Racism Update: New York Times

The lead, center-picture story on the NYT website is the following:

***
In Ohio Death, Traces of Heroin’s Spread
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD 12:28 PM ET
GROVE CITY, Ohio — A recent heroin overdose in Ohio highlights how Mexican drug cartels have pushed heroin sales beyond major cities into America’s suburban and rural byways.
***

Quick pause: does this seem excessively racist to anyone else? The lead might grab your attention (so it’s doing its job), but at the expense of responsible journalism.

This is a classic example of “AHH AHH THE INVADERS ARE COMING!” Not only are they in the big cities and border states, but they’re “PUSHING” into the safe, rural heartland!

Get a grip, people. There’s no doubt that Mexican drug cartels are expanding their reach in the States; but “pushing?” That puts all of the responsibility on the marketer and none on the consumer.

Fact: no matter how much marketers “push,” he/she is simply engaging in the supply/demand cycle, and, of course, because drugs are illegal, there’s much more of customers coming to the seller than vice versa.

Fact: Heroin has been available in all parts of the U.S. for a long time, and Americans have been using it a long time. But now instead of your white neighbor selling it to you, maybe he’s a Mexican.

Fact: Mexican drug cartels are not “pushing” any American to buy their product.

Fact: Americans DEMAND their narcotics, and care very little about who dies for us to get them.

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2 thoughts on “Racism Update: New York Times

  1. As a PhD candidate, I spend a lot of time analyzing claims, texts, arguments, and logic. I did not detect anything remotely racist about the NYTimes report, though I admit I did not scrutinize it closely. The Mexican nationals involved in the heroin distribution network and subsequently caught up in the legal system were presented as people in desperate circumstances, and making bad choices.

    Your critique, such that it is, hinges on whether or not the term “pushing” is appropriate. True, noone in the story was forced to do heroin. It may be that the cartels have no need to “push” as the customers come to them eagerly. If this is the case, you might have a valid critique. But your use of the term “racism” here suggests ideological fixation rather than dispassionate analysis. That term should be reserved for clear instances; else there is no rigor in it’s usage (see Rush Limbaugh’s rather crude comments this week). Read John Locke, Edmund Burke, and Karl Popper to understand how authentic liberals analyze competing truth claims.

    We are well on the way to the term “racism” being almost useless.

    • Fair enough. However, my site is a blog, not a newspaper, and I believe my posts have shown that I view it to be an outlet for my opinion and ideological fixation whenever I want it to be; it’s not a journalistic forum for dispassionate analysis.

      Again, I wasn’t criticizing the article — I was criticizing the lead. I pointed out that the lead on the virtual “cover” preys on xenophobia and nativism instead of reflecting the nuance of the article, itself.

      Similarly, the title “Racism Update: NYT” is also designed to quickly engage the reader if said reader is interested by certain “hotwords,” if you will. So, my main criticism of myself in this instance is not the text of my blog entry (which, of course, is pure editorializing), but that I actually employed the exact same rhetorical trick the NYT did: a flashy, catchy, potentially controversial title designed to capture the reader long enough to get him/her to read the post.

      Thanks for commenting!

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