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He shows how the news talks about black people by talking about white people instead.

Just a heads-up: This is satire. This. Is. Satire. But that's why it's so freaking good.

He shows how the news talks about black people by talking about white people instead.
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Just in case this segment left you scratching your head, let's break down what it all means. This brilliantly scathing piece was meant to show the hypocrisy in how news media talks criminal behavior in black and white communities. And the takeaway is this:

Our media is incredibly biased when it comes to covering crime involving people of color.

How do we know? Let's look at three themes that play out over and over again.


1. Victim-shaming vs. killer sympathy

2014 was full of protests and demonstrations in response to unarmed black men, women, and children killed by the police without consequence. And while these stories were all over the news, too many focused on blaming the victims for previous unrelated criminal behavior.

All three of these incidents were captured on camera and suggest gross police misconduct, yet the victims in these cases were essentially put on trial.

Meanwhile, the news media is notorious for sympathetically portraying white men and women suspected of crimes (including murder). Take James Eagan Holmes. He was responsible for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting that left 12 people dead and many more injured — and was noted as a "brilliant science student."

Elliot Rodger, who killed six people plus himself and injured 14 others in Santa Barbara, California, in 2014, was described as "soft-spoken, polite, a gentleman."

See the difference?

2. Coverage of unruly crowds

Riots are never a good thing. But here, too, the media uses a certain spin when the crowd is white.

When riots broke out after the 2011 Stanley Cup, you'd be hard-pressed to find any media blaming "white culture" for the actions of a few hundred rowdy sports fans.

"Riot in Vancouver," 2011, by Elopde


Instead, incidents of mob violence involving large groups of white people in Vancouver, New Hampshire, and Huntington Beach (featured in the Chris Hayes clip) are presented as anomalies. It's also worth noting that in these instances, law enforcement makes efforts to de-escalate the situation and avoid excessive force.

This contrasts how news media and police responded when a handful of people began damaging property during 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and April 2015 protests in Baltimore over growing frustrating with police brutality. Not only did police show up to the Ferguson and Baltimore protests in full riot gear with military equipment and tear gas, news media continued to demonize protesters and lay the blame on the black community instead of addressing the root of their growing frustrations.

Violence of any kind is wrong. But there's a serious problem when white students rioting after the annual Pumpkin Festival are described as "rowdy" and "unruly" but black protesters rioting in response to police brutality are portrayed as "violent thugs."

3. Blaming black culture

Perhaps the difference in language and coverage is the perception, a la Bill O'Reilly, that "black culture" feeds and supports criminal behavior more than other cultures.

News flash: "Black culture" doesn't cause crime. Period.

Now let's have a quick history lesson.

It's true, African-Americans do make up a disproportionate amount of the U.S. prison population.

"Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population."
— NAACP, Criminal Justice Fact Sheet


While this is no doubt upsetting, it'd be foolish to assume based on the numbers alone that black and Hispanic people are more predisposed to crime instead of examining the how and why that so many end up in prison.

It's no secret that crime tends to be more prevalent in impoverished communities. It would be nice to think that everyone has equal access to jobs, housing and education, but the reality is many people of color end up in impoverished communities with poorly funded schools as a result of systemic racism.

Throughout history, black people in the United States have been shut out of communities with good schools and jobs — starting in the 1800s with Jim Crow laws that prohibited renting property to black families, all the way up to the 1960s when the Federal Housing Committee instituted a policy that denied home loans to African-Americans and even people who lived near African-Americans (known as "redlining").

Throughout history, black people in the United States have been shut out of communities with good schools and jobs — starting in the 1800s with Jim Crow laws that prohibited renting property to black families, all the way up to the 1960s when the Federal Housing Committee instituted a policy that denied home loans to African-Americans and even people who lived near African-Americans (known as "redlining").

Sadly, the effects of the blatant discrimination African-Americans experienced more than 60 years ago can still be felt today. It's a domino effect. Think about it: If your grandmother was denied a home loan or employment in the '50s because she was black, that influenced where your parents grew up, which then affected where you grew up. Where you live determines where you go to school, and since the community's tax dollars support local schools, it's easy to see why poor neighborhoods end up with poorly funded schools.

Combine all those elements with limited job opportunities in communities of color (a common consequence of poorly funded schools) and it's no wonder many turn to crime as a means of support.

We haven't even begun to address stiffer prison sentences, racial profiling, and police aggression that are all too prevalent in communities of color! So yeah, it's way complicated.

Chris Hayes' spoof on "white culture" shines a spotlight on our media's blatant hypocrisy.

Before I continue singing Hayes' praises (whoa, that rhymed!), it's important to acknowledge that there have been tons of black activists and scholars who've pointed out our media's hypocrisy long before this segment. But I'm always happy when someone uses their platform — and, more importantly, their privilege — to talk about inequality. So cheers to Chris Hayes for this brilliant spoof!

The point is, there's no logical reason for our media to frame white suspects and criminals sympathetically and demonize black victims and suspects. It's not just painfully unfair, it's a gross display of racial bias.

When the "Me Too" movement exploded a few years ago, the ubiquitousness of women's sexual harassment and assault experiences became painfully clear. What hasn't always been as clear is role that less overt, more subtle creepiness plays in making women feel uncomfortable or unsafe as they move through the world, often starting from a young age.

Thankfully—and unfortunately—a viral video from a teen TikToker illustrates exactly what that looks like in real-time when a man came and sat down with her while she was doing a live video. He asked if the chair at her table was taken, and she said no, thinking he wanted to take it to another table. Instead, he sat down and started talking to her. You can see in her face and in her responses that she's weirded out, though she's trying not to appear rude or paranoid.

The teen said in a separate TikTok video that the man appeared to be in his 30s. Definitely too old to be pulling up a chair with someone so young who is sitting by herself, and definitely old enough to recognize that she was uncomfortable with the situation.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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