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.

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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.

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Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


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Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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