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Racism in the newsroom

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sirvaliantbrown, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. At my small/almost-all-white-town paper, I've personally heard an editor make an offhand comment that can most generously be described as "obviously insensitive" and been told that a very-high-up recently made an equally stupid one in a similar vein.

    Neither remark was overtly racist, and I know that there are bad/ignorant apples in every bunch. But my standards for opinion-shapers are higher than my standards for society at large.

    What have your experiences been?
  2. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    I had a co-worker who once wore a t-shirt supporting Louis Farrakhan to work on a Saturday. I know of at least one Jewish reporter who wasn't happy given that particular religious leader's statements about Jewish people over the years.

    Does that fit what you meant?
  3. Jesus_Muscatel

    Jesus_Muscatel Well-Known Member

    This thread is not going to end well.
  4. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    But it is off to a promising start. ;)
  5. thegrifter

    thegrifter Member

    The road to bad SportsJournalists.com threads is paved with good intentions.
  6. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    At the risk of being ripped, there are some things that are wrong and some that are right. Do I think making a hurtful racial joke is in inappropriate? Yes. But I think the P.C. police can get carried away. Our top marketing rep is black. He's a friend of mine. We both make offhand jokes about each other. He always gets myself and a co-worker's first names wrong, calling us by the other's first name. When we correct him, he'll crack, "All you white people look the same." Every once in a while, I'll say to him, "Joe Blow, is it me or are you blacker than the last time I saw you?" He'll make some quip about being in the sun too much. I'm not John Rocker and I'm not counting how many black people have been to my house, but I also came up in a different generation (I'm 23) than a lot of older folks who obviously lived through a tense racial period.

    True story: When I was in high school -- which wasn't all too long ago -- I was the sports editor at a weekly newspaper. One of my best friends -- a kid I played basketball with in high school and who shared a lot of the same honors classes -- came by the office to pick up a photo I had taken of him at a game. As he walked out the door, he said "See ya later Cracker." I responded, "Peace Dark Chocolate." It was a joke we shared from our days of playing AAU basketball together. One night, we were up in a hotel room at a tournament, and he was eating a dark chocolate candy bar and I was eating a pack of crackers. We thought it was funny. Our secretary, the publisher's wife and who was pushing 60, thought I had made a huge, racially insensitive joke. The publisher suggested I take "sensitivity classes." That's an example, in my humble opinion, of the P.C. folk getting a little carried away.
  7. audreyld

    audreyld Guest

    I once had a boss (a couple of years ago) who archived his photos with racist titles. I won't be repeating any of them here. Rest assured they were offensive.
  8. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    At my last paper (lily white until they hired a guy from Colombia to do features), they supposedly made a change in the wedding announcements many years ago. Instead of showing both bride and groom, only the bride is now shown, lest anyone discover that there are (surprise!) interracial marriages.
  9. Bud_Bundy

    Bud_Bundy Well-Known Member

    When I joined a Southern newspaper back in the early '70s, there were no non-whites in the newsroom or, as I recall, in the whole paper, except for janitorial positions.

    Several years later, we came across a style book from the 60s that plainly said "No social news of Negroes should be published."

    That's in contrast to the sports department, which covered the all-black high schools in the 60s much better than other daily papers in our area. Nowhere near as comprehensive as the coverage the white schools got, but better than ther other papers.
  10. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Our paper was the same way back in the day (although we did have a regular column for events in the black community). In the 60s, the black school here was awesome in football and basketball and got a lot of coverage. In fact, lots of people from that school credit the sports editor at the time with legitimizing their accomplishments in the eyes of people around the state.
    On the news side though, two things I saw while rolling through old microfilm made me cringe...
    1) An AP photo from 1951 of a father and son in full Klan regalia, with a cutline detailing "a lovely father and son outing."
    2) There is a town in the area called Waterproof. So, when a black man drowned there, what was the headline? You guessed it. "Waterproof negro drowns in lake."
  11. That is incredible.
  12. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

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