Does The Media Promote Racism?

The drumbeat has been steady since Hurricane Katrina ripped its path of destruction throughout the Gulf Coast and flooded New Orleans. As bannered by the media, nature’s wrath is secondary. What really caused the devastation was America’s racism.

Reporters and broadcasters have sought out personalities such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Julian Bond and other left-leaning black activists who have been more than willing to advance the charge of racism.

Even more disconcerting is a positive story of kindness that is wrapped in the hate actions of past years.

It his attempt to portray continuing racism in the United States, Todd Lewan of the Associated Press filed a story September 26, 2005 headlined “Town once plagued by racism gets 2nd chance”.

Writing about the town he says, “You’ve got to wonder why dozens of black refugees from Hurricane Katrina would set down in Vidor, an old lumber town in the pine country of southeast Texas that has a long history of racial hostility.”

In paragraph two Lewan writes, “In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan drove every black resident out of town through a campaign of murder….”

In paragraph three he tells about hand painted signs in the 50s filled with racial slurs. In the following paragraph he claims that during the 1970s black motorists were terrorized. Reporting on the 90s Lewan says there were cross burnings in public housing projects and even today Vidor is home to a Klan faction.

The reader must scan down all the way to the ninth paragraph of the story to read anything positive. There it reports that black refugees such as Trisha Reaux state, “We’ve been completely accepted with open arms.” Another Louisiana woman, Jacqueline Jilles says, “These people have treated us like blood brothers and sisters.”

Though the article continues to report the acceptance of black evacuees and people being greeted kindly, it still maintains undertones of racism. While it reports people being given a helping hand by just about everyone in Vidor, it still continues with racial digs at the community. It even points out the town does not stock black products, doesn’t have Jet Magazine in the drug store and does not even host a black church. It also notes Vidor has only eight permanent black residents.

For an article that should champion the kindness and caring nature of small town Texas, it goes out of its way to first revisit the racial strive which existed throughout the south during those many years of segregation.

In times of national tragedy, many feel the media is obligated to advance the messages of good will and concern. Instead, it appears at least one journalism outlet is using its pens to pick at old racial wounds.

Hurricane Katrina Associated Press