nword_arizona
The six students at Desert Vista High School in Arizona posing in the offensive collage 

Twitter

Some Blur Faces; Media "Cautious With a Hurtful Image"

A photo of six white Arizona high school girls who arranged their shirts to spell "Ni**er" (with actual asterisks) when they stood together went viral over the weekend after they posted it on social media.

The photo, taken Friday after the girls posed for their senior class photo at Desert Vista High School, outraged many. It also led local media outlets to block out the girls' faces, even though they were clearly visible in the photo posted by the students.

"Note: ABC15 has edited the photos due to the age of the students involved," KNXV-TV in Phoenix wrote at the end of its story.

Nicole Carroll, vice president/news and editor at the Arizona Republic/azcentral.com, told Journal-isms by email:

"When the story first broke, we wrote in detail about the photo and outrage. The image was described in detail but we did not post the photo, being cautious with a hurtful image.

"Now this has gone from a breaking news story to a broader story about a painful moment in our community, how this could happen and how we move forward. The image is central to the discussion and we are publishing it.

"We have blurred the faces of the girls as they may be minors."

Carroll added, "We generally use caution when identifying juveniles involved with wrongdoing. We'll continue to evaluate that decision as the story evolves."

By 9 p.m. ET on Monday, a petition calling on the girls to be expelled and the principal fired for imposing only a five-day suspension had gathered 41,099 supporters on change.org.

In addition, one of the girls came forward to tell protesters she was not a racist and to apologize for the photo. "Rachel Steigerwald said she was the last letter in the picture," William Pitts reported Monday for KPNX-TV, known as 12News. His story featured her photo.

Newspapers who are members of the Associated Press received a story about the flap Saturday with no illustrations. "We did not have the photo in question and did not move a photo with our story," AP spokesman Paul Colford told Journal-isms by email.

If media outlets had the image, whether to use it and how would have been their own decision, Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, messaged Journal-isms.

"I believe that there are no hard and fast rules," Osterreicher said. "While some could look to the NPPA Code of Ethics for guidance ('Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.'), such decisions are usually made pursuant to the publication's or broadcaster's individual or corporate editorial policy."

The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics says, "Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles. . . ."

The online petition mentioned a different sensitivity. "This hurtful use of a racial slur is a complete disregard for the dignity of the black community in Arizona and across the nation and the punishment does not fit the total ignorance and cruelty of the crime," it said.

The students' actions raised broader issues.

Pitts of 12News did a separate story headlined, "Has the N-word lost its meaning to kids?"

In that story, Dr. Neal Lester of Arizona State University "said it's easy to blame the crossover of the hip-hop culture for that, but he believes that's too simplistic. He said he doesn't know why the girls at Desert Vista posed for the photo, but at least on some level, he believes they knew it was wrong."

"I don't know that it doesn't mean anything," Lester told Pitts. "Because in order to think it's cute, you've got to know that it means something."  

On Sunday, Jason Volentine of KPHO/KTVK reported that a former teacher at the school found the students' insensitivity to be nothing new.

" 'I told Desert Vista High School pretty much from the onset of my employment there were issues with race there,' said Dr. Cicely Cobb, who left her job as an English teacher at Desert Vista in 2014.

"Dr. Cobb was teaching English in 2013-2014 when she said she witnessed racial discrimination and bullying against minority students — and was a victim herself on many occasions.

" 'That is a hostile learning environment for these students,' she said.

"Dr. Cobb left Desert Vista and filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit that's still pending. . . ."

In the Arizona Republic on Monday, columnist EJ Montini looked elsewhere for accountability. "The kids represent the community and the adults who live there — the White adults — need to own it.

"If this were a group of minority kids using an ethnic or racial slur in such a brazen way one of the first things we would have heard was, 'Where were their parents?'

"There would have been comments, some public, some not, about certain [types] of kids (poor ones) growing up in certain types of neighborhoods (poor ones) among certain kinds of supposedly less-than-responsible parents (minority ones.)

"But in this instance the district's PR representative explains it as 'six students who made a really bad decision.'

"That's true. But why would the girls feel comfortable taking such a photograph?

"The answer is simple: because they could.

"Because they felt safe. 

"Where I grew up if teens played a photographic prank like this they had better be ready to fight. It was a town with mixed races and mixed national origins. Not everyone appreciated everyone else but there was, at least, respect. . . ."

KCAL-TV, Los Angeles: Article In School Newspaper That Uses N-Word Stirs Controversy In Rancho Cucamonga

Japanese-Americans Still Fighting Use of  "Jap"

'Jap.' It's a violent racial slur that has long since fallen out of use. Or so we thought," the Seattle-based Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, wrote on Thursday.

"It's been fifty-three years since Shosuke Sasaki and the JACL [Japanese American Citizens League] effectively lobbied the Newspaper Guild of New York to stop using the slur; another forty-two years since the editors of the Merriam-Webster dictionary finally reclassified it as a disparaging term; and twelve years since citizens in Texas rallied and succeeded in having 'Jap Road' renamed.

"So you can imagine our surprise when a member of the Densho community brought to our attention the fact the popular reference sites, Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com use the word with inconsistent acknowledgement of the fact that it's a racist and derogatory term.

"Dictionary.com does note that the term is 'Extremely Disparaging and Offensive,' but the accompanying usage note leaves much to be desired. It claims that this once-neutral term became racially charged during World War II 'because the Japanese were the enemy.' There is no acknowledgement of the word's history as a racial slur used against Japanese Americans during the charged era of mass incarceration, and for far too long in its aftermath. Even the historical examples provided by Dictionary.com . . . reproduce hateful characterizations of people of Japanese ancestry.

"Click over to the sister site Thesaurus.com and things get worse. . . ."

The authors also wrote, "It has been over a month since our correspondence with the company and no changes have been made. . . ."

Zak Cheney-Rice, mic.com: How Fresno, California, Became a Hotspot for Anti-Sikh Violence in America

Densho: Shosuke Sasaki's 20-Year Battle to Eradicate "Jap" From Print Media

Frustration Builds Among Blacks in Corporate Suites

Numbers "don’t capture the frustration that many black executives feel as they try to thrive and compete in a realm where race is often seen as an asterisk on their résumés and an unspoken subtext in conversations about career advancement," Ellen McGirt wrote for the Feb. 1 issue of Fortune.

"Black women, to be sure, face biases related to both gender and race — a double whammy of headwinds in the flight up the company ladder. For black men, though, the challenges of the corporate life are daunting at least in part because they are sometimes hard to pin down — influenced as much by age-old prejudice as by cultural preconceptions, the subtleties of psychology, and the weight of human history (more on that soon)."

McGirt also wrote, "A team of psychologists from the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Washington, for instance, recently reported that the mere fact that a company has a diversity policy can lead some white employees (even those who had previously considered themselves allies of the diversity cause) to believe they are being treated unfairly.

"For many black men in corporate America, this new antagonism over diversity programs has only added to the frustration and sensitivity. It is a strange catch-22: The more that issues of race in the workplace are brought to light, the more prone and isolated some black executives feel. And yet the less often issues of race in the workplace are brought to light, the easier it is for the unsaid to negatively influence careers — and the more prone and isolated some black executives feel.

"After the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Bernard Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, "wrote a candid essay on LinkedIn about being a black man in America. 'It was the image of an African-American kid, shot down and left in the street,' he says. 'Regardless of how it happened, you personalize that.' Then he pauses, leaving unsaid the sentiment that many black men feel: It could have been me. His post, titled 'It's Time to Revolutionize Race Relations,' laid bare his own experiences as a black man and touched a nerve. The essay generated nearly 450,000 views and close to 3,000 comments and more than a thousand Twitter . . . mentions. . . ."

McGirt also wrote of Twitter, "Last year two black executives from Twitter abandoned their separate quests to dismantle the meritocracy trap. Leslie Miley, the highest-ranking black engineer (he won't give his age), and Mark Luckie, 32, the second-highest-ranking black employee, both quit. Loudly. Then, in separate posts on Medium, they went public with personal treatises on their experiences inside a company that they claim failed to recruit, hire, and develop black talent in any meaningful way. . . ."

Michael Liedtke, Associated Press: Twitter Parts With 4 Key Execs in Latest Sign of Turmoil

Mark S. Luckie, medium.com: What it's actually like to be a Black employee at a tech company (Sept. 15)

Leslie Miley, medium.com: Thoughts on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult. (Nov. 3)

Laurel Wentz, Ad Age: The Community Is Ad Age's Multicultural Agency of the Year

Comcast, BET Among Best Firms for People of Color

NAMIC — National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications — "named five cable operators and five programmers as its 2015 Top Companies for People Of Color, the diversity organization said Monday," R. Thomas Umstead reported for Multichannel News.

"The list, compiled by NAMIC and global talent consultant Mercer and funded by The Walter Kaitz Foundation, featured five operators — Bright House Networks, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications, Midcontinent Communications and Time Warner Cable — and five programmers, including BETNetworks, Discovery Communications, Disney ABC Television Group, NBCUniversal and Turner. . . ."

Theory: Trump Makes Media Discuss What They've Avoided

"Donald Trump's presidential campaign has tapped into voters' resentment of the Republican establishment," Valeria Pelet wrote Sunday for the Atlantic. "But his aggressive rhetoric has also revealed the pervasiveness of a class-based divide between the media and many Americans.

" 'What Trump has managed to do is tap into that cynicism or skepticism to construct a message,' Alex Williams, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania who studies trends in journalism, told me. 'You can't trust politicians or experts to make America great again, but you can trust me because I speak the blunt truth.' Trump’s bombast reveals tensions in the United States that, at their root, have much to do with the lack of diversity in the media. . . ."

Pelet also wrote, " 'Journalists are being forced to talk about the viewpoints that Trump is bringing up — even though they have typically been avoided in the past.'

" 'With a leading presidential candidate,' Williams adds, 'journalists are being forced to talk about the viewpoints that Trump is bringing up — even though they have typically been avoided in the past because they are offensive and politically infeasible.' . . ."

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: "The blacks" will "love" him.

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Hillary Clinton Stumbles

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic: Bernie Sanders and the Liberal Imagination

Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: A Bloomberg presidential bid would likely make 2016 elections most expensive ever

Leonce Gaiter, Huffington Post: Are Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bernie Sanders Both Wrong on Reparations?

Stacey Patton, DAME magazine: Why White Men Dominate American Newsrooms

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Palin blames Obama for son's domestic violence incident

Sheldon Richman, Arab American News: Hillary Clinton: Least fit of all

Rick Sanchez, Fox News Latino: It's simple voter math — Donald Trump is a loser for GOP

Wolf Blitzer Says Bernard Shaw Changed His Life

"My first day at CNN was May 8, 1990," Wolf Blitzer explained Thursday as he discussed "How 'Bernie' changed my life" on CNN.

"I was very excited but also pretty nervous. I was making the transition from print to broadcast journalism; while I had appeared in the past on news programs as an interview guest, I was jumping into the deep end as a TV reporter. I knew my reporting skills were solid, but I worried about all the other things that went into being in front of the camera.

"Fortunately, I had already made a friend named Bernard Shaw — or, as we all called him, Bernie.

"Bernie was CNN's principal Washington anchor when I arrived at Ted Turner's network. . . ."

Blitzer also said, "Little did I know he would become a friend, a mentor and a role model. I learned so much by watching this TV news legend in action. . . . Bernie and I don't see as much of each other these days — we both have busy schedules — but whenever we can, we touch base and trade stories. He's a terrific friend and a world-class journalist who made a difference in the world and in my life. He inspired me and helped me get to where I am today. And I will forever be grateful."

The piece was part of a CNN series, "The person who changed my life."

Wickham Wants J-Diversity Money at Black College

"Here’s what's distressing for me," DeWayne Wickham, dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University, told Laura Hazard Owen in an interview published Monday for NiemanLab.

"I've got a program of almost 500 students. Ninety-five percent are African-American. Every year, my program is among the top four or five in the nation in terms of the total number of blacks who receive degrees in journalism and communication. But the programs that receive the lion's share of the dollars in journalism education — and some of that is specifically targeted for diversity — don't rank in the top 20, sometimes not even in the top 30, in terms of producing African- American graduates with degrees in the profession.

"It wouldn't make sense anywhere else. It wouldn't make sense if we were talking about commodities, or oil, or selling televisions or refrigerators. But somehow, it makes sense in journalism education to put the money disproportionately into schools and programs that cannot attract and do not graduate blacks in significant numbers, at a time when everyone in the industry who looks at employment would tell me that the greatest loss of jobs over the last 15 to 20 years has occurred among African Americans.

"OWEN: What are some of the schools that are getting that funding?

"WICKHAM: They're very good schools and they all have very good programs. Arizona State: Great program. USC: Great program. What they do, they do very, very well, and I think very highly of the work they do there. But [historically black colleges and universities] have a unique role at a time when cities are burning, when people are demonstrating in the streets.

"Folks are being surprised by this continuing wave of discontent in the African-American community, and one of the arguments that I make to these people, is: In 1968, the Kerner Commission told us that one of the causes of urban unrest that led to rioting in that decade was the failure of media to pay attention to the issues of black folk across this country. That continues to be the problem today.

"You don’t have to be black to cover these issues, but certainly, it helps to expand the diversity in newsrooms and in newsgathering and social media organizations, so that there is not only diversity among the people, but diversity of thought and consciousness. . . ."

Wickham also discussed social justice reporting projects, adapting journalism to new technologies and his hopes to send a faculty member to NASA, among other projects.

Danielle Ledbetter and Kaylah Waite, TruthBeTold.news, Howard University: Is D.C. Still The Chocolate City?

Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab: A Howard project is debunking myths about African-Americans and teaching students fact-checking

Vauhini Vara, Bloomberg News: Why Doesn't Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders? Howard University fights to join the tech boom.

Flint Crisis Called Part of Environmental Racism

"The water crisis in Flint, Michigan is more than just a natural disaster or a series of unfortunate, environmental events — it is an inexcusable, egregious human and health rights violation against a majority black city, where 56 percent of the population is African-American," Jaimee A. Swift wrote Sunday for theGrio.com.

"With full cognizance of the hazardously, toxic water supply since 2014, Governor [Rick] Snyder's lack of political action on this issue fits perfectly into the narrative that not only was this intentional, but as Flint native Michael Moore has declared, it is a racial killing and genocide.

"Unfortunately, Flint is not the only city where African-Americans and people of color are suffering from the onslaught of environmental racism and discrimination.

"Detroit schools are so heavily infested with rats, roaches and mold that more than 85 schools closed on Wednesday, as teachers staged a sickout in protest to the deplorable conditions.

"In Baltimore, the levels of lead poisoning among children is three times the national rate. Before Freddie Gray became a victim of racialized state violence in Baltimore, he too, was a victim of lead poisoning as a young child; tests showed that his blood lead levels were as high as seven times the reference level given by the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention].

"Louisiana's 'cancer alley'[;] the polluting garbage and medical waste facilities in Chester, Pennsylvania; and the crude oil plant in Richmond, California are only but a few further examples to correlate that the water problem in Flint is not an isolated event — the poisoning of Black communities in America is certainly not a new phenomena.

"Historically and contemporarily, people of color, especially in low-income communities, have and are continuing to be killed slowly, softly, and silently in their households, in their schools, and on their jobs with impunity — and at a greater rate than police killings and racialized state violence. . . ."

Editorial, New York Times: Fix Flint's Water System, Now

Cynthia Gordy, ProPublica: How Did the Flint Water Crisis Happen?

Ali Harb, Arab American News: Arab American residents hard hit by Flint crisis

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Gov. Snyder can help kids in DPS now

Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post: Flint Water Response Perfectly Captures The Difference Between Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton

Short Takes

"A University of Missouri assistant professor who called for 'some muscle' as she tried to remove journalists from a campus protest last year was charged on Monday with misdemeanor assault, court documents showed," Austin Huguelet and Christine Hauser reported for the New York Times. "A university police department warrant, filed in municipal court by the Columbia, Mo., city prosecutor Steve Richey, said that on Nov. 9, the assistant professor, Melissa A. Click, assaulted a videographer 'by grabbing at his camera with her hand and attempting to knock it from his grasp' and 'by calling out and asking for other people in the area at the time to forcefully remove him.' . . ." 

"Trevor Noah has been in the hosting chair for four months now, and his show has settled into a groove," Willa Paskin wrote Sunday for Slate. "If you tune into any episode, you will find something familiar enough, good for a chuckle but never a belly laugh, let alone a revelation. . . ." She also wrote, "But if you watch The Daily Show night after night, you get the sense that the writers have adjusted their tactics for a very different kind of host — a Potemkin Jon Stewart, someone smooth and ingratiating who is reaching for unconverted viewers, instead of an inveterate political satirist preaching to the deeply informed. . . ."

"Nielsen is out with a new report that says 97% of the Hispanic population tunes into radio every week," Radio Ink reported on Monday. "And, the ratings firm says that audience has grown 11%, from 36.5 million to 40.4 million. This increase in radio listening likely reflects the overall increase in Hispanic consumers in the U.S. In the last 15 years, the Hispanic population has more than doubled, and growth shouldn't stop any time soon. . . ."

"Bob Ryan was suspended from ESPN for comments that he made about former Warriors coach and current ESPN color commentator Mark Jackson, TBL has learned (SI's Richard Deitsch wondered aloud Saturday night if this was the case)," Ryan Glasspiegel reported Sunday for thebiglead.com. "Reached for comment today, Bob Ryan said that it was an 'intemperate, foolish outburst that I regret. I was treated very nicely by the company, and have told them that I will not do anything like this again to be out of their good graces.' . . ." 

Sage Steele, known as the face and voice of ABC and ESPN's "NBA Countdown," "recently spoke with The Huffington Post about everything from the discrimination she's faced to her relationship with Stuart Scott, from the importance of having thick skin tothat GIF of her and Bill Simmons," Justin Block and Juliet Spies-Gans wrote Thursday for the Huffington Post. "She's spent the last two decades in the trenches — those grimy, Gatorade-stained locker rooms of Indianapolis and Baltimore — and now she's explaining how she was able to stay on her feet through it all, remaining humble, hungry and happy, no matter what. . . . "

"Former Birmingham newscaster Art Franklin is returning to the Magic City, joining CBS 42/WIAT-TV, the station announced today," Bob Carlton reported Monday for al.com. "Franklin will anchor the CBS 42 Morning News, and his first day on the air will be Monday, Feb. 8. Franklin previously spent 12 years anchoring the evening and late-night news at Birmingham's Fox 6/WBRC-TV before leaving the station in 2003. . . ."

"Popular Navajo radio personality George Werito died on Sunday in Shiprock at age 66," the Daily Times in Farmington, N.M., reported on Monday. "Werito was the station manager for KNDN, which can be heard on 960 AM. The Farmington-based radio station broadcasts in Navajo and reaches more than 100,000 listeners weekly, according to a press release the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President issued on Sunday evening that announced Werito's death. . . ."did 

Kenneth F. Irby, formerly with the Poynter Institute, was voted the first John Long Ethics Award by the board of the National Press Photographers Association, the NPPA announced on Sunday. "The Long award honors an individual who has, through his or her efforts, upheld, shaped, and promoted ethical behavior in all forms of visual journalism. . . ."

"What Would You Do? returns to ABC tomorrow night for a four-week run," Brian Flood reported Monday for TVNewser. "ABC News correspondent John Quiñones and his crew once again set up ethically and morally challenging situations in which everyday (and unsuspecting) people are recorded on camera and then put in position to either act or not act, leaving TV viewers to wonder: 'What would you do?' . . ."

"The press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has launched a campaign to raise public awareness of the work done by war reporters, particularly photojournalists," Roy Greenslade reported Monday for the Guardian. "A video, available on YouTube, contrasts what it calls 'the official images' with the grim reality. Set to Strauss's Radetsky March, it begins with the propaganda images of military parades in countries across the world and concludes with pictures of war's victims. The two sections are topped and tailed by two slogans: 'Without independent reporters, war would just be a nice show' and 'Support those that risk their lives to bring us the truth.' . . ."

Reporters Without Borders said Thursday that it "condemns the appalling conditions in which journalists are detained in Iran and calls on the authorities to stop denying them medical attention. RSF is very concerned about the state of health of some of these detained journalists, and already wrote to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on 14 March 2015 urging him to intercede. . . ."

"Five years after popular protests force Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to resign, Egypt is among the world's worst jailers of journalists," according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Since January 1, four people are sentenced for 'publishing false news,' five others are referred to trial, and two others are detained. . . . "

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter.

Facebook users: Like “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms” on Facebook.

Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.