WTF Wednesday: Calling Out the New York Times

Hello and welcome to WTF Wednesday with me, Cara B, where I talk about all the stuff that made me say WTF this week.

Let’s start by calling out the New York Times.

Michael Brown, the young man who was shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, was laid to rest on Monday, August 25th. That same day, the New York Times posted a profile that has sparked some serious backlash. In the profile, the NYT characterizes Brown as “no angel.”

“Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.”

Why is this the way the Times chose to frame a profile of this young man?

“[H]e dabbled in drugs and alcohol [and]… had taken to rapping in recent months”

These facts don’t change the the reality that Brown was shot by a police officer while unarmed. These facts don’t make his death any less tragic. They don’t reduce the pain and outrage of Brown’s family or of the larger black community. So what is the point?  It’s almost as if to say: Brown wasn’t one of the good black kids. He was just one of those weed-smoking, rapping thugs. So no need to feel too bad. He probably deserved it.

To post this piece, and on the day that Brown was interred, is both callous and shameful.

But this wasn’t the only reason the NYT made my shitlist this week.

Guess what is currently at the top of the Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers List! America:Imagine the World Without Her, by Dinesh D’Souza. For a peek into the abyss of racist bullshit that is America, here are a few quotes.

“The Indians were here first, but they were only sparsely and sporadically occupying the land. Consequently, many settlers regarded America as largely unoccupied, although the Indians surely disagreed with that perspective. Too bad the two groups could not amicably work out a way to share and benefit from this vast country.”

Too bad? Seriously? Has this guy ever taken a single American History course?



“Progressives are still chasing the windmills of old-style racism, whipping the nation into a frenzy every time there is some obscure incident. The reason blacks remain so far behind whites, however, has very little to do with racism. It has to do with African American cultural backwardness.”

Cultural. Backwardness.

Well shit me sideways, all this time I thought it had to to with the social, economic, political and cultural racism blacks and other minorities experience at the individual and structural levels. Turns out our cultures are just ass backwards.

You should check out this piece from The American Prospect for a more in-depth critique because I do not have the time or patience to fully engage the ignorance this book is proliferating.

With that said, let me sum up my feelings thusly: WTF?

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