You’ll have to excuse me here because I don’t want to feature this blog as a platform for my rants, but I came across a quote that shortformblog posted on tumblr from CBS’s coverage of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple Murder suspect, Wade Michael Page only a little while ago.
Here’s the quote:
“He was gentle and kind and loving and a he was a happy person and a happy child. And what happened, God only knows, because I don’t. … When he lived in Texas with us, he had Hispanic friends and he had black friends. You know, there was none of that.”
The quote came from Wade Michael Page’s stepmother, Laura Page. When I read it, I immediately thought to myself, “I’ve had it up to here with the US mainstream media, and it’s exactly this kind of coverage that irks me beyond any kind of acceptable limit.” I mean, there were just so many things wrong there that I just couldn’t keep these thoughts to myself any longer.
Anyway, I guess I’ll go from most obvious to least, but these are just some of my thoughts, and certainly not in order of what vexes me the most.
1) Just because an individual had hispanic and black friends that does NOT speak volumes about his/her racial views. I could go on here…but I don’t think I should because this is incredibly self-explanatory.
2) I understand that the individual in question (at least at the time writing this) is only a suspect. However, I just don’t see what gives the mainstream media the right to be so insensitive and try to humanize a man that may have potentially slaughtered the loved ones of a hard-working community of their own citizens so soon after the tragic event occurred.
You just never see anything comparable when a foreign-born or islamic extremist take the lives of “innocent Americans” in acts of “terrorism” in the States.
All we can say from the evidence at the moment, is that the perpetrator of the crimes seemed to systematically target Sikhs for one reason or another (and for me that suggests a racial motivation). It is completely irresponsible to try and paint an image of a major suspect in the case as someone who is not a racist…when all the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.
3) Page’s mother is clearly trying to absolve herself from guilt, I think we can establish that as obvious.
What is less clear, but still painfully clear to anyone who follows the US mainstream media often enough, is that the media are trying to absolve THEMSELVES from the guilt here.
Too frequently does the US media (hollywood included) go on about how the US is a glorious and accepting nation with racism limited to only the fringes of society (You know ‘cause they elected a black man as President, and they can watch Oprah on Tv…and you guessed it, because they have black/hispanic/ and other minority friends). And because the civil rights era has passed, the media seems to have turned a blind eye to other forms of systematic racism that still exists in the US. Other than in the socio-economic realm, there is so much cultural racism in the US that is inadequately scrutinized in the US media.
For one, their coverage of the Obama birth certificate saga was at a woefully short of level of acceptable scrutiny of America’s racial preferences. You could argue that they still haven’t pushed the tea party republican candidates far enough on the extent of their racial beliefs. I mean there was simply nowhere near enough criticism for Michele Bachmann calling Huma Abedin an infiltrator of the State Department from the Muslim Brotherhood. Besides where is the media fairly trying to uncover what the Muslim Brotherhood is in the first place…other than just a muslim organization that cannot concretely be distinguished from Al Qaeda???
This final point I am trying to make is difficult, but I think is one that must be fleshed out more in public discourse. How can the mainstream media leave cultural prejudices so blatantly neglected? I don’t believe that a majority of Americans hate minorities, and I certainly don’t believe that all white people are trying to turn a blind-eye to racism that still exists in their communities. I do believe however that unless the media can accept that these kind of problems still exist in their communities (and that deep racial prejudices are still a major problem), the nation is rationally unprepared to prevent these kinds of horrible incidents from happening again.
We need more scrutiny on how our media reports events, and we need to challenge the stories by which our world is explained to us by our media.
Anyway, some things to think about.