When the actors in a racism scandal defy the narrative, the press still blames its preferred demon.
This nation is in a disturbing cycle of knee-jerk accusations and preset narratives of the mind becoming entrenched, instead of considering the facts. We have become accustomed to rote labeling of others as being “Nazis,” “racists,” “homophobes,” and numerous other convenient labels. One current favorite being tossed around with the barest of introspection, thanks in large part to President Biden, is “fascist.”
"Clapping is fascist" https://t.co/acGEE4eYnq
— Brad Slager: Armageddon A Bit Sick Of All This! (@MartiniShark) September 4, 2022
The entrenchment of this mentality has recently surfaced in the case of the Los Angeles Council President who ultimately stepped down from her position, after some disturbingly hateful comments were caught on tape and exposed publicly. Nury Martinez could be heard on tape uttering debasing words about a black child, as well as some homophobic references and dismissive comments made towards a sector of Mexican society.
The statements were contemptible, and many – all the way up to the White House – rightfully declared she needed to be held accountable for her words. Martinez has stepped down, but in the wake of this upheaval, we see how the disturbing trend evolves in the press over such an incident. While racism is a real problem and one that needs to be dealt with, it also needs to be dealt with in a serious fashion. All too often, seriousness is not applied, and we are seeing that is in play with this Nury Martinez case.
The first issue is that any time an individual is found behaving this way, we do not focus on the individual and repairing their damage. Instead, the issue of a person displaying gutter, racist tendencies has to be extrapolated into a broader issue; the case of a stunted individual always has to be held up as an example. Note, for example, when a prominent individual is found guilty of a social crime, the ensuing reports always insinuate there is a greater problem in the industry that person works within.
This presents a issue for the press because they are loathed to state that California politics are rife with anti-black racism. The result is to fall back on the tried method of outrage, and this leads to both hilarious and revealing results. Nury Martinez, it needs to be pointed out, is clearly Hispanic, of Mexican origin. Her words were aimed at blacks, as well as a segment of Mexican society.
This is – amazingly – being chalked up to white supremacy, a result many in the press are falling back on, while grappling with explaining this incident. It appears journalists are incapable of wrapping their heads around the concept of a member of one minority being hostile toward another minority group. In their minds, it is an inconceivable concept; so somehow, the line needs to be traced back to their expected source of racial intolerance.
At The Atlantic, they pinned the Mexican-American’s hate where it belongs, in their estimation:
Nury Martinez shows that Latinos’ racism can still reaffirm white supremacy. Anti-Blackness, and specifically anti-black racism, has followed most U.S. Latinos from their home countries, where the violent “mixed” origins of our very existence – the result of a white Spanish colonizer enslaving and raping indigenous and African peoples – have long elevated white skin.
The racist remarks extended beyond Blacks to the embedded prejudice against Indigenous Latinos that is pervasive in Latin America and in the U.S., a remnant of colonialism and a version of white supremacy.
And not to be left out, the New York Times tossed this subject over to their resident race specialist, Charles M. Blow.
It is a theory that worries me and that I have written about: that with the browning of America, white supremacy could simply be replaced by — or buffeted by — a form of “lite” supremacy, in which fairer-skin people perpetuate a modified anti-Blackness rather than eliminating it. White supremacy benefits those who are white, or those are white-adjacent in both appearance, culture and affect.
Just amazing. Someone who can benefit from identity politics for being in a minority is caught exhibiting some of the crudest forms of racism, and she is able to offload her hate as being the result of whites. There was near no involvement with whites in this episode. The most prominent white figure was on the receiving end of her hate; the 2-year-old, black youth disparaged by Martinez is the son of a gay, white council member.
Yet the press has to impart the responsibility of her intolerance onto the white race. This default accusation was also seen in the reverse during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. In that case, all of those involved in the shooting were white, as were the legal teams and the judge. Throughout the trial, the press declared white supremacy was a central influence in the monochromatic storyline.
This is the irrational behavior of the people who decry racism the loudest. In stating how unacceptable prejudicial thinking is, they do not grasp they are resorting to prejudice, insisting on labeling groups and assigning guilt to a wide swath of innocuous individuals. The very same people telling us racism is a serious problem are not willing to treat the problem seriously–when faced with deviations from their narrative.