Tuesday, September 01, 2020

The Implied 'We,' The Implied 'You'

It's always hilarious in the life-styles-of-the-not-quite-rich-enough features which fill the NYT, but it's only a bit more subtle in their coverage of almost everything.
For too long, readers in the mainstream media have been presumed to be white. I notice it regularly as I survey the news. White is the norm. And the writer helpfully lets us know when someone or something strays from that norm. The writer points out that the mayor is Black. But the city councilman’s race is left unstated two paragraphs later. A neighborhood is described as predominantly Hispanic but another area has no racial identifier at all. Someone is described as being classically beautiful or having all-American looks. Hmm.

With all the attention being paid to structural racism and anti-racism these days, let me say that what I’m describing I don’t consider to be racism at all. Rather, it’s a blind spot that lingers from the days when newsrooms were all white and readerships were presumed to be the same. As newsrooms become more multicultural, I look forward to the day when the subtle hints fade that a particular piece is meant for white readers, caught by the writer, excised by the editor.
(this is by a NYT editor, though not THE NYT editor, so, uh, good!)