It’s not that hard to say Black with a capital B.
The Los Angeles Times can do it.
The Seattle Times can do it.
And yet, for some reason, amid the media backlash against racism in newsrooms across the country, some journalists can’t bring themselves to do it. In fact, they can’t even bring themselves to say Black at all.
When Sen. Tom Cotton called for “an overwhelming show of force” against protestors in the opinion pages of the New York Times, Black employees (and allies) responded publicly on Twitter: “Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger.” …
If your newsroom doesn’t like to be described as racist, it’s bad to publish stories that suggest “Black people are genetically inferior.”
When Kendra Pierre-Louis tweeted that newsrooms should not publish or uplift stories that do exactly that, she said the New York Times’ Standards Desk had a response, delivered to her by way of an editor:
“Don’t do it again.”
Pierre-Louis, a Black reporter who previously covered climate for the New York Times, said she was not asked to delete her tweet thread, which went on to critique American journalism’s failure to diversify and its failure to use the “R word.” …
On the final Monday night of May, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
The county coroners initially suggested Floyd was killed by the “combined effects of Mr Floyd’s being restrained by police, underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system.” In other words, Floyd’s death was deferred to his medical conditions, not by the 8 minutes and 46 seconds an officer restrained Floyd’s neck with his knee, and apparently not by the almost final three minutes the officer knelt on his neck after another officer found Floyd to have no pulse. …