Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Birthers, Racism, and The Media

Here I was thinking, how I can I best write about what I think about the birthers? And then Tony Auth drew a fabulous editorial cartoon. Well done, Tony.

Image Descrption: Four panels. Upper left "He wasn't, you know, born in America."
Upper right, "He's not, you know, A Christian." Bottom left, "He's you know, a Muslim
or a Kenyan.". Bottom right, "He's well, you know..." [silhouette of Obama,
visual implication is: '...black']
Also on the topic of birthers and latent racism, The New Black Woman posted a critique of how the media just played into Trump's hands, let him and other birthers spew all sorts of racist and xenophobic garbage unchecked, etc,:
"...many of the traditional news outlets and journalists refused to examine the racial factor behind the birther issue. Big Media refused to dig deeper into the underlying racist feelings that when a black man or woman obtains higher power or authority, there's something astray about that person's ascent to power. It failed to ponder why so many people feel that whenever a black man or woman achieves great success, their rise to fame or fortune must be the result of either a law or being broken or skewed in their favor at the expense of a white person.

But, I can't blame Big Media for failing to delve into any analytical reporting or investigating. Reporting on the racial, xenophobia aspect of the birther issue would require the media to confront the system of white supremacy and privilege set up to benefit many of the reporters working for Big Media. It would require them to dig deeper than the shallow reporting they are so accustomed to (due to advertising demands, a short attention span and hollow reasoning by their audience) and examine the subconscious racism laying dormant in a majority of our society. It would require making their audience and their bosses uncomfortable reading and editing stories about race as they would see quotes or segments reminiscent of their underlying racist feelings."
I sincerely hope the media outlets take this as a challenge to make themselves uncomfortable and truly confront latent racism. The day they finally realize that their power is more than just selling toothpaste and viagra, and they can have a major hand in changing people's negative attitudes toward other races, cultures, and abilities. It doesn't have to be after school specials, just even the topics they choose to discuss and the way in which they discuss them. They could do so much better with not all that much effort.

Of course, then there's always the inevitable, "Oh noes! Our art will suffer by having to care about how we use language!" argument. You think I'm joking. If you watch the actual noose gaffe video, while fumbling Mitt Romney quips, 'You have to be careful what you say these days!' Aw. Not like the good old days where you could make noose jokes without a problem. Poor guy, he already has a lot on his plate, I shouldn't pick on him.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Onion article you linked to on Romney.

    Headline: Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People

    --Classic! :)