealing all the guns, and then running all night through the streets gang-style armed and dangerous? (BTW, this actually happened yesterday. I’m not sure what color the men were, but I’d guess black, if only because of past history.)

    Me? I’ll take the dumbass in the newsroom eight days a week.

    – UC

    when i first read this comment i was blown away by the ignorance and racism in this.

    but as ive let it sit with me for a while and as ive re-read it, i can see where the dude, UC, is sorta coming from.

    so lets get into it civilly.

    first of all, all people loot. black white brown yellow. all people. to say Blacks do the majority of looting is ignorant, untrue, and yes, racist. what you see on TV is a small percentage of people looting and oftentimes what you see on tv are Poor people looting in the wake of a natural disaster like what we’re seeing now, or a riot, or after a sporting event.

    i went to school at UC Santa Barbara where we didnt really march downtown to topple cars, but we did cause personal and public destruction after big victories by burning couches and dumpsters – which ocassionally started bigger fires like the telephone poles next to the dumpsters and couches.

    sporting event looting is a little more common in big cities where the team hasnt won a title in a long time. yes i remember the rioting/looting in chicago in the 80s with the bulls and i also remember the same thing happening in detroit when the pistons won.

    chicago stadium isnt in a white part of town. therefore it doesnt suprise me that non-whites were involved in the crimes. and detroit isnt pearly white either, therefore it should be no suprise that Any crime activity in that fair city would probably be done by non-whites.

    and not too long ago the Maryland Terps beat Duke in college hoops. not only did I see white kids out there rolling over cars and lighting them on fire, i saw young women out there.

    all of these sorts of looting are sports-related emotionally-charged mayhem caused from a positive experience. and they are color-blind.

    another type of looting came after the Rodney King verdicts here in LA. race was very integral to the coverage of those riots and looting because what people discovered was it wasnt a black/white thing because LA isnt black/white. it turned out to be a black/white/hispanic/korean thing where black businesses were burned by blacks and hispanics and korean businesses were burned and looted by others, and images of all types of people were published doing all sorts of illegal activity.

    that looting was charged by anger. those crimes were committed as a form of payback of years of oppression and bad spirits. and again, it was color-blind.

    a few years back we saw in Iraq looting of museums and even zoos by the oppressed people of that country. again, it was retrobution of years of bad tidings and misery. and no, there were no black people there.

    but even more recently we have seen the looting of pension funds by white people at Enron, and the looting of our future by the record-breaking deficit spending practices of more white people at the white house. the difference is the media doesnt cover it that way so you dont see it that way.

    which was the point of last night’s post: The Media Shapes the Public’s Perception of Race in Relation to Theft and Recklessness.

    it’s definately horrible to steal bread. its not cool, and even if it’s about to spoil or about to be stolen from someone else, the practice goes against our key foundations as a civilized society.

    but when that activity gets painted with one broad negative brush by an News Agency in relation to Blacks differently than how it gets painted in relation to whites, those stereotypes are unfairly and inaccurately reinforced.

    and worse: we see that racism is so prevelant that it has even seeped into the collective unconscious of those who should know how to communicate best: professional journalists whose jobs it is to describe activity in clear concise ways.

    UC looks at the world based on how what he sees through the media. when the media is fucked up then UCs perspective is fucked up.

    it is difficult to change human nature – which steals and cheats and lies – but it is easier to influence journalism and journalistic standards which shape public perceptions.

    yesterdays fuckup by AFP and Yahoo!, and the fact that those fuckups still exist prove that we still have a long way to go in regards to race, the press, and how we view ourselves in this complex society where somethings arent complex

    white people looting are looters.
    black people looting are looters.
    enron looting are looters too, theyres just fewer cameras around.

    unknown column + kitty bukkake + nsfw jenny good + laist