John McWhorter: 'Don't Ignore Race' in Senseless Murder of Australian Exchange Student

Well, there goes John McWhorter's shot at being invited on MSNBC anytime soon, especially any program featuring Joy-Ann Reid.

"[I]t’s time for the media to stop proudly emblazoning the race of white cops who kill black boys while cagily describing black teens as, say, 'from the grittier part of town,' as has been the case regarding [Australian exchange student Christopher] Lane’s killers," the Columbia University professor argued in his August 22 Time.com piece, "Don't Ignore Race in Christopher Lane's Murder." "The media needs to be as honest with black people as we need to be with ourselves. No group gets ahead by turning away from its real problems," he concluded, having already noted how:


The numbers don’t lie: young black men do commit about 50% of the murders in the U.S. We don’t yet know whether the attack on Lane was racially motivated, nor can we know whether the three black boys who attacked a white boy on a Florida school bus recently would not have done the same to a black kid. (Critics took Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to task for not condemning the violence.) But hardly uncommon are cases such as the two black guys who doused a white 13-year-old with gasoline and lit him on fire, saying “You get what you deserve, white boy” (Kansas City, Mo.) or 20 black kids who beat up white Matthew Owens on his porch “for Trayvon” (Mobile, Ala.).

So, it’s just fake to pretend that the association of young black men with violence comes out of thin air. Young black men murder 14 times more than young white men. If the kinds of things I just mentioned were regularly done by whites, it’d be trumpeted as justification for being scared to death of them.

The liberal media at large and MSNBC in particular thrive on two-dimension victim narratives aimed at exciting and energizing the various members of the liberal Democratic coalition. That's why horrifying crime stories are ignored or downplayed when they don't help further that narrative but amplified when they can be massaged in furtherance of liberal aims.

That's a large part of why NBC deceptively edited 911 audiotape of George Zimmerman and why NBC and MSNBC was all too eager to portray 19-year-old alleged sexual predator Kaitlyn Hunt as a mere teenage victim of sex-obsessed, anti-gay prosecutors. Facts that have come out since March have shown a rather different story.

McWhorter is right. The media needs to be brutally honest and committed to objective reporting, letting the chips fall where they may after all the facts are on the table. Doing so would be a great service to the news-consuming public and would better serve the "national conversation" on all manner of things, not just race relations and the experiences of poor minorities with the police.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters