Colorlines‘ Akiba Solomon says that journalists need to improve their approach, starting with the language they use when doing their jobs.
Watching professional broadcast journalists attempt to compete with social media hobbyists for any nugget of information during last week’s manhunt for suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, many us felt a familiar dread. We know, either intuitively, through direct experience or via professional training, that media have a collective power to help diffuse or fuel the fear and tension that so often triggers racial violence in this country …
So despite their public atonement, it still appears as if people with power don’t understand the impact of their decisions.
American history shows us time and time again that without an incredible amount of resistance to and clarity about the white supremacy undergirding our culture, mob rule serves as the default.
So although some media members have made public apologies for the racism they fed into via silence, doublespeak or rote reporting, there is still work to be done. A lot of work. One way to begin is by examining the language we use when we’re doing our jobs.
Let’s probe the Monday mea culpa from Reddit general manager Erik “@hueypriest” Martin. He described the racist behavior of some [of] the site’s users as a “witch hunt.”
Read Akiba Solomon’s entire piece at Colorlines.
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