reappropriate

Thursday, January 06, 2005

When Only the Aryan Matter

Okay, the death toll for the Tsunami has topped 155,000 people. Families of South Asians, Indians, and other racially 'brown people' have been wiped off the face of the planet.

But check out this latest CNN coverage:

Parents search for children swept away

PHUKET, Thailand (CNN) -- Anders Ericsson still remembers the last words his 2-year-old son, Ragnar, spoke before being washed away in the waves of Thailand's tsunami. "Daddy, I'm scared. Please help." Ericsson's voice breaks as he tells of the tragedy. He is among many anguished parents searching for their children after the earthquake-triggered tsunamis swept through coastal communities from Thailand to East Africa on December 26, killing more than 155,000 people.

Ericsson, visiting from Norway, struggled to maintain his grip on his son when the waves slammed into the resort where his family was staying in Khao Lak.

Debris floated everywhere, and "the water was crazy," he said. "You were up, you were down."

more

155,000 South Asians are dead, and we're supposed to get upset over this lost little blonde boy? Hello? What, lost children don't matter unless they're of the Caucasian Persuasion? We've got 98,000 dead Indonesians, the single largest disaster ever to strike that country, and I'm supposed to get worked up over little blonde Anders?

I'm so exhausted by this eurocentric coverage -- this natural disaster devastated region full of non-whites, and yet we keep getting this sob stories of lost white people ... meanwhile, the dead Asians are little more than a statistic at this point, covered only so long as to pad that ever-increasing death toll figure.

(And I'm sure Electroman will have a field day over the implications with his lost white girl theory. Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out his blog or email him.)

To prove my point, here are five of the last seven (updated: apparently the NY Post site isn't kind enough to host their own crappy image covers for me, so I managed to save only three on my own server) cover pictures for the New York Post, admittedly not the poster child of good journalism, but an interesting addendum to my point.

And by the last day, the biggest natural disaster in five decades wasn't nearly as interesting as Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt possibly getting married again. Yes, folks, getting equal coverage with the man who spent 8 days adrift in the ocean is a picture of Jenn and Brad hugging, and a little circle drawn around her hand, which shows that the engagement just might be on again.

God, and people are shocked to hear that the news we get in America might be biased. Frankly, if you don't see them trying to pull your strings, you probably deserve to be danced around like a little Pinnochio puppet.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor little Ragnar... er, wait, he's Norweigian. Fuck 'im. Tell me about some white AMERICANS who died...
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This message brought to you by the "That's How Good It Is To Be White In This Country" Foundation. We appreciate your donations; they will be used to get another Slimy-Son-of-a-Bitch president elected after this one, and to blow up brown people worldwide.
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-Karlos

1/06/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

To be fair, the disaster did not happen anywhere near the US.Because of that the tsunami won't be the main focus in america.When americans die that's big news since we are living in america.I mean would american deaths be that big of a focus in other countries?(9/11 does not count)I'll grant you caucasian get a bit more focus in that area though.But they are the majority so it's to be expected.

1/06/2005 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

"To be fair, the disaster did not happen anywhere near the US.Because of that the tsunami won't be the main focus in america."

It's also thelargest natural disaster in fifty years. It absolutely SHOULD be covered... it SHOULD be a big deal. It's a pattern in the media -- that unless someone white dies, it's really not that important.

"I mean would american deaths be that big of a focus in other countries?(9/11 does not count)"

Yes, especially if it's a large natural disaster in which one out of every four people in our country were killed. You know that the entire world would be watching. And caring.

"I'll grant you caucasian get a bit more focus in that area though.But they are the majority so it's to be expected."

What area? In Indonesia?

(Sorry if I sound upset. That's 'cuz I am.)

1/06/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/06/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

"It's also the largest natural disaster in fifty years. It absolutely SHOULD be covered... it SHOULD be a big deal. It's a pattern in the media -- that unless someone white dies, it's really not that important."

It should be big news, but are you really surprised it's not? Sometimes I get the feeling that people can not completely relate to a situation like this until the see someone similar to themselves in it.We tend to have more sympathy for those who look like us or are the same nationality.It's wrong and the media should focus a lot more to the nonamericans who died, but I'm not surprised this is happening.

"Yes, especially if it's a large natural disaster in which one out of every four people in our country were killed. You know that the entire world would be watching. And caring."

True but america can think of itself before others at times.Just about every other country is guilty of that.

"What area? In Indonesia?"

No the US I mean.Since the majority in the US are caucasian, it's not surprising to me that the focus can be on white americans in a lot of news(well news the doesn't involve too much robbery and killings.Black people pretty much own that market)even outside of america.I understand you are upset.I am still having a hard time rapping my head around the total death and destruction in such a sort time.Not to mention the possiblity of it getting worse.

1/06/2005 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Just as a rebuttal to the 'American lives matter more to us' statement, I find that this seems to be something that transcends nationality.

Look at this latest article in CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/01/07/sweden.bride/index.html

It features a Swedish woman who lost her husband, son and mother in the tsunami. Well, I recently got an email from an American graduate student at Cornell who is from that particular region in Indonesia, whose entire village was wiped out. This man lost two sisters, a brother, and a grandmother, not to mention countless family friends and university colleagues.

It's not Americans that are being highlighted, it's white people.

(But, I do appreciate your posting, jay, I don't want you to think my anger is directed towards you. It's not.)

1/07/2005 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

Ok,I see the point you are trying to make.I would like to read more stories/focus from the perspective of the people who actually live where it struck.So far most of the stories that were posted are from american/western survivors.I have noticed that.Hopefully this will change soon if at all.

I didn't think you were aiming your anger towards me so don't worry about that.Even if you were, it would not last long like it says on the front of your site :)

1/07/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

America is not, nor has it ever been, a White nation. While I understand the nonchalance most people show toward tsunami coverage, I do not share it, because of the tacit acceptance of White supremacist media bias that nonchalance entails. I don't expect the most multicultural, multiracial country in human history to focus only on racially European tourists when discussing the most destructive natural disaster in the modern era.

The idea that American media outlets focus on White non-native casualties and survivors as an element of identifying with the home audience makes about as much sense to me as self-segregation. When we justify viewing our fellow citizens as somehow essentially, irrevocably different from ourselves, we give rise to the very same "otherness" that allows Americans to feel nothing but false, empty empathy for sufferers of overseas calamities, for three seconds, before the new episode of Desperate Housewives comes on.

Shameless plug: Check http://www.jameslambjr.com for my $0.02 on this deal.

1/07/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that you have a point in the main post, but I do think that you're cherry-picking your evidence. One article from CNN and five picture from the New York Post. Now, I'm not from New York and I don't know how reputable the New York Post is. Time magazine had peoples of color on their cover and in a photo essay inside. I believe Newsweek had something similar. The New York Times (I know this New York paper) features several stories about Asian survivors and victims of the tsunami. Hell, even Foxnews has coverage (and not mainly of white people). I won't deny that there is some racism involved with certain news sources. Perhaps a large study of news racial bias in this particular case is called for. It won't be done by me though. [I'm having a hard time typing today, so if I want links I'll glady repost later with them) Have good day all.

1/08/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

"I think that you have a point in the main post, but I do think that you're cherry-picking your evidence. One article from CNN and five picture from the New York Post. Now, I'm not from New York and I don't know how reputable the New York Post is. Time magazine had peoples of color on their cover and in a photo essay inside. I believe Newsweek had something similar. The New York Times (I know this New York paper) features several stories about Asian survivors and victims of the tsunami. Hell, even Foxnews has coverage (and not mainly of white people)."

I have to disagree with the idea that I am 'cherry-picking' my evidence. While I never claimed that the sources I'm citing are a thorough sampling of news media outlets covering the tsunami, I hardly went out of my way to find white ethnocentrically-biased coverage. CNN was chosen because the article about Ragnar was really the straw that broke the camel's back, while the NY Post was chosen mostly because its format includes large pictures on the cover, which are easy to track down and reproduce, as well as are a striking example of what I am attempting to point out (y'know a picture speaks louder than words).

However, if you keep this post in mind, and keep your eyes open towards other media coverage, you will notice an unusual bias towards reporting about racially white victims or rescuers over spotlighting racial minorities.

Also, I did not say that there was absolutely no coverage of 'brown people' in the media in regards to this event. In fact, since the time of this post I've noticed both a decrease in number of articles highlighting the earthquake (it's old news now) and a greater focus on the South Asian victims. Nonetheless, I think it was a telling perspective on pop culture race theory that not only were we as a viewing public spoonfed images of white victims during the initial weeks of this disaster, but most either attempted to defend the idea that Americans should find the faces of white sufferers more compelling than Asian faces, or did not even notice the biased news coverage, at all.


"I won't deny that there is some racism involved with certain news sources. Perhaps a large study of news racial bias in this particular case is called for. It won't be done by me though. [I'm having a hard time typing today, so if I want links I'll glady repost later with them) Have good day all."

I would be interested in that study. :) Keep in mind that there have been only roughly 36 confirmed American casualities so far documented.

1/10/2005 10:26:00 AM  
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