comScore

Satire's lost on racists

Jill Tokarczyk

Jill Tokarczyk

Reader Corydon Nilsson responds to Finally, a black Minnesota resident's death worthy of outrage:

What is frustrating is here in Minnesota, there has never been justice for people of color and specifically black Minnesotans who are killed by law enforcement. And I am not using “never” in a hyperbolic manner. It’s never happened. Philando Castile was murdered on camera, a snuff film, and it was still deemed justifiable. There isn’t even time to heal or scar up before they kill someone else.

Thurman Blevins was just killed. The community is still reeling from that. One of the most difficult things we encounter when trying to fight for justice is dispelling the initial narrative (if it is proven to be false). I personally do not hold it against the media to the point some of my peers do (though nearly everyone around me does) because I understand that there is a standard for you to follow.

I do appreciate those in the media who’ve talked about this with me and ultimately offered opportunities for us to provide accounts in addition to the police report. Because journalists are extremely powerful when it comes to shaping how an individual is going to see something, and the base level of authority y’all generally speak from when covering a story; it makes me cringe when I see headlines like “Armed Man Shot, Killed by Minneapolis Police” (KSTP) where the story is a regurgitated police report. Until the videos are released, it’s irresponsible for KSTP in this instance to comment like that.

It’s taken so long to make progress in the area of demonization of people of color in the media but we have made strides. It used to be:

1) Police kill someone
2) That person is described with dog whistle racism terms to the media (with criminal background if possible) in coordination with a police report (See: How Janee Harteau emailed people on how to describe Jamar Clark.)
3) Media then reports the story based on police report
4) The public’s initial viewpoint is then the police’s account of what happened
5) Consent has now been manufactured for the killing of the victim

I have been patient with some journalists but the slow learning is frustrating. A headline that reads “Finally, a black Minnesota resident’s death worth of outrage” doesn’t read jokingly to me, but perhaps I'm too involved to find it funny.

But I will say this: if your intention was to guilt racists; I don’t think that will work. Because this is EXACTLY the kind of thing they already say. They do not have shame in saying these things. They won’t see your point, because all they’ll see is that there are people who share their racist viewpoints.