CNN had a story this morning about the Valley Swim Club, the one in Pennsylvania that kicked out those black and Hispanic children because of concerns about the “complexion” of the club.
It was written by Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt, both white. I know some white readers will not like that I said that, but I think it matters in this case. I wish it did not.
Candiotti and Levitt wrote a story about an allegedly racist swim club but left out the most damning bit of racism in the whole story: that when the swim club president first gave an excuse for kicking out the black and Hispanic children he said nothing about concerns for safety but rather concerns for “complexion” and “atmosphere”:
There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.
That is completely left out of the story. Instead it repeats the club’s new line about safety. As if the club never said anything different.
Candiotti and Levitt also repeat the club’s claim that it is “very diverse”. Again without challenging it. They did not ask the members just how diverse it was. Like how many black members they have seen at the club. They did not even report how many blacks they saw or did not see while they were at the club themselves.
(I have a sinking feeling that for the swim club “diverse” means one black and “very diverse” means two.)
Lower Moreland, the township the club is in, is only 0.5% black. That is one black person in 200. It takes two minutes to find that out. But it never seems to cross CNN’s mind to check into that. Why?
They take the club at its word, give it the benefit of the doubt. I notice that white people will tend to do that when one of them is accused of racism. You know why? Because the appearance of racism makes all whites look bad but the fact of racism does not directly hurt them one bit. And because many of them believe racism is a thing of the past.
The American press mostly does not go looking for stories about racism, even though it is everywhere. Like how did Lower Moreland get to be just 0.5% black when 9% of the American middle class is black? But even when a story falls right in front of them they do not go in for the kill.
Another case from this morning: the New York Times reported that blacks in New York City are four times more likely to be out of work than whites. A year ago it was “only” two times. To its credit the article wonders why, but then it does the anything-but-racism thing that white people do. If blacks are getting thrown out of work way more than whites and even more than Hispanics and Asians, why is racism not a possible reason?
Note: This post grew out of comment I made on a post at Stuff White People Do: “Hate to admit that they’ve done something racist”.
– Abagond, 2009.