Thursday, March 13, 2008

Racism not Paranoia

Yesterday I wrote about racial overdetermination--reading into race. This morning I read this CNN article and saw footage of an African American news reporter being attacked by a group of white people in South Carolina for doing her job: reporting.

For more on this attack and the racial slurs against this reporter, click on this link for the CNN article (and you can also click on a video link for footage captured by a white film crew also in the area).

Basically, two African American reporters, a cameraman and a newscaster, were reporting on a homicide in a South Carolina neighborhood. Another news team, comprised of a white newscaster and a white cameraman, stood by and watched while the African American newscaster was attacked--filmed the whole thing.

Four people have been charged in the assault. They cannot be prosecuted for a hate crime because SOUTH CAROLINA HAS NO LAWS PROSECUTING FOR HATE CRIMES. And the two white news reporters will not be arrested for standing by and doing nothing (although I suppose we should all be thankful that this was captured on tape--maybe the white newscaster was the white man helping to hold back one of the women trying to attack the black newscaster? Or maybe he was just watching from the sidelines. Hard to tell).


Lesboprof said...

It sounded, from the coverage, that the white reporter was actually calling 911. And in some ways, the filming will help in the prosecution of the attackers. That said, I am always bothered by what news reporters do when they choose to film rather than help in situations like this. It happens a lot. I was glad when, during the Katrina disaster, some news crews offered rides, used their helicopters to do rescues and deliver clean water and food, etc.

Jennifer said...

Thanks Lesboprof for the clarification. I listened to the clip 3 times, but couldn't quite figure out the different voices and what was going on in terms of who the attackers were and who was trying to help the reporter being attacked.

And yes, I have the same qualms about reporters filming disasters and in war zones. I'm sure they talk about this in Journalism school--the ethics of a reporter entering into a story s/he is covering. And, as you pointed out, the footage will help prosecute these people. But have to wonder at what point the two reporters, calling 911 and filming, would have stopped what they were doing to intervene--if more people joined the fray? If a knife or gun were pulled? So hard to say.