Jayson Blair: blaming Blacks

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 13 12:36:02 MDT 2003

Counterpunch, May 13, 2003

Fraud at the New York Times
Blaming Blacks for White Folks' Mistakes

The New York Times should be ashamed of itself for abrogating "the trust
between the newspaper and its readers," as chairman Arthur Ochs
Sulzberger Jr. put it. But the Jayson Blair affair is the least of the
newspaper's transgressions against truth. Racism, not affirmative
action, is what ails the Times.

By rights, the Times' embarrassment should be of no collective concern
to Black people. Whites control every important aspect of the
publication's decision making. White management devised their own
version of what they chose to call affirmative action, hiring those
Blacks that appealed to their corporate tastes. Black people in general
bear no responsibility for white people's hiring decisions. Yet, in the
wake of 27-year-old Blair's alleged plagiarisms and fictions, media
racists immediately sought to somehow blame the very concept of
affirmative action for what is, at root, just another instance of white
management incompetence. "Affirmative action" didn't hire Blair, and
Blair didn't hire and assign himself--white management did.

There is a deeper current underlying this story, one that allows the
Times to escape its own responsibilities by hiding behind supposed good
intentions. The paper poses as a social do-gooder, when in reality it is
an unreconstructed bigot. The Times needs an affirmative action program
because it does a terrible job of hiring competent Black reporters, many
hundreds of whom are willing and able to perform the corporate mission.
The same racism that has historically prevented the Times from
sufficiently staffing itself with minorities also causes it to hire the
wrong candidates. White people have been screwing up affirmative action
since before the term was coined, sometimes on purpose, more often
through an inability to objectively assess non-whites--one of the
definitions of racism.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/


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