New survey reveals journalists-of-color don’t feel mainstream media effectively covers race relations

LatinaLista — In the aftermath of the now-infamous editorial cartoon that ran in the New York Post this week, the editors issued an apology. From the wording used, it’s pretty clear that this is an apology issued under duress. In other words, they’re only apologizing that people were offended who didn’t get the cartoon.

They still think it’s clever and funny.
Yet, word has come that other editors and reporters at the paper didn’t agree with the editorial department and have gone on record stating their displeasure with those editors for giving the green light to run the cartoon.
But if a recent survey is any indication, the NY Post’s editors’ reaction to the cartoon shouldn’t be surprising — but rather, predictable.

A “race and media” survey targeting journalists of color and conducted by an African American website and the journalist of color organization UNITY found that

An overwhelming 92% of those surveyed believed the mainstream media was still not effectively covering race relations in a multiracial society.

There are two predominant reasons why these journalists felt this way: First, the downsizing of newsrooms across the country is also downsizing diversity out of the offices as well. Secondly, these journalists cited a lack of understanding from those editors/producers in charge.
It is an understanding of how certain images and words are perceived by communities of color as offensive and meant to demoralize them.
While the editors at the NY Post still don’t really see how the cartoon is considered racist by communities of color, it shows an extreme lack of sensitivity on their part that an animal that has been historically used in a derogatory manner when referring to African Americans would be considered funny in reference to President Obama.
Though the cartoonist and the editors said that the chimp was not meant to represent President Obama, they are either misrepresenting themselves or inadequate news journalists because though there are many authors of the Stimulus Bill, there is one man who is the “face” of the bill — Obama.
As the survey illustrated, journalists of color who are in these newsrooms, that were finally achieving some diversity, a.k.a. sensitivity and understanding of how Americans of color feel, are quickly returning to those days when journalists of color were not considered “qualified” enough to oversee news sections or the paper itself.
It may be a new administration and a new season for hope but it’s the same old problem with same old attitudes.
It is time for change but this is one issue where change can’t be forced but must be felt. Only then does change happen.

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  1. Horace said:

    “………’s pretty clear that this is an apology issued under duress. In other words, they’re only apologizing that people were offended who didn’t get the cartoon.”
    It’s not clear at all, except to those with closed minds who stick with their preconceived biased notions that everything has a racial undertones. You seem to be motivated to incite racial tension rather than give the benefit of the doubt. You have lost your journalistic impartiality, if you ever had it to begin with. You are turning this blog into a cheap tabloid.
    Your argument is also a non sequitur. Duress means threat. Apologizing because some do not get the cartoon is not the same thing as doing something under threat. When you say “in other words” your comments actually say two different things, not just different words with the same meaning.

  2. Publius said:

    Actually, it’s well known through the news media itself that Barack Obama did not write the bill. If he did, perhaps he wouldn’t have criticized it as being imperfect. I, myself heard his very words stating that though it was not perfect there was no time to make it so. Your comments belong in the National Enquirer moreso than a thoughtful and fair rag or blog.

  3. Jason said:

    “As the survey illustrated, journalists of color who are in these newsrooms, that were finally achieving some diversity, a.k.a. sensitivity and understanding of how Americans of color feel, are quickly returning to those days when journalists of color were not considered “qualified” enough to oversee news sections or the paper itself.”
    Gee, just what we need, biased news reporters. White people, black people, brown and yellow people should only report news from their own perspectives, rather than attempting to achieve impartiality. How about all of them doing their best at being impartial and leaving their personal racial biases and feelings out of it. Perhaps you should try that approach too, Marisa. But since you feel so strongly on this, maybe not. You’re not brown Marisa, so by your standards you are not qualified to speak for brown Hispanics. Or maybe you’ll make an exception, since you think you’re so special.

  4. Marisa Treviño said:

    Jason, you miss several points.
    1. I may not be “brown” but that doesn’t denote my ethnicity. Latinos are a range of shades but whether or not I’m brown has nothing to do with my family heritage and the fact that I am Latina.
    2. Diversity in the newsroom has nothing to do with reporting the news impartially. It has everything to do about being inclusive and covering those communities of color where it takes an understanding of how these people live, what their family traditions entail, how they historically perceive media, law enforcement, food, etc. impact communicating with them and getting the stories out of those communities.
    3. This is a blog which is supposed to be opinionated – my opinions.
    4. Yes, I’m special — as I believe everyone is, even you!

  5. Marisa Treviño said:

    Who said Obama wrote the bill. I said he’s the face of the bill. He was the one, though stating it was imperfect, stumped for it. Simple as that.

  6. Minute Man Pete said:

    “But since you feel so strongly on this, maybe not. You’re not brown Marisa, so by your standards you are not qualified to speak for brown Hispanics.”
    As a minute man I am so confused as who to hate. Some Hispanix are brown but a lot are Black like all those steroid-taking baseball players like Sammy Sosa. But I can hate the Blacks as easy as I can hate the Browns.But some are White like Lindas Ronstandt. It is hard for me to hate Whites. Some are gorgeous like Selma Hayek. It is real hard to hate her too.
    Man, it makes it hard to be a hater these days.
    Heck, some South American country even had a Japanese old man for their President. Man I am ever confused.

  7. Horace said:

    ,,,,,,stumped for it. Simple as that.”
    Stumped for it? He went on the road, but he already had all the votes necessary for passing it. This was foregone conclusion. He never read the bill, but trusted the obvious authors, chimpanzee Harry and chimpanzee Nancy, so if he’s the face of the good in this bill, he’s also the face of the bad; and that means the pork.

  8. Lew Waters said:

    With so many of the left feigning offense at a political cartoon lampooning politians, not just one, imagine their outrage if radio stations were to replay Tom T Hall’s 1972 song, “The Monkey That Became President.”
    Perhaps it is time to revisit the words of another Democrat President who famously said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
    It isn’t racism to oppose or lampoon any politician, including Obama, any more than it was to constantly belittle George W. Bush (who was referred to as Chimp far more than Obama).

  9. Horace said:

    Jason is right. How can you possibly understand the racial problems of an Indian living in El Salvador if you’re a pure Spaniard from Mexico City? The pure Spaniard blood have been exploiting brown people in South and Central America for centuries and continue to do so, and somehow they righteously claim a solidarity with them as Latinos? I’ll bet that if I went to Mexico and lived among the Indian population I’d find that they wouldn’t feel a mutual solidarity with the Spanish speaking white folk who also call themselves Hispanic or Latino out of convenience in adding to their political numbers. Such is the hypocrisy of Latinos in this country.

  10. Panchito said:

    You fools. How would you like for the New York Post to print a picture of your Mama having sex with a Hippopotamus?
    Bet you wouldn’t be defending them. The media is irresponsible and out of control. It is not o.k for them to humiliate anyone- regardless of political party.

  11. Horace said:

    “…where it takes an understanding of how these people live………
    Isn’t this a euphemism for an apologist; one sees it as their main purpose in life to explain why bad group behavior should be excusable, so as to mitigate its gravity to the general public, i.e. support of illegal immigration, contempt for immigration law and the sovereign right of our citizens to control their immigration policies? While understanding why people do things is interesting to know, destroying respect for our nation as a country built on law is unacceptable.

  12. Lea Ortiz said:

    I had no idea that the Hispanic Culture had become so all encompassing. Things have certainly changed in the last four years since I left Texas. ;)
    Somehow a projection of racism is being done here. I am not sure since it was not explained to me the meaning.

  13. adriana said:

    I think that diversity on a writing staff or in the newsroom can only make the publication or production more rich. The country is becoming more diverse, yet newsprint is dying and there is a proliferation of on-line media sources, blogs, etc. Thankfully, the blogsphere is filling the void a little bit, but it does not substitute for having more diversity in the traditional media ranks.

  14. Horace said:

    Panchito said: “You fools. How would you like for the New York Post to print a picture of your Mama having sex with a Hippopotamus?
    Bet you wouldn’t be defending them. The media is irresponsible and out of control. It is not o.k for them to humiliate anyone- regardless of political party.”
    Did someone finally catch your momma in flagrante? If so, my sympathies.
    Panchito, you are the ignorant fool. It’s the nature of the satirist to make fun of politicians when they act irresponsibly. If Nancy P and Harry R write legislation and their crony Democrats have a vote on a bill that no one has had an opportunity to read, and congress complies, then Congress has become a community of chimpanzees as far as I’m concerned. It’s funny that people like you make such make an issue out of a cartoon, but hardly peep when our democratic process is treated trivially. Where’s the outrage when open debate by our legislatures is denied? Or does open debate only apply when Democrats are in the minority? If you refuse to understand the concept of free speech, I suggest that you move to a country where you might feel more comfortable about being denied free speech, perhaps somewhere in Central or South America, where your culture is dominant.

  15. laura said:

    I agree with Spike Lee who is calling for a boycott of the New York Post.
    This cartoon out of another Murdoch propaganda sheet is not only ugly, stupid and without a political message except for murder. It also incites us to imagine assassination. It is part of a subculture of violent racism which we saw when participants in Sarah Palin rallies shouted “kill him,” and where nooses on trees, arson in churches, and bizarre assassination plots are only the foulest outbursts from a bubbling stew of hate, violence, scapegoating, and racism.
    The same subculture incited groups of high school boys to lynch Latino men in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and on Long Island last year.
    Let’s make a note here that Rupert Murdoch, one of the richest men in the world, feels it is to his advantage to stoke this stew of violent racism. That is why he has been paying the same “cartoonist” for years to produce similar images. They are images whose basic aesthetic resembles that of the anti-Semitic cartoons of the Nazi newspaper “Der Stuermer” in the 1930s.
    In my view, Latina/os should join the outcry against anti-black racists. They are the same people who foster violence against immigrants and especially against Latina/os. Spike Lee is right: no self-respecting person who abhors racism should be buying the New York Post.
    As for the stimulus bill: President Obama got a superb piece of legislation through Congress with record speed. I would suggest to all who don’t like it, to pay any material benefits they receive from it, back to the Treasury of the United States. That way the rest of us can get health insurance to more children, extend more unemployment benefits to people who lost their jobs, build high-speed rail to connect our cities, fund medical research, and rebuild our bridges and power grids. Maybe we can even build some schools.

  16. Horace said:

    “As for the stimulus bill: President Obama got a superb piece of legislation through Congress with record speed.”
    Superb legislation? Do you really understand it Laura, or are you just taking it on faith that it will work? I guess we shouldn’t bother to see whether it works before we nominate him for sainthood. Laura, your sycophantic praise and ignorant remarks are nauseating. Speed isn’t necessary when our Congress doesn’t bother reading or debating legislation.

  17. Lea Ortiz said:

    Spike Lee the writer and producer of “Jungle Fever”? A controversial film about a biracial affair? This movie makes it apparent as to what he is made of. Watch this movie with a different mindset. His depiction of white women is abhorrent.
    Spike Lee? Is he upset about political satire? Wow!
    What is Racism?
    Copy and paste:

  18. Horace said:

    While we have diametrically opposed opinions on illegal immigration, Linda Chavez has it right about Obama.
    This from her most recent article on Saint Obama’s budget proposal
    February 26, 2009, 3:15 p.m.
    Tucson Citizen
    Hubris is the word that comes to mind as I listen to President Obama lay out his plan to rescue the economy, create 4 million jobs, halve the deficit in four years and give quality health care to every American.
    The man has big ambitions and an even bigger ego. It has been one of the most troubling aspects of his character as it has emerged on the national scene in the last two years.
    He seems, almost literally, to believe he walks on water. No one – no matter how talented – could accomplish a fraction of what Obama has planned in a good economy, much less the weakened one we have right now.
    Worse, he thinks he can do this simply by taxing the rich, a fantasy only someone who knows nothing about human behavior, much less the U.S. tax system, could possibly believe.
    This is what the president has planned in the health care arena: $634 billion as a down payment on a new system that would provide insurance to those uninsured Americans, about 47 million people at last count.
    Sounds great – except when you consider who is going to pay for it.
    About half the money, the White House claims, will come from tax increases on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, those earning $250,000 a year or more, and savings from already existing health programs.
    But the math doesn’t add up. There simply aren’t enough rich people to pay for the Democrats’ plans, even if the president could figure out a scheme to confiscate every penny the rich now earn.
    As the Wall Street Journal editors pointed out Feb. 26 the roughly 3.8 million income tax filers who had more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income (the IRS doesn’t break it down at the $250,000 level) paid $522 billion in income taxes, about 62 percent of all taxes paid in 2006.
    And if the taxman simply took every dime earned by those in the very top group – $500,000 and above – it would pay for about one year’s worth of free health insurance for the uninsured.
    But there’d be no rich people left for a second or third or fourth year of such a scheme.
    We’ve seen this kind of plan before, in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China – free health care, yes, but of universally lousy quality and living standards for everyone that would make the poorest Americans look rich by comparison.
    I’m not suggesting President Obama is a communist, but he is a utopian – and that’s the danger.
    He wants to create a perfect society in which the state takes care of everyone in need. It sounds wonderful – but the road to economic ruin and loss of liberty is paved by well-meaning men with good intentions.
    The rich – as liberals like to call them – are the people in this society who earn enough to invest and create jobs so that all the rest of us can live decently.
    A couple earning $50,000 a year with two kids don’t have money left over after paying the bills to invest in the stock market or even hire one part-time worker at minimum wage.
    Small and medium-size businesses create most of the jobs in our economy, and the people who start and run those businesses are the very taxpayers Obama is targeting.
    He says he’s going to cut the deductions these people take on their tax returns by about 20 percent – which means they’ll have less to pay their employees and less incentive to hire new ones.
    And the worst part of Obama’s plan is that it will actually increase the deficit, not halve it as he promises.
    When individuals have disincentives to earn more money because Uncle Sam will take more of every extra penny they earn, they do the natural thing: They cut back on work. And when they earn less, they pay less in taxes.
    Obama’s plan will mean a rush to the bottom – where government incentives give the biggest rewards to those who produce the least. Pretty soon there won’t be anyone to foot the bill.
    Maybe if President Obama had spent time in the real economy, not simply as the recipient of government or nonprofit paychecks his whole life, he’d be a little less confident in his utopian plans.
    Linda Chavez is chair of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of “An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal.”

  19. Horace said:

    Good argument, Linda C. How ironic it would be that Obama, an advocate for CIR would destroy our economy by his incompetence and in so doing cause illegal aliens to self deport for lack of employment. Go Barack!

  20. Alessandra said:

    Linda Chavez does make some really good points. The class warfare waged by the left is really detrimental to the economic health of the country. “Rich people” are not the enemy. Neither are creative, ambitious people; these are the people who move our country forward, who provide the jobs. Those people need to be encouraged, not discouraged by punitive taxes. They are not “the enemy.”
    However, for our system to work well, it must have oversight and be relatively free of corruption. Our system works better with human nature than a Socialist system. People are naturally competitive and want to be rewarded for hard work and risk taking. But greed is also a part of human nature and when that aspect kicks in, combined with corruption, then we end up with a situation such as we have now. So there needs to be a certain amount of regulation and oversight to ensure that everyone is playing by the rules.
    I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who said that Socialists eventually run out of other peoples’ money to spend. That is certainly a point worth considering IMO.

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