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Jewish World ReviewMarch 10, 2000/ 3 Adar II, 5760

Larry Elder

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When the bad guy is black

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- THE DOUBLE STANDARD slaps you in the face.

Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. Ronald Taylor, a black man, allegedly guns down five whites, killing three. What followed became a textbook case on how contemporary American journalism deals with race.

The suspect's motive could not have been more clear. A black neighbor quoted Taylor as saying, "I'm gonna kill all white people."

A white maintenance man described Taylor as disruptive ever since he moved into the apartment building, "Whenever he saw me, he'd call me a racist pig, or white trash, or he'd make a point of walking past me and brushing up against me. He just didn't like me."

Yet the media leaned over backward to avoid any appearance of racism. News anchors cautioned that we don't know whether Taylor's alleged hatred against whites was the "primary" or "sole" reason for the shootings. Pardon me. When did they add that requirement?

The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act defines hate crime as: "Crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person." No mention of hatred as a "sole" or "primary" motive.

Even the police issued mild, tentative statements about whether they considered Taylor's actions a hate crime. "There's a lot of hostility in this individual," said Wilkinsburg Police Chief Gerald Brewer, "so I think it's a little premature to simply define this as a racist event." A little premature?

In August 1999, white supremacist Buford Furrow gunned down several people at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, and shot and killed a Filipino letter carrier. In the three days following the shooting, over 150 newspapers wrote nearly 200 articles about the slaughter.

On Nov. 11, 1999, in Kansas City, an Ethiopian man shot and killed two co-workers and wounded a third person. All the victims were white. The Ethiopian shooter, who also shot and killed himself, left a letter referring to "bloodsucker" whites. To date, how many newspapers carried a story about this apparent race-based shooting? Eleven.

The killing of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shephard brought screaming headlines and around-the-clock coverage. So did the dragging and killing of black Texan James Byrd.

Jesse Jackson parachutes into Decatur, Ill., turning the expulsion of seven high school kids into a referendum on race. Meanwhile, in Missouri, a carjacker steals a car. He tries to push out a seat belt-strapped child, and drives at high speeds, with the boy bouncing to his death along the highway.

In Michigan, a 6-year-old girl is shot and killed by a 6-year-old boy. In these cases, the media informs us much, much later that the bad guys are black. Were it the other way around, how long before Al Sharpton holds a press conference, with a somber Kweisi Mfume of the NAACP by his side?

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker shoots his mouth off to Sports Illustrated, and everyone from Jesse Jackson to Jesse James piles on. But the same gang seemed strangely AWOL in the case of Wilkinsburg, Penn.

Where's the somber gathering of the "black leadership" demanding that Congress pass enhanced hate crime legislation? Where's the speech by President Clinton asking some blacks to cope with their pronounced and mostly unwarranted anti-white bias?

The double standard simply astonishes. George W. Bush must apologize for speaking at Bob Jones University, given the institution's anti-Catholic statements and policy against interracial dating. And on the question of the Confederate flag, the media filed story after story on the Republicans' response.

Yet the media allows Al Gore's black female campaign manager, Donna Brazile, to derisively refer to the Republicans as the "party of the white boys," while suggesting black Republicans J.C. Watts and Colin Powell are Uncle Toms.

The media sits as both Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton trek to Harlem and kiss the ring of the Reverend Al Sharpton, a David Duke in blackface.

Nevermind that Sharpton falsely accused a prosecutor of rape. Nevermind that Sharpton turned a dispute between a black tenant and a Jewish landlord into a racial riff. Stirred up by Sharpton's rantings, a black man set fire to the building in dispute, and then, shot and killed several minorities before turning the gun on himself. Nice work, Reverend.

Sooner or later, the mainstream media and the white-man-done-me-wrong black leadership must face the facts. Black/white interracial crime is almost entirely committed by blacks against whites. By ignoring this, and holding black criminals to a different standard, the media heightens tension and divisiveness.

The president's traveling Advisory Board on Race urged Americans to be candid with one another on race. Somebody tell the media.


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