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Charles Davenport Jr.: A double-standard on racial identification

Charles Davenport Jr.: A double-standard on racial identification

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“Racism is real in America. And it always has been. Xenophobia is real in America, and always has been. Sexism, too.”

— Vice President Kamala Harris

The vice president’s remarks, The Associated Press reports, were delivered “just days after a white gunman killed eight people, most of them Asian American women.” Fast-forward to last Sunday in these pages, when Richard Wallace, a progressive activist from Chicago, said, “George Floyd has taken systemic racism from personal problem to America’s issue.”

The Richard Wallace article was also from The Associated Press, which mandates that “Black,” when used as a racial term, gets a capital B, but white must be spelled with a lowercase w. That’s in-your-face racial discrimination and hypocrisy. But I digress (slightly).

Progressive journalists constantly remind the rest of us what a racist nation we are. The narrative is cacophonous, relentless and extraordinarily divisive. (“Narrative” is a fashionable term, but in this case, “fairytale” would be more accurate.)

Much of the media in recent years has been sneeringly dismissed as “fake news,” for good reason. To begin with, many reporters will go to any length necessary to perpetuate the myth of ubiquitous racism and the scary-sounding variants thereof, such as “white supremacy,” while ignoring or downplaying facts that might undermine their carefully woven fairy tale.

The media’s duplicity in the all-racism, all-the-time charade is painfully obvious. Consider a recent example — an illustration that, unfortunately, features local players.

According to multiple media reports, two men from Greensboro, Evoire Collier and Dorian Taylor, traveled to Miami Beach, Fla., where they allegedly drugged, repeatedly raped and then robbed Christine Englehardt, a young woman from Pennsylvania. Hours later, Englehardt was found dead in her hotel room. Collier and Taylor are under arrest in a Florida jail.

Let’s pause to consider something: When the media report violent crimes, is it important that we, the news consumers, are told the race of the perpetrator(s) and victim(s), or, are questions of race irrelevant?

Whatever we decide, most of us can probably agree that journalists should apply the standard consistently. Either we should always be told the race of the perpetrator and the victim, or we never should.

What is unacceptable is the current practice, in which reporters and editors decide when race matters, and when it doesn’t. In their view, race is significant only when the perpetrator is white, and the victim belongs to a protected class.

When the story about Englehardt broke, I read several accounts from local media sources: a couple of articles from this newspaper (that were originally written for The Miami Herald), and articles from the websites of three local TV stations — WXII, WGHP and WFMY.

Every story featured mugshots of the two Greensboro men, who are Black. We learned quite a bit about Englehardt — what she did for a living, her hobbies, a few snippets about her personality — but there was no photo of her, and the text of the stories made no mention of her race.

Many of us suspected, based on the media’s omission, that Englehardt must have been white. We were correct. So, was the omission of the victim’s race a matter of journalistic incompetence, or was it the result of rampant ideological bias within the profession?

If the perps were white, and the victim Black, would the victim’s race be omitted from the story?

The truth about violent crime rates is precisely the opposite of what we’ve been led to believe. Blacks are only about 13% of the population, but, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, they commit half of the nation’s murders, and 38% of violent crime overall.

Don’t believe the hype.

Charles Davenport Jr. (cdavenportjr@hotmail.com) is a News & Record columnist. His article appears the first Sunday of the month.

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