How to Report on Racial Violence: Don’t

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September 23, 2013 By Colin Flaherty

It might seem strange that anyone at the Society of Professional Journalists would think its members should write more often about racial topics.

The SPJ is already one of the most race-conscious groups in America. And that is easy to see in every aspect of SPJ’s operations, including its magazine, web site, blogs, meetings, training, conventions and membership.
But race and crime? Not so much.
Abe Aamidor is wondering if that is a good idea. Aamidor wrote a thumb sucker for this month’s SPJ Quill magazine called “When Race is Relevant.” It does not ask about the relationship between race and crime. Or how black violence and black on white crime is exponentially out of proportion. The numbers are overwhelming and well known already. Even to the most obstinate reporter.
Aamidor asks a different question: How much should the members of America’s largest journalism group let people know about it? Answer: not much.
Aamidor ignores how often SPJ members already report about race. How, every day, we read about the black caucuses, black colleges, black churches, black labor unions, black businesses, black neighborhoods, black leaders, relentless black victimization at the hands of white supremacy, and on and on and on.
Many of these stories are written by members of the SPJ and the National Association of Black Journalists.
But when it comes to reporting on black on white crime, or black mob violence, these same reporters suddenly turn color blind.


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