The media’s unintended contribution to racism

Sam Smith – Every day I scan over a thousand headlines for news worth reporting. The most notable absence: stories about ethnic groups working well together. According to the media, multiculturalism is nothing but a problem, with a particular obsession on stories where it ends in violent death. And it hardly ever reports on the growth of bi-ethnic families and the positive effect that has. This is not to say the bad stories should not be reported; only that the alternatives deserve far more attention.

Further, the media’s stories almost universally implicitly treat ethnicity as a biological fact, using “race” – a term that was racist in its origins – for what is overwhelmingly a description of cultural variety. One study, for example, found more genetic differences among blacks around the world than between blacks and whites in countries like the US. And while we are currently having a big debate over critical racial theory being taught in schools, there is hardly any mention of the need for teaching the young the positive aspects of multicultures.

Which is why we use the term ethnicity rather race. As a white guy who lived a much of his life in the majority black city of Washington, I view multiculturalism as a great addition to my life and have been particularly struck lately by the indifference of the media to finding out how, in a place like DC, it can work positively.

But good news doesn’t sell papers or bring ratings and so the media continues to thrive on the ethnic crises that we have. It would be so much better if it finally recognized that, as a result, it has become a not insignificant part of the problem.