The police need to stop asking victims and witnesses of violent crimes the race of the perpetrators, because, Chicago Tribune columnist and editorial board member Steve Chapman informs us, “it tells you nothing useful.”
Chapman wrote this while the city’s toniest districts—the Gold coast, Streeterville, and Lakeview—were besieged by black thugs who would plan the attacks and travel up to an hour each way, just to harm whites and Asians, whereby the robberies were an afterthought. This was all about racial terror.
Note, too, one of Chapman’s more ridiculous passages:
And what good would it do to trumpet the skin color of the thugs? So pedestrians on Michigan Avenue can run away when they see two or more African-Americans? Lots of black adolescents and young adults can be found on the Magnificent Mile on any given day. I'd guess at least 95 percent of them are harmless.You could go to the wealthiest black neighborhood in Chicago, and the percentage of young black males who are criminals would be much higher than five percent. At the time Chapman was writing about, the percentage of young black males in groups of two or more in the areas being hit was probably more like 50 percent.
The larger question is why would a columnist at one of the nation’s biggest newspapers—with his editor’s adamant support—be deliberately seeking to cause harm, and possibly even death to many of its readers?
At the time Chapman’s racist rant ran, a number of readers left comments that made him look a piker. Chapman’s cronies bailed him out, by deleting all of them, but I was able to rescue 11, before the censors did their work.
June 8, 2011, 3:24 p.m., CDT
Here's my question about the teenagers who have been attacking and robbing people on North Michigan Avenue in recent days: Were they Christians? And if so, what denomination? Baptist? Catholic? Seventh Day Adventist?
Those may sound like ridiculous questions. But so is the question raised by many Tribune readers about our coverage: Why aren't we mentioning that the culprits are black?
There are good reasons not to identify the attackers by race. It's the newspaper's sound general policy not to mention race in a story, whether about crime or anything else, unless it has some clear relevance to the topic.
If a reporter goes out and interviews people about the weather, would it make sense for the story to say, "Joe Smith, who is black, is hoping for a cool front"? If a pedestrian gets run over by a bicyclist, should the story mention that the rider was white?
In the attack coverage, what difference does race make, unless police are putting out descriptions or sketches in hopes of getting tips from witnesses? Getting beat up for your iPad, I suspect, feels about the same regardless of the color of the thieves. Police don't seem to think victims were targeted because of their race.
And what good would it do to trumpet the skin color of the thugs? So pedestrians on Michigan Avenue can run away when they see two or more African-Americans? Lots of black adolescents and young adults can be found on the Magnificent Mile on any given day. I'd guess at least 95 percent of them are harmless.
My question to readers accusing us of political correctness is: Why do you care so much about the attackers' race? If you fear or dislike blacks, I suppose it would confirm your prejudice. But otherwise, it tells you nothing useful.
James Reyes at 1:31 AM June 9, 2011
So why do they bother mentioning clothing.So we can be on the look out for somebody in a t-shirt and jeans?Maybe I should report myself as a suspicious person.
Misanthrope at 11:57 AM June 9, 2011
Are you serious? I remember in 2003 driving up from Southern Illinois and listening to the NPR coverage of the riots in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Not being familiar with Benton Harbor, and due to the exclusion of race in the story in furtherance of politcal correctness and racial sensitivity, I was left wondering who was rioting. College students, the Grey Panthers, Hassidic Jews? When journalists start censoring who, what, when, where, how and why from stories, it's no longer a story, but an editorial..
Lilith at 3:22 PM June 9, 2011
Why are so many in the media referring to this group as a "flash mob"? Don't they know what a flash mob IS?
WendyCCH at 7:55 PM June 9, 2011
Does the refusal to identify the race of these culprits absolve you of any suggestion race may have a role in these attacks?
KXB60056 at 10:56 AM June 10, 2011
The reason people would like to know about the ethnicity of the assailants is because of self-protection. The young boys who are committing these crimes seem to be targetting people who are different from them, because in their messed up heads, they believe they are easier targets. Notice, they did not go to a white part of town that is know to have a lot of police residences, such as Jefferson Park. Nor did they go all the way up north to Rogers Park, which is quite diverse, because the subway ride back to the South Side would take a long time, increasing their chances of getting caught.
This was not a spontaneous attack. These boys got together and picked out which neighborhood to hit, and what kind of people to rob.
Think about that Japanese doctor that got beat up. When Japan was hit by that tsunami, people all over the world remarked at how resilient the Japanese were - no rioting, no looting, etc. This guy comes here for a conference, talks a walk on a summer day, enjoying one of the nicest parts of the city - and he is greeting by a pack of thugs.
PokerChip at 5:48 PM June 10, 2011
Steve – Your argument is absurd. What if a group of white kids went into Marquette Park or Pilsen and robbed a few people and made a quick getaway? Are you telling me that the Tribune wouldn’t report that the kids were white? Or would the Tribune report it because Tribune staffers would assume that the crime was race related? Don’t you think the people of those neighborhoods would want to know that it was a group of white kids? Of course they would! Why? Because it is unusual to see a group of white kids in those neighborhoods and they might be a little more cautious if that rare occurrence does happen. That's not racism. That's being cautious when something unusual occurs like white kids walking around Marquette Park.
Likewise, you are less likely to see a group of black teens walking down Michigan Avenue than other ethnicities. It is absurd to say “at least 95% of them [blacks] are harmless” for two reasons (1) The percentage of blacks in Streeterville is very small so it is unusual (see above) to see a large group of black teens in Streeterville THUS residents would want to know. (2) If you think there are a lot of black teens in Streeterville then do a calculation: If there were 500 black teens walking Streeterville each day then 25 black teens ARE a danger to the community by your own estimation (5%). Is that what you were implying? You can't have it both ways Steve.
dddddx at 7:04 PM June 10, 2011
Your article and way of reporting crime imply that nothing can be learned from knowing the race of the criminals after a crime has been committed.
You imply that there are a complete absence of trends that would be beneficial to the public.
You are wrong.
For example, doj.gov has FBI crime statistics broken down by race. In 2005, over 37,000 white girls were raped by black men. Zero (0) black girls were raped by white men (there is an asterisk stating 0-10).
Don't you think some beneficial conclusions could be draw from those statistics by black girls in a white neighborhood or white girls who were thinking of going into black neighborhoods?
Don't be naive.
clem.poston at 7:23 PM June 10, 2011
""Why aren't we mentioning that the culprits are black? ""
Because in general it is indicative of behavior. Is this a trick question?
freddy_hills at 11:16 PM June 10, 2011
If roving gangs of black teenagers are targeting people of other races on North Michigan Avenue then I think the race of the people involved is relevant. Why does the media want to withhold this information from us? Why are you trying to justify the media withholding this information from us? We have a right to all the information without the mainstream media censoring it.
By the way, I actually would like to know the religion of those involved in the attacks. Were any of them Nation of Islam? Given the racial nature of the attacks and the fact that the NOI headquarters is in Chicago I should think a good journalist might investigate and let us know one way or the other.
Joe_G999 at 11:53 PM June 10, 2011
You say race doesn't matter. Would you consider moving your family to a mostly black Chicago neighborhood, and sending your kids to a mostly black high school? Why not? Housing is much less expensive in black neighborhoods. I would advise against it, because I know race does matter. Does the fact that the flash mobs are always all black make a difference? If white flash mobs were repeatedly entering black areas and robbing and beating blacks, would race be a factor for you then?
scrappy koala at 12:03 AM June 11, 2011
I've said it before and I'll say it again that you are right. Race doesn not matter and you dont need to tell us what race it is because we already know. Especially when you dont tell us. If this was White on Black crime there is no doubts on anyones mind that all of a sudden race would matter and you would report it but if its black criminals you wont say race which actually tells us the race. When ever a news site wont say the race I instantly know which race. This works pretty much 100% of the time without fail.
[From WEJB/NSU’s Chicago Files:
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“Video: In Racist Attack in Chicago, Two Huge, Fat, Black Sisters, 17 and 18, Jump Skinny Spanish Girl, 14, in Bio Class, Beat Her for 6-7 Minutes, Leaving Her with a Concussion and Internal Injuries; Frightened, Helpless,White Teacher Does Nothing”;
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“Chicago’s Friday Night Shooting Scorecard: 10 Shot, 3 Dead, as Crime Continues Its Fall”;
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“Jessica Tetter Murder: New Story: She was also Raped, Front and Back, and ‘On-Again, Off-Again Boyfriend’ was Really Stepfather, Who Has Confessed!”
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