Folks often wonder how racial stereotypes and misperceptions became so imbedded in the U.S. psyche. The answer of course is propaganda. This propaganda serves to keep folks divided and makes it easier for those who exploit us to continue to do so without concern about us regular folks coming together to demand our fair share. And the power structure through its press and other functions takes advantage of every opportunity to divide us and reinforce racist stereotypes.
The aftermath of the tornado that struck the North Side of Minneapolis offered several examples of this. Whenever disaster strikes, you can almost always look for a story. Almost like clockwork, a story appeared in the Star Tribune a few days after the tornado: “Increased looting reported in North Minneapolis neighborhoods damaged by the storm.” The story caught my eye because it saidincreased looting, instead of just looting. Of course the implication was that there was looting before the storm. Since looting technically is stealing what does not blong to you, there probably was some looting going on.
But it was an odd story considering the Herculean effort by neighbors and others to come to the aid of those victimized by the storm. The logical assumption about why that story appeared is that it served a larger purpose. What else can be assumed, since it was such a small part of what occurred after the tornado struck?
The truth is there was looting that occurred. But it wasn’t on any large scale and it can’t be compared to the looting that we give assent to on a daily basis. The U.S. has for all practical purposes looted whole countries — think Iraq or Afghanistan.
At the risk of sounding a little self-serving, these kind of obvious attempts to smear an entire people and misreport actual events are why local newspapers like theSpokesman-Recorder are needed. It provides an opportunity for real balance and a chance to get the real story.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.