You may have noticed that all sorts of media from the New York Times on down, made sure their audience knew that the folks at Glenn Beck’s rally in Washington were “overwhelmingly white.”
Reporting on the gathering, the Times described it as “The overwhelmingly white and largely middle-aged crowd.”
Nothing really new here. The “mainstream” media have been calling Tea Party rallies “overwhelmingly white” for quite some time now. Here are a few examples, compliments of the Culture and Media Center, an offshoot of the Media Research Center:
“The crowds turning out for the Tea Party Express rallies are overwhelmingly white.”
Ed Lavandera, CNN “American Morning” March 31, 2010.
“The crowd is still overwhelmingly white.”
Jessica Yellin, CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” April 15, 2010.
“The crowd that greeted Palin did nothing to contradict the common description of Tea Party supporters as overwhelmingly white and mostly older.”
Ina Jaffe, NPR “Weekend Edition Sunday” March 28, 2010.
“They are overwhelmingly white and Anglo …”
USA Today July 2, 2010.
“Do you have any concerns when you look out at the crowds and they’re mostly, well, overwhelmingly white people?”
Terry Moran, ABC “Nightline” Nov. 2, 2009.
“You know, one thing to keep in mind about the Tea Party is that it is an overwhelmingly white movement.”
Ron Brownstein, NBC “Meet the Press” April 18, 2010.
And yes, the crowds at Beck’s rally and at Tea Party rallies have indeed been overwhelmingly white. But the folks who turn out to environmental rallies and anti-war rallies and feminist rallies are “overwhelmingly white” too. But for some reason the media feel no need to point that out. They drag race into the discussion only when conservatives are involved — because they see something sinister at these rallies. The ideas put forth are alien to liberal journalists. They’re not mainstream ideas, not as far as liberal journalists are concerned. So noting that the crowds are “overwhelmingly white” is a kind of warning label, not unlike the cancer warning on a pack of cigarettes. This warning label says in essence: BE ON YOUR GUARD. THE PEOPLE AT THESE RALLIES ARE CONSERVATIVES. AND OVERWHELMINGLY WHITE. CONSIDER THESE FACTS WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THEIR RIGHT WING ARGUMENTS.
But there’s another angle here that the media have shown no interest in covering. You see, the crowds at these conservative rallies aren’t the only groups that are “overwhelmingly white.” So are the journalists reporting the story. Can you imagine? So what we have here are “overwhelmingly white” liberal journalists calling conservatives at rallies “overwhelmingly white.” I guess you could call it irony. I prefer hypocrisy.
A few years ago I came up with an idea to make sure we got more racial diversity in our newsrooms – and in all of corporate America, actually. It’s a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. Here goes:
Every white person in America who thinks affirmative action, as currently practiced, is a good idea, every white person who thinks diversity is important in the workplace, voluntarily gives up his or her job and gives it to a qualified minority person.
That way, instead of waiting another ten or twenty years for “equality” in newsrooms and corporate offices, we’d have that worthy goal accomplished overnight. By tomorrow morning, there would be thousands upon thousands more minority Americans in important jobs. Like I said, it’s brilliant!
I pitched my idea to two network news executives. “Give up your job,” I told them, “and hand it over to a qualified minority.” Both these men were big time advocates of diversity and affirmative action and have given jobs out, at least in part, based on race. Both said it was a very bad idea.
So ends my few words on hypocrisy.