I think before we focus on anything else in this class (Race and Gender in the Media), we should answer some questions:
As journalists, do we emphasize diversity to be inclusive, or are we concerned that we will have the appearance of being exclusive (whether in reality we are or not), therefore losing credibility–the currency of journalism?
Do we write about other cultures/races/peoples because we sincerely feel they have something to contribute, or is there the need to be inclusive to ward off allegations of racism/sexism/religious intolerance to keep our reputations intact?
That is what the Henry Louis Gates episode demonstrated to me; there is a climate in racial relations that emphasizes the fear of being branded a “racist,” thereby damaging reputations and business.
I see this as the inverse relationship between Black Power and White Guilt. It still focuses on something given to one by the other, and not by any value of the individual. The problem is that this relationship dispenses with true equality for retroactive acts of contrition. True value from achievement and contribution to the public discourse is sacrificed by worship at the altar of “fairness.” But is it truly fair? With a level playing field, shouldn’t excellence prevail?
I act a certain way so I am not seen as racially biased.
Is that right? The right thing to do?