SAN FRANCISCO (April 16, 2007) -- Like the rest of the nation, we at the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) are stunned at the news of today's shooting at Virginia Tech. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends as they cope with this horrific incident.It's rather ironic to hear an organization that works to mold the public portrayal of and advance the careers of a specific racial group complain that "mentioning race can be powerfully harmful." I suppose it can be, but those who complain that race should not be considered publicly relevant will be taken a lot more seriously once they stop treating it as a primary organizing principle*.
As coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people.
The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage.
But I suppose what they really mean is that when members of the group do good things, gratuitously mentioning their heritage does not "unfairly** portray an entire people." But when Asians do bad things they are to be identified as English Majors. Because we all know that English majors are psychos anyway, right?
(hat tip: BOTW)
* "AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color, along with the Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists."
** In the minds of the racially-organized, 'unfair' does not mean something is inaccurate or unjust; it means negative and politically inconvenient even if completely correct.