Racial assault in Philadelphia

From the Philadelphia Daily News comes the story of three teenagers attacking a passenger in a taxi cab and then the driver, apparently for no reason other than race. While the paper, in a rare gesture, informs us that the assailants were black and the victims white, it doesn’t provide this information until almost the end of the article, even though the very first sentence of the story states that the attackers used racial slurs on the victims. As a result, over the course of six paragraphs and 217 words, the reader knows that it was a racial attack, but he has not been told which race was attacking which. Since the Daily News was so reluctant to be forthcoming on that point, why did it mention race at all? Because, as just mentioned, the attackers themselves used racial slurs—which generally is not the case with the endless series of black-on-white assaults in this country (do you think that black thugs are not hip to hate-crime laws?). Therefore this mainstream media organ, even under the pro-black, anti-white rules of liberal journalism, had no choice but to specify the race of the assailants and the victims, which the mainstream media ordinarily do not do; but, reflecting its pro-black imperative, it didn’t do so until two thirds of the way through the article.

Thugs attack cabbie, passenger

IN A HORRIFIC assault in Center City on Saturday night, three teenagers who were spouting racial slurs pulled a man out of a cab to beat him. And when the cabdriver intervened to stop the assault, the teens turned their rage on him, police said yesterday.

About 8:25 p.m., a cab was stopped at a red light at 15th and Chestnut streets when two 17-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy approached and started calling the male passenger in the back seat racially derogatory names, police said.

The boys then threw an unknown liquid at the cab before they opened the door, pulled the passenger out and started to pummel him, police said.

When the cabbie got out of the car to see what was going on, the passenger ran away and the teens turned on the cabbie. They punched him in the face, kicked him and threw a liquid on him, police said.

Despite being outnumbered, the cabbie grabbed a tire iron from his trunk, at which time the teens ran away. The driver flagged down a police officer, and the three boys were arrested. They were charged as juveniles with aggravated assault and related offenses.

The cabbie suffered an injury to his right eye and had abdominal and side pain, police said. The passenger remains unidentified.

Police said the three teens were black and the cabbie and passenger were white. Police did not immediately know whether the teens would or could face hate-crime charges.

According to police records, the cabbie worked for Liberty Taxi Co., but a dispatcher working there yesterday was surprised none of the drivers he’d spoken with were aware of the assault. Police declined to provide the name of the driver, so the dispatcher could not confirm whether he was an employee.

“This would be something that would be big news,” the dispatcher said. “It would have been a highly charged moment that drivers would be talking about.”

- end of initial entry -

Roland D. writes:

Black attackers do in fact routinely use racial slurs as they go after their victims; it simply isn’t reported.

They’ve no awareness of the so-called “hate crime” statutes, nor would they care if they did.

LA replies:

Then why was the use of slurs reported so prominently in this story of a black-on-white attack, and is not mentioned at all in almost all other similar stories?

Jake F. writes:

I thought of this—not for the first time—while reading “Racial Assault in Philadelphia.”

As you know well, humans are stereotyping creatures. This isn’t a bad thing: Our stereotypes provide default attributes for people and things that we are describing, which lets us communicate by highlighting only important features and differences from the norm. Without them, we’d need to spend an immense amount of time talking about irrelevant or common details.

If I say, “the king,” you probably envision a white man, maybe wearing a crown. If I say, “the African king” or “the Chinese king,” you get a completely different image, and rightfully so.

My point? By saying “racist slurs” without saying what race the perpetrators were, the paper does more than just allow us to imagine that the perpetrators might be white. It shapes our impression of the scene through our stereotypes, painting the attackers as white and the victims as black. Only near the end of the article are our impressions corrected, and by then we’ve already been made to feel white guilt.

They may not be doing it deliberately, but there’s no doubt that that’s the effect.

LA replies:

That is very insightful. I think that when I saw “racial slurs,” something like your thought vaguely and distantly occurred in my mind, but I didn’t pursue it.

January 31

Mark Jaws writes:

Give Mr. Jake a gold star for his correct call on the “racial slurs” lead. While most of us, to include normally astute liberalologists such as I, hailed this story on a black-on-white racial assault in Philadelphia as a sign of progress, Jake saw this for what it was. A deliberate attempt to obfuscate the increasingly frequent and widespread spectre of unprovoked black-on-white racial assaults. By witholding key information until the very end of the article (and in doing so violating basic journalistic principles), the reporter and editor left open the possibility that many readers would incorrectly interpret this as a white-on-black assault, which by the way hardly ever happens.

LA replies:

I don’t think that Jake’s point was that there was an intention to make readers believe that this was a white-on-black assault, since the story states plainly, though belatedly, that it was a black-on-white assault; but rather that, even while readers realized that it was a black-on-white assault, they would be subtly pulled in the direction of having the feelings they would have if it were a white-on-black assault, thus reducing to a subtle degree their reactions to the actual black-on-white assault.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 30, 2012 05:28 PM | Send

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