“Over the past year, we have hosted weekly live conversations about race and ethnicity on Facebook, tackling topics that ranged from black royalty to Latino baseball players to Asian-American slurs. RaceNYT, as we call the segment, is an extension of the crucial coverage on race — in America and beyond — that appears in The New York Times. We see it as a chance not only to explore important stories of race and what they mean to society, but also to give you, our readers and viewers, a chance to join the conversation.
These subjects are not always easy to talk about. Why, for instance, is affordable housing built mostly in poor, heavily minority areas? What are the terms about race that make us uncomfortable? And what do the United States and major institutions like universities owe the descendants of the enslaved people they profited from?
We explored these issues and more with a wide range of guests, including political strategists, filmmakers, academics and Times viewers. Here are five takeaways from the show…”
Thus spake the New York Times, online a couple of days ago, and in today’s print edition. What are stated as “takeaways” are, however, the product of confirmation bias, dubious assumptions, and efforts at political manipulation. For example…
Like racial minorities in the United States, Indigenous Australians are often relegated to the fringe of society, Craig Quartermaine, an Aboriginal television reporter and comedian, told us. “We’re window dressing,” he said.
Why this is unethical: Comparing the problems of Indigenous Australians to “racial minorities in the United States” is unsupportable. A comparison with indigenous North American populations would arguably be valid.
Madeline Vann reached out to us, wondering how she should handle the racially offensive remarks she was hearing in her community. She is a white freelance writer in Virginia.
Why this is unethical: Uh-uh. Ethics foul. You can’t tar a community like that without giving concrete examples. I live in Virginia: I almost never hear any “racially offensive remarks.” The New York Times core audience is the same group that believes it is “racially offensive” to object to NFL players using stadium time to issue half-baked protests they can’t articulate during the national anthem. The Times’ supposedly open inquiry on race begins with the assumption that the nation is racist. That’s called a bias. What kind of remarks are you talking about Madeline? How many, how often and from how many people?
“The first year of the Trump presidency has been marked by a vast racial chasm where perspectives often exist in different worlds.”
Why this is unethical: Wow, all that division in such a short time! This statement is deceitful. The reason there is a vast racial chasm is because the previous administration had eight years to put it there, and the because the news media fully committed to the project. The Congressional Black Caucus boycotted the Trump Inauguration, because part of the campaign strategy against him was to declare he was a racist, and that anyone who voted for him was a racist. That was a strategy developed into an art form to protect Barack Obama from legitimate criticism, and keep his loyal African American base angry and afraid.
Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of a “white Hispanic” was politicized by Obama and the CDC to widen that “chasm,” and it occurred midway through the Obama years. In 2012, Joe Biden said that the Republicans wanted to put blacks “back in chains.” Black Lives Matter wasn’t a creature of the Trump administration. Black college students didn’t start demanding “safe spaces” without whites and special privileges after Trump’s election: they did it before. The historical airbrushing madness to use slavery to justify erasing any references to the confederacy was an Obama era phenomenon that has extended into Trump’s administration. The Oscars were bullied into making race a criteria for artistic honors during Obama’s administration.
The more I read that quote, the more misleading and intentionally dishonest it seems.
The Muslim-American activists Aber Kawas and Dalia Mogahed told us how they felt last month when the authorities quickly described an attack by a Muslim man in Manhattan as terrorism, while that term was never officially applied to a white man who fatally shot more than 50 people in Las Vegas weeks earlier.
“Pretty much we define terror attacks as something that’s done by a Muslim,” Ms. Kawas said.
Why this is unethical: Definitions have nothing to do with it, and this is distortion. We pretty much know that when there are attacks by Muslims, they are terror attacks, since every violent mass killing committed by a Muslim in the U.S. since 2001 HAS been a terror attack, including the recent one in Manhattan. We also know that the major terrorism organizations in the world are Muslim, and that one of them, ISIS, keeps vowing to wreak terror on the U.S., and has shown the ability to do it. And we know that of the major world religions, Islam is the only one with a holy book that tells its adherents that they have a moral obligation to kill infidels, as in, us.
On the other side of the ledger, we know that the last time a white non-immigrant American man, Charles Whitman, went into a high place with multiple rifles and started randomly shooting a lot of people for no particular reason, he was insane, and no political motive has ever been found. Thus it wasn’t racism, or racial bias, that led authorities to quickly describe an attack by a Muslim man as terrorism—which it in fact was—but to hesitated to make such an assumption with the non-Muslim Las Vegas shooter. It was profiling, experience, common sense and history. Did anyone point this out to Aber Kawas and Dalia Mogahed in the course of this project to “explore important stories of race”? Apparently not, or if so, the Times didn’t feel it was worth mentioning, so it’s obviously “not fit to print.”
“Our colleague, Nathalie Nieves, who is Hispanic, shared her feelings about the day when a white co-worker asked whether she was undocumented. (She isn’t.)”
Why this is unethical: When publications like the Times openly and repeatedly push the narrative that illegal immigrants are no less deserving of permanent legal residence in the U.S. than legal immigrants, and when Hispanics accept that deliberately false and confounding use of language to undermine legitimate debate, and when New York boasts of its status as a sanctuary city, the white-co-worker’s question is reasonable. It may be rude, but it is certainly not racist.
Like so many progressives, the New York Times journalists don’t really seek the “open dialogue about race’ they keep calling for. They want to prove and justify their pre-determined conclusions, using any opinions and arguments that don’t t comfortably fit those conclusions to stand as damning evidence of how racist others are.
There will never be honest discussions about race as long as the framework for them is intrinsically biased.