shame on you NPR!!

7 Nov

So as I was commuting in yesterday morning, I was doing what I usually, do, driving and listening gto NPR. During the news update I was upset with what I heard. They were giving an update about the Ft Hood shooter and all they could say was “He is a devout Muslim, whose parents were immigrants from Palestine” and” People close to him noticed that he started wearing traditional Arab clothing days before the shooting”.

Okay- I totally expect some other news outlets (who will go unmentioned) to do something like that. But NPR?! Here’s why it made me mad:  The matter at hand is that an INDIVIDUAL committed the acts. Does it have anything to do with the fact that he was a Muslim and an immigrant? Maybe- but we don’t know that.  This country is obsessed with faulting the “outsider” finding something that is not white, or Christian to fault when something like this happens.

Even when the Virginia Tech shootings happened, the shooter was names as a “Korean student”. The kid moved here when he was 6. What he became, and what lead to the unfortunate acts he committed was a product of the United States of America, not because he was Korean, an immigrant.

We see these high profile news stories keep using the word “immigrant” as well as other words to describe the perpetrator that can lead people to make conclusions that whatever they did was because they were not American.  What upsets me most is that when white people do such things, rarely do their religious back ground or their ethnic heritage get mentioned.  For example, Steven Kazmierczak, the shooter at Northern Illinois University. When that incident happened, no one was talking about his ethnic heritage or religious background; even if he didn’t believe in anything- they could’ve said, Steve, who is devout atheists… I even googled his name and ethnic background and I checked the first 5 pages of Google search and nothing comes up.

As someone who is working to advocate on behalf of immigrants, and being an immigrant myself, I find these news clips to be damaging and hurtful to our communities.  The news is constantly feeding people this idea that when something so terrible and unthinkable happens, its because they were outsiders, they came from somewhere else. This just feeds into hostile anti-immigrant sentiments when MOST of us are here working hard and living as responsible residents. It is because of news clips like the one on I heard on NPR that makes people say “Immigrants are criminals” and “Immigrant make our country unsafe”.

And shame on you NPR because I though I pay to get unbiased, honest, ethically, independent reporting but you did just want the mainstream media did about this story.

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One Response to “shame on you NPR!!”

  1. Laetitia Wells November 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    It saddens me that we are almost approaching the year 2010 and we are STILL having these discussions. And, what is most distressing is that these news outlets, including NPR (apparently) do not realize how they report the news in such a stigmatizing way….or perhaps these news outlets do realize how they are framing their story and that is what the aim is.

    I, too, questioned why is it necessary for them to imply that he is a devout Muslim who started wearing traditional grab. It leads people to think and mostly assume that when you are devout and your wear traditional clothing you are about to do harm to other individuals.

    Also, I agree with how all of the new affiliates reported on the Va Tech tragedy. They put more emphasis on the shooters ethnicity than anything. I agree, since he had been in the States since he was 6 years old, his actions were clearly a by product of his environment here in the United States. I am so disturbed that the news in the United States attempt to be so subjective and bias!

    Well, I usually try to listen to NPR, but today I may take a break from the news because who is the news for anyway? Are these stories geared to affirm people who exist on the margins nor privy to privilege in the world or are these stories geared to affirm the dominate culture is in the world? Perhaps, that is why the news is reported in this manner because it is one more tactic employed by the “privileged ones” to emphasize the superiority of their particular cultural group! Let’s face it, whenever a white person commits a crime their ethnicity is never stressed. If a white man robs a bank…the newscaster will say, a man robbed a bank dressed in …but, if an African American person robs a bank the newscaster will say, a black man robbed a ….? I guess no description is needed when a person is white. Wow, as a nation we have got a long road ahead to maturity!

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