Written by George on 2001-08-14 Categories: Posts

S. Renee Mitchell: … breaks down the See Evil, Hear Evil But Don’t Say Anything Out-Loud Cause White Folks Might Be Listening Club’s reaction to the fallout over a black male Oregonian reporter’s coverage of a Portland school board member’s comments about Jews. (via a BABJA mailing list)

The black community is constantly judging black journalists through the historical lense of slavery, according to author Pamela Newkirk in her book, “Within The Veil: Black Journalists, White Media.” If the loyalty scale tilts the wrong way, we face public censure, ostracism and humiliation. It’s a position that few white reporters ever have to consciously consider because they generally aren’t issued a group identity from birth.

“For many blacks,” wrote former journalist Newkirk, who also is black, “the exposure of wrongdoing by a black person is seen as more sinful than the wrongdoing that was exposed.”

And that’s the real shame. When black leaders do wrong and then expect me to turn my head and keep quiet about it just because we share the same skin tone, let me let you in on a secret: Even if an issue is not put on the table and addressed in a public forum, guess what? White folks are going to talk about it anyway. Black folks are not invisible. But at times, we try to be by using complaints about black-on-black coverage as a convenient distraction from the misdeeds that warranted the articles in the first place.

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