April 7, 2007

The Homicide Report

I flipped to this page in the LA Times this morning, and for a moment couldn't figure out what I was reading. It's the Homicide Report - they have so many, they can apparently make it a daily feature.

Read it, though. They classify the victims by race. Just like that. I blinked. What is this, Mississippi in the middle of the last century? They have a FAQ section that addresses why they do this. They say it's to give some context to the numbers - there is a hugely disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos killed in relation to the population.

I'm not buying it. Delicate explanations that pretend this is to make people care more don't cut it - if an under-represented white population sees mainly Latino and black homicides, they are more, not less, likely to look the other way and decide it doesn't affect them. A city with a crime rate out of control is not going to solve it by branding the victims 'them'.

How on earth are you supposed to make people care more by fueling the fires of racism and stigma? I'm all for bold statements and innovative risks to move out of the rhetoric. But to me this is not progressive - it's a step back to times that have left a stain that will never be erased.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is terrible. So sad.

April 09, 2007 9:32 AM  

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