Assorted Ideas

The New York Times Is Openly Racist. Why Is Everyone Else So Silent?

Openly racist, the New York Times gets away with it for unknown reasons, but the poison of racism in their local reporting stands out. The puzzling thing, though, is why otherwise responsible columnists remain silent.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

New York Times Openly Racist

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Most surprising is how open the racism is but more so is the failure of columnists like Charles Blow and Brett Stephens to call them out. Is it so subtle or are we just used to it? Racism is, of course, built into the American cultural landscape, but the Times makes a show of being exceptional. In practice, it’s more of the show, rather than do, variety.

The openly racist newspaper has done similar things in the past, but a recent article about conflicts between New York City’s new police chief and the Manhattan DA was the creepiest. Notice how this paragraph emphasizes people of color as “other,” not like us: “Mr. Bragg is the first Black person to lead the district attorney’s office, Mr. Adams is the second Black mayor in the city’s history, and Commissioner Sewell is the first woman and third Black person to lead the Police Department.

Some readers may be so accustomed to this not so subtle discrimination that they don’t notice it anymore. But when did you ever see cultural identity signalled out this way? Who, for example was the first Jewish or Irish district attorney? Was Bill de Blasio the umpteenth Italian mayor?

These distinctions add nothing to the context of the story. They are meaningless otherwise, and the only explanation is the Times’s racism, discrimination by implication. These people are different, that is, “other.”

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