Race & Murder/ Strawperson of "only racism"

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Mon Apr 26 13:22:56 PDT 1999

>>> kirsten neilsen <kirsten at infothecary.org> 04/26/99 12:44PM >>>
actually, charles, this thread started with an expression of outrage from you that the media were somehow covering up or denying the racist origins of this incident. i simply countered that racism was not the primary motive for these boys' actions and that overemphasizing their racism as motivation would be a mistake. ((((((((((((((((((

CB: Here's the difference between us as I see it: I think that racism is a significant , but not exclusive ,origin of this incident. I think racism is a major social problem in the U.S.. and I think the media plays an important role in persuading most white people that racism isn't as widespread as it is. They do that by UNDERemphasizing it in incidents such as the current one. I think there is almost no problem whatsoever by the media or others overemphasizing racism in this incident or in general. So,when you express concern about overemphasis of racism in this incident or in general, I think you are expressing concern about a non-problem. And I certainly don't agree with you that I am overemphasizing racism in this incident or that there is some danger from any such "overemphasis". I say this after reading your arguments to the contrary. You seem to be making a kind of boy-who-cried-wolf argument. But that is based on the false premise that there are a lot of incidents of people or press crying racism when there really is no racism. But the opposite is true. There is much more racism going on in general than the monopoly media is reporting . So, I repeat , there is little basis for "mistakes" of overemphasizing racism, because the problem is overwhelmingly the other way -UNDERemphasis of racism.


others articulated reasons why overemphasizing racism as a motive would be a mistake. furthermore, the media have not ignored the race angle or the nazi sympathy angle. you are the one who doesn't seem to have a grip. but, as you said before, "whatever."


Charles: The others are wrong as you are on the overemphasis non-problem. The thing about the media in this case is that the racism is so evident in the heavy Hitler-Nazi theme that it is difficult for them to cover it up. I gave an example of how they are trying to do it some anyway, as with the headline I quoted "Group hated athletes the most" etc.

But to demonstrate my main point - the avoidance of racism approach- someone on this list even is trying to claim that the Nazi theme doesn't indicate any significant racism. This is exactly the type of argumentation or style of denial thinking that the media has been promoting for years now. I guess it could be characterized as always having heavy skepticism about whether anything is racist and making the most convoluted arguments to avoid explanations based on racism. People have become experts at demonstrating how the most evident racism is "not really" racism.

Charles Brown


btw as part of a response to me, via kelly, you suggested that it would have been more accurate of me to say that the isiah's father's statements contradicted earlier sentiments attributed to him by the nyt, not that he contradicted himself. i agree with this correction. my earlier statement was careless.


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