Chicago Tribune readers question failure to mention race in attacks

Chicago Tribune | Chicago Now
Chicago’s recent downtown “flash mob” attacks have made the front-pages and led local TV newscasts, but Mary Schmich points out that what “you haven’t read in the Tribune or seen explicitly stated by most of the official media [is that] the young men were black.” She quotes a reader:

I can’t imagine that if a gang of white teenagers went to the South Side of Chicago and began attacking African-Americans including a 68-year-old that the race card would be left out of your coverage. … I see a media double standard here.

Schmich’s view:

I’m ambivalent about the omission of the attackers’ race in the news accounts, but I think I would have decided to leave it out too.

As an editor pointed out when I asked about it, the crimes don’t appear to be racially motivated. There’s no sign the criminals picked victims because they were of a certain race. They picked them because they had certain stuff.

Former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dennis Byrne wants the media to identify the race of the aggressors and victims. “It is information that we all need to help understand and solve the problem. It’s a symptom of a hurt crying for a cure,” he writes.

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  • Hans Greeber

    “…bash african americans” ??? The reality is that “african americans” beat and robbed White Americans. The ones getting “bashed” are White; the attackers are “african american” Thats reality – face it.

  • Anonymous

    People are being brutally beaten and robbed, giving as good of a description as possible is essential to preventing a furtherance of these crimes. It seems by many of the comments and articles that have been written those who have nothing but a common skin pigmentation have worked their way into the victim role. You are not the victims here and if you were concerned with the wellbeing of your fellow man you would put your feelings aside and allow proper policing as well as reporting. Unless the news affairs of the Chicago Police Dept. is withholding the information, I believe that this cities media owes its readership the information it needs to take precautionary steps to ensure their safety. 

  • Anonymous

    As a journalist you should do your research. One was recently organized via twitter and dispersed by police.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you but the majority of the people who were hurt financially by the last few big corporate crimes were white. I also believe that Crime is Crime and there should not be and low security “Cushy” prisons for these corporate criminals.  

  • Anonymous

    I agree, This should be pointed out and possible victims, Especially the elderly should be armed and prepared.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WVPA4DMRNLJEZLKO4YDYJO72I .

    “It’s a symptom of a hurt crying for a cure”No its a sign of degenerate criminal culture and an unarmed populace.

    Boycott Chicago!

  • Anonymous

    And you know race does not figure in this exactly how.  You have a group of young blacks who do a mob scene in a white area but of course races is not part of the problem.  Sounds to me like you have your head buried.  It is like the flash mob scene in Greenwich Village in NYC.  Same thing.  Group of young blacks attack a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts at 3 AM and of course it is not race-related.  What precisely do you think it is then.  Do you think this group just happened to be there and just happened to pick this spot with an all-white clientele to attack?  How are the victims supposed to be able to identify the criminals.  How are the shops to protect themselves from thee attacks.  If you keep plugging your ears you will not be able to stop them.  You need to identify exactly how these groups form and how they attack so you can stop this from happeneing unless you don’t care.

  • Anonymous

    And you know race does not figure in this exactly how.  You have a group of young blacks who do a mob scene in a white area but of course races is not part of the problem.  Sounds to me like you have your head buried.  It is like the flash mob scene in Greenwich Village in NYC.  Same thing.  Group of young blacks attack a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts at 3 AM and of course it is not race-related.  What precisely do you think it is then.  Do you think this group just happened to be there and just happened to pick this spot with an all-white clientele to attack?  How are the victims supposed to be able to identify the criminals.  How are the shops to protect themselves from thee attacks.  If you keep plugging your ears you will not be able to stop them.  You need to identify exactly how these groups form and how they attack so you can stop this from happeneing unless you don’t care.

  • http://www.copydesk.org/ Teresa Schmedding

    Race doesn’t appear to be a factor in the crimes so how is it relevant? I see no use in reporting it other than it would give those the readers who are eager to make everything an issue of race a chance to bash African Americans.

    I’m also curious as to why we, as journalists, keep using the term “flash mob” to describe these attacks. There’s no indication that social media played a role. These are assaults by groups of teens — not flash mobs.

  • http://www.jt10000.com John Forrest Tomlinson

    I’m looking forward to more stories about high-level financial fraud where the articles say things like “Countrywide’s CEO, who is white….”  Let’s have more racial identification in financial crimes. That’d be interesting.

  • eddesantis

    Two Tribune Company properties are taking opposite sides on this issue.  That is the very definition of cowardice.