There’s a thought provoking blog by Benjamin Davis on the Online Journalism Review, looking at our use of ‘black’ and ‘white’, to describe race.
He brings attention to the issue by referring to a question he often poses to his own students.
I ask a “white” student if he or she has “black” friends. If they do, I promise I will give them $100 for an introduction. With the same promise I ask a “black” student if he or she has “white” friends. Every time the answers are enthusiastically affirmative to having “black” and “white” friends. They salivate looking forward to the cash as any college student would. You should see them preparing to text their friends on their cell phones.
I then approach the very same students holding a white piece of paper and say, so your friend is the color of this paper, yes? Holding a black object to another student I state, so your friend is the color of this black object, yes? At that point the students realize what the journalism community as a whole refuses to acknowledge and that is, there are not “black” and “white” people. The students understand that they mistakenly lied because they were lied to by society and the journalism world.
He therefore calls for mainstream media to update their stylebooks and report the “truth”.
There is only one race. It’s called human. That’s a simple fact that any anthropologist would support. Again, it’s about telling the truth and mainstream media have their collective heads in the sand.
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