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Use a quote that could be viewed as racist?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by LevinTBlack, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    So I'm doing a story on a kid who played high school basketball locally and is in his last year at the CC school in town. In talking about his problems defensively he said:

    "I'm 6-foot-2 so I usually have to guard little point guards and they are always faster than me. I'm usually stronger than them but it's just difficult having to guard those quick little black guys."

    I don't think he meant anything racist by it but running the quote will likely make people wonder and probably comment about it. His defense isn't the main topic in the story but it's pretty important and there is no other quote where talks about his problems on defense.

    Should I use the quote or not? I'd hate to have someone be viewed as a racist when he isn't. He's also got black teammates who could take offense and they are about to begin tournament play.
  2. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    You could chop the quote at "... but it's just difficult."

    I wouldn't, but I would run it by my editor before publication.
  3. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    I wouldn't use it. An example of the old "when in doubt leave it out" adage a journalism prof. once told us...
  4. esport12

    esport12 Member

    Would not use it. Don't want to make the kid -- or yourself -- look stupid. Especially if it doesn't add a lot (read: essential) to the story.

    We all stay stuff that comes across the wrong way. Even journalists.

    You could also chop the quote.
  5. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Could you consider removing 'black' from the quote?
  6. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    But think of the web hits it'll generate.
  7. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    That's what I would do but we all have different feelings about "cleaning up" quotes and many reporters and editors would not. I respect that, and assume the OP falls into that group, but in this case flexibility would seem prudent.
  8. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Active Member

    Honestly, the quote isn't especially interesting in itself, and very easily could be paraphrased.
    And definitely don't use the full version.
  9. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Obviously he's not been taught High School Sports Cliches 101 where blacks are alway described as "athletic."
  10. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    End the quote at "me."

    It is not a bad quote because the player is admitting a shotcoming in his game, but this kid is in high school. When he is 40, and a man, then drag him through the coals.
  11. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    He's a sophomore in college actually but still a kid basically.

    I ended up paraphrasing it. Couldn't ask editor because he is out on paternity leave and the two other editors have Monday's off. I have do design the whole paper each Monday for the next three weeks and only one other reporter will read over the stuff before going to press. Essentially I hate Monday's.
  12. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Inky: Thank you! See the post I just put up on "athleticism."

    I put it up before I read this one.
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