Reader says racist script underlies media coverage of chief’s resignation

I am writing in response both to Rev. Keith Ogden‘s letter [“Ogden: Two Officers Drive False Narrative about Chief of Police,” Dec. 10, Xpress] and to Brenda Webber‘s  response to that letter [“Reader Responds to Letter about Police Chief’s Retirement,” Dec. 23, Xpress].  I have some additional thoughts that I hope might prove useful.

I agree with Rev. Keith Ogden’s observations on the racist script underlying mainstream corporate media’s coverage of our former police chief, William Anderson, and the events leading up to his resignation.  It seems that every day since President Barack Obama took office, there have been more and more stories depicting black male actors, sports stars, politicians and other public figures as being irresponsible, sex-crazed (as having a particular penchant for white women) and ineffective in positions of leadership.

This is, of course, the same view that has historically been used by racist whites to justify slavery, lynching,  segregation and other violent and/or discriminatory practices that are central to our nation’s history.

Why would such characterizations be politically expedient for corporate America to resurrect and to such a degree? A president cannot single-handedly address global warming, the need for universal health care and other issues without incurring the wrath of those interests that stand united in their determination to proceed full steam ahead in spite of them.

In the same way that Asheville, with its many activists, artists and others of a liberal mind, seems regularly to get a bad name in the press, so too have African-Americans been consistently maligned in the press.

It is as though the idea is to plant the message, subtly or not, that the president’s highly criticized administration and decisions are as hotly contested as they are because of the fact of his race — and not because his policies and platform threaten the revenues of big business.

Such a message divides Americans and tends to unite  a sort of corporate power base, if you will, one perhaps most amenable to a picture of the world that best suits their prejudices and/or justifies their privileges.

Many people, having followed the discourse in mainstream media or influenced by those who have (and is this not all of us?), have heard the idea that the conversation about race and racism is old hat.  That to speak of it is simply to “play the race card,” as Ms. Webber puts it.  But to have a true “conversation” about anything requires a healthy media, and mainstream corporate media, bolstered and consolidated as never before, is no such vehicle for discourse.  And to render the issue of race as obsolete is to forget our country’s history.

Our rights are connected as never before. And those prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have never been more prescient:  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

S. Johnson



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3 thoughts on “Reader says racist script underlies media coverage of chief’s resignation

  1. Jason

    This letter is all over the place. First of all, I assume the “racist script” that Mr. Johnson is referring to is the news coverage of the various instances of misconduct by Chief Anderson. He’s a public official and he screwed up. Many times. The media reported on it. How that could be construed as targeting Anderson because of his race is beyond me. I think Anderson should be glad he got out while he could and was never indicted for his misconduct. The letter then stretches to amazing lengths to connect the dots between perceived media bias against President Obama back to the local level and Chief Anderson’s issues. Then we get into discussions about the President dealing with global warming and universal healthcare – what do those things have to do with the Chief Anderson drama? Maybe I missed the intention of this letter, and if so, I apologize. But none of the points made seem to connect and the overarching takeaway that the local media, driven by its desire to smear Chief Anderson predominantly because he was a black man in a leadership position, is just absurd and fails to take into account any of Chief Anderson’s own actions that ultimately led to his resignation. I do agree with Mr. Johnson that the media should be more responsible and try to promote racial unity, not fan the flames of division. But, to place the saga of Chief Anderson in that same framework of discussion just isn’t accurate and by its very nature dismisses all personal accountability Chief Anderson should have exhibited during his time as police chief.

  2. Jim

    Scum comes in all flavors and colors. Too bad modern day leftest tools are not only oblivious to it, but ignorant to their culpability to creating what they assume others are guilty of.

  3. Big Al

    The initial response to Asheville, a lily-white town if ever there was one, hiring a black police chief may have been racially-tinged, I will grant this.


    How is it racist to question his interference in a investigation of his son’s car wreck and the lies that his son told to try to evade prosecution?

    How is it racist to question Anderson’s attempt to coerce the investigating officer to lie to the SBI?

    How is it racist to ask why that same investigating officer was punished for attempting to fulfill his obligation to the US Army Reserve, whose complaint was upheld by Labor officials, and whose reprimand was redacted while said redaction was denied and the reprimand was claimed never to have been issued. (Lies AND cover-ups).

    How is it racist to observe that there is such dissatisfaction among the rank-and-file that there has been a flood of resignations and a petition of NO CONFIDENCE in Andersen by 44 officers (about 25% of the force), INCLUDING BLACK OFFICERS.

    “They only went after him because he was black” should be flipped around to “He doesn’t get a free pass to misbehave just because he is black”.

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