Racism in the Media

This editorial cartoon which was published in the electronic journal of Cagle.Com web site portrays Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (Democratic Party-Georgia) beating up a police officer.  On related stories, she assaulted a police officer in the Capitol who apparently stopped her.  This was because Congresswoman McKinney was not wearing her lapel pin which identifies her as a member of Congress. 

The officer simply did his duty to stop  unauthorized  persons from proceeding and instead of rectifying her mistake of not wearing her pin, McKinney punched the officer (Cagle).  In the aftermath of the assault, she replied, Sadly, there are only 14 black women Members of Congress. And surely our faces are distinguishable. But why my face is continually unrecognizable can only be answered by these offending police officers The US Capitol Police mission statement makes no distinction about selective application of its mission depending upon whether a Member of Congress is black, woman, or has a new hairstyle.   It was quite apparent here that she played  the race card  to justify her act which was condemned by the rest of society.  The racism issue was not supposed to be bearable because the police officer was simply checking the identities of all members of Congress entering the Capitol.
It can be said that racism is a rather critical issue in every society, particularly when people interacts, where everyone is a neighbor or friend regardless of race.  Racism alienates one individual from another borne out of a combination of suspicion, ignorance and fear. Although racism would make one sympathetic to those victimized, this incident showed that the issue racism works both ways where the supposed  victim  is the oppressor and uses the issue as a crutch or an excuse to abuse the supposed  oppressors.  In other words, racism is a chronic disease of every society where men clashes and defeats the purpose of cultural diversity.
The question now is how the media relates.  Apparently, the media is supposed to be apolitical, to be a neutral observer of the things that take place and provide an impartial assessment of the things happening here and throughout the world.  The need for the media to be impartial is because they are regarded as the most trusted instituiton people count on for facts, if not the truth.  Furthermore, the media, given its supposed neutral position, is counted upon to act as a mediator if not the rectifier of some of the issues society faces.  In this case, it was quite apparent that the way the media presented the incident involving Congresswoman McKinney smacks of racism.  If taken from one perspective, it is helping the embattled African-American lawmaker justify her actions with the hopes of drumming up support when she played the race card.  On the other hand, other media outfits see a supposed marginalized person abusing her  privilege  as a form of powert tripping.  Regardless of how it is presented, the result s would cause outrage.
The point here is that the media, while being acknowledged as the most reliable source of the truth, tends to sensationalize certain issues which would inflict passions in committing racism, specifically emphasizing the cultural classes of society which do not actually reflect concern of two cultural communities, but bears isolation and disparity in favor of commercialization or  media blitz .  Moreso, media racism is simply a profiteering activity of  individual member of the media.  Looking back at the editorial cartoon, it shows that the only purpose was to speculate and create mockery over the incident, non-bearing to racial discrimination because it was a white man who who stopped a black woman as part of his duty as a police officer to make an identity check.  It seemed they have not learned the lesson of what happened in 1992 when Los Angeles motorist Rodney King was assaulted by police officers and the way they presented the story sparked the riots in Los Angeles.  This would also be repeated during the coverage of the trial of former football star-turned actor O.J. Simpson when he was accused of murdering his wife and her friend in 1995.
In his article, Le presents two similar incidents that underscore the racism Asian-Americans face.  One was the death of Vincent Chin at the hands of two white men and the handling of the case of Dr. Wen Ho Lee who was charged with spying for China.  In the first article, Chin was killed because he was mistaken for a Japanese whom the white men were embittered to and what made it worse was these two men got light sentences, much to the indignaition of the Asian-American community.  The second article highlights the how Lee was not accorded due process and it was suspected it had something to do with race more than politics.  If there is a common denominator in these two incidents, it is the impression that Asian, even though they are US citizens, are not treated as such, let alone as human beings.  As such, the media saw it as an issue of race when these incidents were reported, especially the one by Lee which would be quite unfair to the authorities who were dealing with a man who had supposedly given away state secrets to a rival nation and looking at it from their side, their  racism  would be justified under these circumstances.
Manji, Irshad. Racism in the Media.  Toronto Community Reference Group on Ethno-Racial     and Aboriginal Access to Metropolitan Services. October 1995. 14 April 2010     

As the title suggests, Manji emphasizes the responsibility or irresponsibility of the media regarding the issue of racism.  He poinred out one angle of the two on how the issue of racism is exploted and one of them is the subject of the interviewer who is the source of the story.  One the first one, Manji reminded journalists that everything is political and their subjects have political agendas to further and the media would serve their purpose in getting that message across to a vast audience.  What Manji sees is that some journalists tend to shut down their  sonar of skepticism  wherein they have to take everything their subjects say with a grain of salt rather than take everything at face value and let these  facts  speak for themselves and leave it to the public to figure it out.  They would assume that anything their subjects would say is part of conventional wisdom and little do they know that beneath the surface is the political undertone behind it which would be picked up by the audience because it was unchecked.  The same case happened here when the incident involving Congresswoman McKinney came along.  Naturally, playing up to the remarks of the

Congresswoman might create agitation in some sectors who are sensitive to the issue.  It is here that media people need to be very responsible in reporting the news since they are the source of the facts and should not be of service to anyone with political agendas.
Toyoshima, Tak.  Secret Asian Man.  Secret Asian Man. 2006. Web.  Retrieved 13 April 2010.
What is also worth noting about the stip made by Toyoshima is that this is made by an Asian-American who apparently sees it from the eyes of non-Asians and makes it known this is very apparent in several other strips he has made.  His presentation of racism is done is a rather witty way as opposed to the very sobering accounts of the other writers and his use of (online) comic strips makes it easy for viewers to understand what he wanted to convey without being offensive to all but the most sensitive ones who can detect the racist undertones here.     

Nevertheless, Toyoshima tells it, or shows it the way racists would see it.  The only reason why he could get away with that is he is Asian.  It is similar to a black man saying racial slurs to a fellow black without being offensive as opposed to a white man doing it.  If there is something else this comic strip would underscore is that only people of the same ethnic background can say such racial matters towards their own kind without being offensive as opposed to others outside their group.
Wu, Frank. Yellow Race in America Beyond Black and White. Basic Books.
In one chapter presented by Wu, Yellow The Model Minority, he presents a rather  positive  stereotyping of Asian-Americans  by non-Asians have towards Asians which is Asian-Americans are exceptionally bright, especially the younger generation in just about any field they are into and grow up to be successful and competent professionals, this is further underscored when Wu he uses an excerpt from the comic strip Doonesbury where a white guy is congratulating his Asian friend for landing a scholarship and attributes it to her Asian background, to which the Asian friend replied that she is adopted by Jews (48).   Furthermore, Wu attributes this to the close family ties of an Asian family where the parents tends to determine what is best for his children.  Naturally, if the parents are accomplished professionals in a particular field, they expect their children to follow in their footsteps (52).  If not employed, they are capable of being self-employed because they possess an enterprising spirit and there are several immigrants, especially from China, Japan and Korea who start a small business and are able to run it successfully and this is the basis for Wu to say that Asian Americans are the  model minority  because they possess a superior attitude though they may appear physically inferior.  In relation to Congresswoman McKinneys situatuion, she used her power and position as a member of Congress to portray herself as a victim when in fact, it was the police officer who was the victim and her the oppressor because of the racial streotyping her position in Congress was made to appear not to amount so much.


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