News & Politics

Washington Post Article Buries Race of Hate Attack Culprit in Fifth Paragraph

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

We’ve been told over and over again that all white people are racist. We’ve also been told over and over that people who aren’t white can’t possibly be racist. Of course, both these claims are absolute bovine excrement. However, they have created a fear of appearing to be racist, which makes people do stupid things.

Washington Post article reports that a 91-year-old Mexican man was brutally attacked in the U.S. by someone with a brick, and that the woman who allegedly conducted the attack yelled: “Go back to your country.”

A hate crime, right? Well, no — it seems the attacker was a black woman.

The man, permanent American resident Rodolfo Rodriguez, apparently bumped the woman’s daughter on the sidewalk and was beaten for his transgressions. The attacker’s race wasn’t mentioned until the article’s fifth paragraph.

We’ve seen other hate crimes reported by the media that later turned out to be hoaxes, yet the early news reports had prominently mentioned the race and gender of the attackers — all white men.

In this case, why place the attacker’s race so low?

A fear of appearing racist by spotlighting a crime committed by a black woman.

You see, newspaper articles are generally written in the Inverted Pyramid format. The most important information is at the top, and details are added to the story in order of importance. The idea is that people will only read a bit of each article and then move on to the next one, so you give them as much key information as possible first.

Providing the race of the attacker in an article describing a hate incident in the fifth paragraph, rather than the first or the headline, allows the readers to imply that the attacker was white.

What I do know, however, is that had this been a white man who beat this poor gentleman so savagely, it would read very differently.