This week, when The Inquirer published an article examining the paper’s racist history, the publication joined a trend that has swept through many major newspapers in the last few years.
I was not invited to weigh in. However, I’ve never been one to hold my tongue. But rather than rehashing the offensive headlines and the biased coverage that was outlined in such exquisite detail in a piece titled “Black City White Paper,” I’d like to focus on the underlying assumptions that enable white supremacy to fester even at left-leaning media outlets like The Inquirer.
First, there is the historical reality of America’s foundational racism. After all, ours is a country where the partial humanity of Africans was codified in constitutional law with a clause that explicitly defined Black people as three-fifths human. Is it any wonder that even the most progressive whites would struggle to overcome the myth of Black inferiority? Is it beyond the realm of possibility that even some Black people would support racist ideologies in the hopes of receiving scraps from the master’s table? Is it wrong to assume that all of us have been affected by the constant barrage of images and stories that define Black people as fractional human beings? I don’t think so. In fact, I believe Americans of all stripes spend an inordinate amount of time denying racism, and we do so to maintain our own sanity.
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Photo: The Inquirer Building By. Joscelyn Paine