ICARE at School Board Meeting
The Origin of Our Belief Systems

Spinning the Story on Dylann Roof and Race Matters

Dylann Storm Roof the arrested killer of nine worshippers Mother Emanuel AME Church
by Andrea Robinson


Let me say this ... I love journalism and have been blessed to do what I love for a number of years. We do great work sometimes.But when it comes to covering racial issues, especially communities of color (read: black and brown), the industry sucks. It is past time that we stop with the disparate characterizations of suspects and victims based on skin color. Y'all know it happens all the time.

Dylann Roof wasn't created in a vacuum. He's a product of a society that taught him black people "rape" white women and must be slaughtered. That is a terrorist mindset. The only outlet that I've seen to label him as such is The Raw Story. Mainstream media ain't gonna do it. Yet, Dylann wore black or brown skin he'd be called a thug or worse from the onset.

Any crime story that involves a suspect of color will include race in the description high up in the story. If the suspect is white, there is no mention of race. That has happened since I've been in the industry. I made a point of including race in every story I wrote out of a sense of fairness. Of course, that was like dropping a pebble in the freakin' ocean. For every one story I wrote, there were 250 others that did just the opposite. Hard to even the narrative.

But it's more than just crime. Black people are marginalized in coverage in just about every aspect of life. Whether it's in broadcast or print news, or in episodic or reality TV, or in the movies. Viewers, readers, listeners are more likely to get a negative portrayal of us. And that message travels across waterways into other countries. People arrive in this country with the attitude that African Americans are shiftless, lazy, irresponsible bums, because that is the only message they get. hurts like heck to hear (overhear) islanders speak disparagingly of me and mine. Heck, we're in the same boat! You just don't realize it. Keep living here and you will learn!! Ugh!

I digress. Gotta stay focused. Media helped create Dylann Roof. Why listen, view or read media outlets that are unfair, partial and/or flat out wrong? Educate yourselves, people! Demand better. There is so much more to be said. But I haven't eaten much lately and have to get something in my stomach. Please, do yourself a favor and become a more discerning consumer of information. You really owe it to yourself, and to humanity.


Andrea Robinson is a veteran journalist with a passion for telling the African-American experience. Her undergraduate studies were at Jackson State University and she earned a master's degree in Strategic Public Relations at George Washington University. Robinson worked at The Miami Herald for almost two decades and started her professional career at the Tucson Citizen. She serves in leadership positions in various organizations including Toastmasters International and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.



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