11 November 2008

Poor journalism

I read this throwaway Post article menacingly titled "Racism Rears Its Head in Europe," and thought to myself, no shit. Europe is no different in that respect from the US, or Japan, or any other nation/culture (and while it's true Europe is a continent, the EU has it trying to act a bit more like an "Articles of Confederation" era United States). While we in the US have the shame of having enforced racial segregation well into the 20th Century, we also have the advantage of being a nation of immigrants, not all of whom were white (and in the case of Blacks, not all of whom were voluntarily settled here), and while we're still a predominantly "white" nation, we have large minority communities and in the long run that will trump the residual white supremacists and everyday xenophobes who cling to their increasingly isolated beliefs.

Notably, the Post article couldn't find any high-ranking European officials to say anything completely outrageous. The closest they could get was Silvio Berlusconi making some crack about Obama having "a tan." Awkward, yes. But hardly a smoking gun during a week that saw Obama making a crack about himself as a "mutt." The most outrageous comments came from the Austrian equivalent of Bill O'Reilly -- a television personality -- and obscure legislative figures from various parliaments...gee, much like you can find if you interview some of the wackier wingnuts in the US House of Representatives.

Europe certainly has its share of racial problems -- the German right-wing regularly engages in harrassment and sometimes deadly violence against the large Turkish immigrant population -- but an article that thinks it's found something meaningful in cherry-picking statements from a few racists on the US election -- rather than an analysis of actual race relations IN EUROPE -- is barking up the wrong tree.


JES said...

In a similar vein, there was a pre-election NPR story about US fringe groups hoping Obama would be elected so it would ignite the "race war" they've been agitating for/predicting, lo these many years.

On one level I thought, okay, this is interesting. And I even mentioned it to a couple of people the next day.

But on another level I thought, y'know, that -- moonbat-ism per usual -- is not the real story is it? Of much greater long-term import is the casual, often unconscious racism of reg'lar folks. Which, true, is almost impossible to report on, but damn is so much more insidious.

cuff said...

Jes: Agreed. I'm sure there are a few crazies getting their guns and ammo and cans of beans and sterno together to await the race war, but as you say, those extremists are not nearly as important as the everyday attitudes and subtle preconceptions so prevalent in society.