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The Indefinite Article.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Maybe this is not an astonishingly racist statement, but I'll let you make up your own mind. From Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy - Los Angeles Times:
Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.
'If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people,' Amoss said, 'it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering.'


  • He's right it would have been an orderly, calm, friendly, polite merry-go-round of mini-vans taking them to the suburbs of their brother's and sister's.

    By Blogger taggart, at 10:53 PM  

  • I don't understand how the comment can be construed as racist. He is not commenting on what actually occurred inside the dome. He is commenting on how the public and reporters reacted to the racial composition of the dome residents. In the case of the former, they spread rumors. In the case of the latter, they believed and printed the rumors.

    By Blogger Ethan, at 7:34 AM  

  • Yeah, I gave it some rethought along those same lines, Ethan. Another interpretation could be something like, "media is ready to believe unsubstantiated rumors that poor African Americans do crazy shit." However, the portion of the comment referring to the dome and convention center as "a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering," indicates that Amoss is not referring to the fog of war, so to speak, but to poor African-Americans as rumor-mongerers.

    I also gave it further thought, asking "is it really racist?" I think whether something is offensive and racist is largely a judgement call, like many things. However, the quote does display "a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others," because Amoss statements it wouldn't happen if the dome was filled with white people.

    Additionally, Amoss throws socio-economic status in there: poor vs. middle class, which is just as yucky but less shocking.

    By Blogger Adolph, at 10:25 AM  

  • I still think you are misinterpreting what he is saying. He is not saying that the people in the dome were spreading rumors because they are poor and black. He is saying that reporters were more likely to believe rumors about what went on in the dome because the evacuees were poor and black. The rumors did not necessarily originate in the dome.

    If anything, he is saying, or implying, that there is racism amongst the reporters and audiences who were quick to report and believe rumors about these people that they would not have reported or believed had they been white and middle class.

    By Blogger Ethan, at 2:56 PM  

  • I think Amoss statement is incorrect, if the dome had harbored a large number of middle class white people and a minority of poor African-Americans the rumor mill would have been much more severe.
    Take 75% white people and force them into a horrible situation with 25% African American.
    Thats REAL fertile ground for rumor-mongering.

    By Blogger taggart, at 3:56 PM  

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