Colin Flaherty is an award-winning reporter and author ofÂ “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence to America and how the media ignore it.”Â Follow him onÂ Twitter. (WND)
When a mom and daughter were kidnapped, forced to withdraw money from an ATM, raped, then shot last week, the Indianapolis Star played it by the book: Do not mention the suspects are black.
The “book” in this caseÂ is written by the Society of Professional Journalists, headquartered just three miles from the scene of the crime. In last month’s issue of the SPJ magazine, the oldest and largest organization of journalists in America reminded its members how they should report racial violence.
The SPJ story was just repeating what dozens of chapters around the country tell its members in regular seminars: Unless someone is considerate enough to wave around a sign saying, “Kill Honky,” or issue a press release or utter racial expletives in front of lots of witnesses, the fact that the suspects just happen to be black has no bearing on the story.
And if you wonder about it, you are probably a “racist and hater,” said the SPJ.
Never mind that when Indianapolis police dispatchers take a 911 call, one of the first questions they ask is about race.
Never mind when these same dispatchers talk to patrolmen on publicly accessible scanners, one of the first pieces of information they broadcast is the race of the suspects.
Never mind that Indianapolis is the scene ofÂ dozens of recent examples of black mob violence, though you would not know it from reading the Indianapolis Star.
Many of these episodes are centered downtown, near the gleaming but increasingly empty Circle Mall. Many are connected to the Indiana Black Expo held every summer. And when police flood the zone to prevent more black mob violence downtown – with helicopters and horses and SWAT teams – the rowdy sometimes take a bus to a local mall and create violence and mayhem there.
Many of these episodes of black mob violence are on video. Many are documented inÂ “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It,”Â which has an entire chapter on Indianapolis.
To be fair, Indianapolis is not remarkably different from Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Greensboro, Rochester, Richmond, Miami Beach, Fresno, Louisville, Memphis, Greensboro and more than 100 other centers of regular and intense black mob violence: The papers in those towns are loathe to report it as well. They say they are color blind.
These are the same papers that every day run stories about black caucuses, black churches, black colleges, black TV stations, black expos, black radio, black newspapers, black blogs and on and on.
But black mob violence? Not a thing.
People in Indianapolis are wondering why: They question why the paper is so heavily invested in refusing to let their readers know that black mob violence exists exponentially out of proportion in their town.
Daniel Lee is just one of dozens whoÂ left comments at the IndyStar.com and other web sites:
“The Star won’t publish the suspects’ race unless it’s part of a ‘detailed’ description including clothes, hairstyle, Italian or German-style boots, hoop or stud earrings, buttons, snaps or hook-and-eye fasteners, plaid or paisley, earth-tones or vibrant joyful colors, full description of every visible tattoo, etc,” Lee quipped. “It’s their way of avoiding what they consider the racism of calling black suspects ‘black.’”
Johnny West piled on: “It is completely irresponsible for the Star to not have a description of the suspects included in this story. This story is useless to the community without a timely description. If police did not release a description, that should be noted in the story.”
David Hogan noticed a pattern: “I do not understand why the Indy Star will not release a description of the suspects. According to IMPD, 4-5 black male suspects, one of which who was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, were involved.
“I got this from the Channel 8 news site. Bill McClerry is the reporter on this story,” Hogan continued. “Hey, Bill, if you are reading these comments, can you please explain why the Indy Star does not release a physical description other than maybe height and age of the possible suspects? I think it would be helpful to get a reason behind this critical omission of facts surrounding this and other stories the paper has reported in the past.”
On and on it went until Alvie Lindsay, the “News and Investigations Director” at the Star stepped in to explain it all.
“Lots of questions here about descriptions of suspects,” Lindsay responded. “We are working to update the story. If and when we have a detailed description of the suspects – and not merely race and gender, but something that could reasonably help the public identify individuals – that information will be included.
“Bill, our reporter, just talked to the IMPD spokesman who said there are no other such details at this point,” Lindsay continued. “It’s actually not clear, he said, how many suspects were involved. No age range has been provided, either.”
After reading the story, several commentators mistakenly came to believe that these details were not available. Or that the victims were not aware of the racial identity of the suspects.
Said Barbara Grasher Howard, “Did you not read the article? It clearly said the victims weren’t able to recall details. Police are hoping they’re more able to do so once the trauma is somewhat past” – which is not true.
But at least the Indy Star allows some comments on the topic. Other daily papers often do not, or close comments altogether when the subject is racial violence.
The Indy Star may refuse to report on racial violence, but lots of people know about it anyway. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an Indianapolis attorney and community activist who has heard it all before. Writing in Indiana Barrister, Hakim Shabazz says it is time to take off the blinders and confront the racial roots of the violence and lawlessness in Indianapolis.
“Indianapolis, you have a problem. Your problem is young, black men who are out of control. … It’s time to step up and start making examples out of people,” Hakim-Shabazz writes. “Decent citizens, black and white, should not have to live in fear of urban terrorists.”
Meanwhile, over at the SPJ headquarters, of the 35 people who are staffers and members of the board or directors, none is black.
Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It.”
See a trailer for “White Girl Bleed a Lot”: