Language as Ideological, Political Tool, and Agent of Omission

[The New York Times’ coverage of a new report on lynchings in American history in a piece published today failed to mention the race of the people who were responsible for these acts.

The report, released by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, chronicles in painstaking detail, the “racial terror lynchings” of black people by white people that took place the South between 1877 and 1950.

But when it comes to those details, the Times’ coverage leaves out one key word: “white”  — and readers have noticed.

It is no secret that black Americans were the victims and white Americans were the perpetrators and supporters of lynchings, and most people reading this most likely understands this context. After all, it’s not as if these were random crimes. Rather, they played a central role in maintaining white supremacy. The report itself says, “some ‘public spectacle lynchings ‘were attended by the entire white community and conducted as celebratory acts of racial control and domination.”

Yet, as critics have pointed out, the only time “white” was used in the article was to describe the women and girls the black men who were lynched were accused of killing or assaulting.

The mainstream media has become comfortable — especially during Black History Month —  talking about the various ways black people have been oppressed throughout America’s history. But if we don’t become more comfortable being explicit about the racial identity of the people doing the oppressing, we’re failing to tell the whole story.]  Read the full article | VOX

LYNCHING

African American women were lynched too. As little known to people as it is, over 200 Black women and girls were lynched in the USA. Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/MuseunofLynching

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Michael Donald (July 24, 1961 – March 20, 1981) was a young African American man who was murdered by two KKK members in Mobile, Alabama, in 1981. The murder is sometimes referred to as the last recorded lynching in the United States. Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/MuseunofLynching/photos/pb.380294642090237.-2207520000.1423700721./383013331818368/?type=1&theater

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