Tag Archives: race relations

‘Missing white woman syndrome’?

The late Gwen Ifill once lamented the double standard the media apply to missing-person cases.

Pretty white women get lots of media attention, the esteemed journalist noted, while women “of color” get, well, passed over. The stories are good for a day, maybe two or three … then they vanish.

The media now are obsessed with whoever killed Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman whose body was found in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo., where she had been traveling with her boyfriend.

The cops have declared the boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, a “person of interest” and are now search high and low for him in Florida, where he returned several days ago … without Petito.

Ifill’s observation about the media makes an important point. Yes, Petito deserves the coverage she is getting. Then again, so do all the missing women, and men, and children — regardless of their race or ethnicity — deserve the attention that’s being leveled at the fate of one young woman.

Charles Blow wrote this in the New York Times:

In 2004, at the Unity journalists of color convention in Washington, Gwen Ifill coined the phrase “missing white woman syndrome,” joking that “if there is a missing white woman you’re going to cover that every day.”

It is not that these white women should matter less, but rather that all missing people should matter equally. Race should not determine how newsroom leaders assign coverage, especially because those decisions often lead to disproportionate allocation of government resources, as investigators try to solve the highest-profile cases.

Opinion | Gabrielle Petito and America’s Obsession With Missing White Women – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

It speaks quite graphically at how far we still have to travel to reach some sense of balance in the way the media handle certain stories.


Go away, 2020

I want to enthusiastically endorse the notion expressed in this social media post that showed up on my Facebook feed today.

This year has sucked … out loud!

The pandemic, the violence, the unrest, the racial tension, the widening political divide in the nation.

We have lost 180,000-plus Americans to the pandemic. Many thousands of those folks died alone. Their loved ones couldn’t hold their hands as they slipped into the great beyond. The nurses, doctors, technicians have been pushed into the role of surrogate “loved ones” replacing those who were blocked from sitting with Mom, Dad, Wife, Husband, Brother, Sister, Daughter, Son.

The pandemic has destroyed weddings, school graduations and, yes, funerals.

Then there have been the African-American men who died at the hands of rogue police officers. They have been shot, suffocated and otherwise harassed. The Black Lives Matter movement has erupted.

Yep, 2020 should become a curse word.

What can redeem this hideous year? I’ll tell you what would do it for me: a presidential election that turns out the correct way.

Trump chides Biden on race matters? Really?

Donald J. “Narcissist in Chief” Trump’s utter lack of self-awareness is on full display … once again!

Joe Biden made what one could call a bit of a “gaffe” when he suggested that Latinos are a more “diverse” ethnic population than African-Americans. The presumed Democratic presidential nominee then “clarified” his remarks, offering what amounted to an apology.

Trump’s response? He went on Twitter to suggest that Biden has totally disparaged African-Americans. Now, think about that for a moment.

First of all, Biden did something that is foreign to Trump. He sought to walk back what to many seemed like an insensitive remark. Would The Donald ever in a zillion years do such a thing? Of course not! Second of all, for Donald Trump — whose relationship with ethnic and racial minorities is built on mutual distrust and hostility — to make political hay over this nothing burger is laughable on its face.

Therefore, I conclude that not only is Trump the nation’s supreme narcissist, he also lacks any semblance of self-awareness over how others might perceive anything that flies out of his pie hole.

Keep spewing that idiocy, Donald.

Trump fumbles chance to deal forthrightly with racial unrest

Donald J. Trump came to North Texas today ostensibly to talk about race relations, about police reform and about how to quell the suspicions of the African-American community about police protection in its neighborhoods.

Well, he didn’t come close to sealing the deal.

Trump spoke to mostly white folks. He snubbed three of Dallas County’s top law enforcement officials — all of whom are black — and talked mostly aloud about the demonstrations that turned riotous in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in late May.

Trump never mentioned George Floyd’s name in public. He talked about the beauty of seeing Minneapolis police use tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Where was the public acknowledgement that there might, indeed, be a serious problem with police protection in African-American communities? I didn’t hear anything.

I continue to support police efforts to protect and serve the communities they patrol. I am not going to endorse the notion of “systemic racism” within all police departments. I do, though, acknowledge there needs to be serious examination of police practices and there should be a careful and thorough discussion of ways that police departments can ensure that they treat all citizens equally.

I wish Donald Trump would have spoken to all of that while he visited North Texas. He didn’t say a word publicly about police practices. He didn’t say a word about the man whose recent death has galvanized a movement.

Donald Trump failed once again.

What? Exclude these folks?

Donald J. Trump flew into Dallas today to get ready for a meeting with local authorities on issues relating to police work and race relations.

But … get a load of this. The Nitwit in Chief didn’t invite three key public leaders to attend this event. They are: Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown and Dallas County District Attorney John Cruezot. What do these individuals have in common? They’re all African-American!

Hmm. Don’t you think they might have something critical to add to any discussion involving law enforcement and race relations? Might they offer some fascinating perspective on how to tackle this growing problem?

Oh, wait … I almost forgot! Brown and Cruezot are Democrats! I don’t know about Chief Hall.

What in the name of inclusivity is happening here?

Get ready for revulsion, America

Donald J. Trump reportedly is preparing to speak to the nation about race relations.

Yep, the Birther in Chief — the godfather of the movement that sought to deny the first African-American president to right to run for the office to which he was elected twice — is going to give us his view of how to mend race wounds in this country.

Donald Trump is utterly clueless on that matter.

If that’s not astonishing enough, we hear now that the aide who is drafting Trump’s remarks is Stephen Miller, the author of the Trump administration’s ghastly immigration “policy,” the one that seeks to deport every illegal immigrant immediately and seeks to put children in cages.

I don’t know whether to shudder or scream.

Maybe I’ll do both.

Should he speak to us from the Oval Office?

There is word out of the West Wing that Donald John Trump might speak soon to the nation about race relations, police conduct and unity among Americans.

He’ll go on national TV, or so the reports suggest, to quell the unrest that has roiled in cities from coast to coast to coast since Minneapolis cops killed George Floyd while arresting him for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

The question one must ask is this: What good would a Donald Trump speech do?

Many of us out here do not believe Trump is sincerely concerned about the incidents of police conduct that have brought people into the street in protest. He seems much more concerned about the damage done by the rioters who have erupted. I understand that concern; that conduct troubles me, too … so on that score, POTUS and I are on the same page.

However, the issue goes way beyond that aspect and Trump hasn’t talked openly and sincerely about the concerns that have prompted the protests.

If we hear from Teleprompter Trump during an Oval Office speech, I doubt seriously whether he would move anyone to believe he finally gets it. That version of Donald Trump simply is not believable. He reads prepared text as if he’s being held hostage.

The other Trump, the one in which he is merely himself, well … that version of this con man is incapable of speaking to us about matters of the heart.

I have next to zero hope that Donald Trump is wired in a way that can deliver a heartfelt speech about race relations in this country. I mean, this clown is the Godfather of the Birther Movement, who sought to disparage the candidacy of the man who became the first African-American ever elected president of the United States.

This is what one could call a ‘toxic’ relationship

So … just how toxic is the relationship between Donald Trump and the nation’s civil rights leadership?

Get a load of this: U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., arguably the greatest living leader of the civil rights movement, plans to boycott the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi because the president of the United States will be there.

The ceremony will occur Saturday.

I am torn on this one. Lewis’s statement talks about the inflammatory rhetoric the president has uttered since taking office. He has taken extreme offense at Trump’s statements about race relations, not to mention his terrible initial response to the Charlottesville, Va., riot spawned by the presence of white supremacists, Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen.

The president’s participation in the museum dedication, though, is noteworthy. If only he hadn’t built up a disgraceful record of clumsy statements that many have interpreted as being overtly racist.

That’s the kind of history, according to Rep. Lewis, that the president cannot erase with a simple public appearance.

Protesters ‘hate white people’?


Robert Pettinger must have the most astonishing mind-reading skills imaginable.

The Republican congressman from North Carolina has asserted — rather stupidly, I suggest — that Charlotte residents who are protesting against the police “hate white people.”

Hmmm. Is that so?

I won’t go too far with this idiotic statement. Pettinger is commenting on those who are protesting an incident in Charlotte that resulted in the shooting death of an African-American man.


Of course, Pettinger said later he regrets making the statement. He said he was responding to what he thought he had heard from protesters.

This kind of utter thoughtlessness, though, cannot be allowed to stand.

The congressman’s initial statement also included a negative opinion of welfare and of those who receive government benefits. “I mean, yes, it is a welfare state. We have spent trillions on welfare — we have put people in bondage, so that they can’t be all that they’re capable of being,” he said.

Goodness. May we begin to engage our brains before we let loose with our mouths?

Race mattered in ’64, but LBJ and Goldwater kept it on ice

lbj and goldwater

Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton are engaging in a most extraordinary political fire fight.

Republican presidential nominee Trump and Democratic nominee Clinton are accusing each other of racial bigotry.

Race is an issue in this campaign? It must be so.

It also was an issue back in 1964. The major-party candidates then, though, took a different course.

President Lyndon Johnson and his Republican Party challenger, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, decided to keep race out of the campaign.


The two men met at the White House in July 1964 and agreed that they wouldn’t interject the highly charged issue of race relations into their quest for the White House.

Sen. Goldwater was never known to curb his own tongue. He was a fiery conservative who was prone to making provocative statements. He opposed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

President Johnson, the Texan known for his excesses and his occasional crudeness, had taken office amid profound national tragedy the previous November. He decided it was time to move his party away from its segregationist past, a decision that would cost the party dearly throughout the South.

As Politico reports:

“In 2016, many observers have suggested similarities between Trump and Senator Goldwater. In some ways, they are analogous: Both were outsiders who won the nomination of a deeply divided Republican Party after defeating the preferred, more moderate candidates of the GOP establishment. And Goldwater, like Trump, had a habit of impolitic comments, as in his clarion call that ‘extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.’ It was a central part of Goldwater’s appeal: He tells it like it is, political correctness be damned—’In your heart, you know he’s right,’ just like his campaign slogan said.

“But there’s a big difference between the quixotic campaign of Goldwater and the spectacularly flawed campaign of Trump: Goldwater abhorred racist rhetoric, whereas Trump may have sealed his fate with it in two major turning points. First came Trump’s assertion that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not fairly rule in the Trump University case because the Indiana-born Curiel is of Mexican ancestry while Trump has pledged to build a wall on the Mexican border. Then, Trump’s attack on Ghazala and Khizr Khan, the Muslim-American Gold Star parents who appeared at the Democratic National Convention. Trump insinuated that Ghazala Khan, who stood silently by as her husband spoke, was ‘not allowed’ to speak due to their Islamic religion.”

It’s not that we should sweep the race issue away, pretend it doesn’t exist. My concern in 2016 is that the invective has poisoned reasonable, rational and responsible discussion.

President Johnson and Sen. Goldwater perhaps had the same fear 52 years ago when they decided to keep their hands off a live political grenade.