The Optics of Racial Disparity in Reporting

Ian David Long -Borderline Bar college country night shooting of 12 including himself. Source: google images

The HuffPost is one of the few traditional MSM that tries to present unbiased news. This HuffPost article is about the terrorist gunman, Ian David Long, who murdered 12 people at a nightclub on college country night.

It’s the type of coverage black victims let alone suspects rarely receive. Strangely, there is no clear image of the terrorist shooter nowhere in the article.

The article begins with a video image that shows a man with two others sitting on a bench.  They look foreign, it’s unclear if this is an image of Marine Ian David Long.  In the middle section, there is also an image of a Latino-appearing woman who was the shooter’s coach. A casual reader could mistake the woman as related to the shooter.  It’s unclear if the intent of the image was to show why the school dismissed the concerns of the track coach (because she was maybe Latino) or to confuse the identity of the terrorist gunman.

How could the article be about the gunman, Ian David Long who killed 12 young adults at a college country night and not have one single picture that clearly identified him? I will repeat: Had the killer been non-white mug shots would be littered throughout the article and a video with headlines of thug or terrorist. This HuffPost article is an example of the optics of racial disparity in media coverage.

This optics of this article gives the impression the terrorist is foreign or Hispanic and not a young white man who is a marine. Why? Is this intentional or implicit bias? My take: When the terrorist is a white man, seemingly every attempt is made not only to conceal the race with a generic description–a shooter or a man killed–but also to displace blame onto another race with misleading or darkened images.

Borderline Bar and Grill Thousand Oak shooting was a terrorist act, wasn’t it? Wouldn’t it have been an act of terrorism if the gunman was Muslim? An invasion by the migrant caravan if the shooter was Latino? Or a problem of rising crime if the shooter was Black? But it’s the gun’s fault or mental illness if the gunman is white.

Guns are not the problem! Guns don’t kill people by themselves. There is no gun control policy that would have prevented the Borderline Bar shootings. This man was a Veteran and had every right to own a gun.

Mental illness is a problem partly because of our inability to develop preventive systems. This man like so many others fell through a gap in care.

Narratives that mischaracterize domestic terrorism by white men as a mental illness by a lone wolf are significant obstacles to solving and understanding the problem of domestic terrorism that is reaching epic portions. But then again we would never know as it’s not publicly tracked.  Last month, Trump defunded counter-terrorism groups that gather intelligence on domestic terrorism.

Consistency in labeling crimes and charging suspects are necessary. There should not be racial disparity baked into the process of charges. Charges should not be based on a suspect’s race but based on crimes committed and consistent across all racial groups.

Finally, if people expressed concerns about the violent tendencies of a black man what would have happened?

Long, a 28-year-old former Marine machine-gunner who served in Afghanistan, opened fire during college night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night. He killed 11 people and a police officer who responded, and then fatally shot himself, police said.

Authorities have not determined a motive.

Colell kicked Long off the track team immediately after he assaulted her, but she and Cluke said the boy’s track coach urged her to reconsider because that could compromise Long’s goal of joining the Marines. The head track coach, Cluke said, reversed Colell’s decision to throw Long off the team and told her she didn’t have that authority, while the now-retired principal brushed it aside as a one-time incident.”

Long rejoined the team after apologizing in front of several coaches and administrators.

Cluke said she, Colell, and her father, also a track coach at the school at the time, repeatedly reported Long’s behavioral problems, to no avail.

Read the full story at Thousand Oaks Shooter Was A ‘Ticking Time Bomb,’ High School Coach Says

Ian David Long -Borderline Bar college country night shooting of 12 including himself. Source: google images
Ian David Long -Borderline Bar college country night shooter. Killed 12 including himself.
Source: google images

Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

10 thoughts on “The Optics of Racial Disparity in Reporting

  1. I love all the questions you pose. I honestly feel that HIPPA laws need to be violated when it comes to whites with PTSD. At every physical any white person that has it needs to have their record sent to the Police as a “just in case” or “be on the look out” file.

  2. You raise a lot of good questions and thoughts about this article. I never thought about some of those things like the picture placements, but I’ve been getting wise to some of this. Obviously there aren’t many photos of this Ian Long individual around, but it does prove your point that had this have been a killer of any other ethnicity, their mug shots would’ve been plastered left, right, and center. The wording also matters since Whites are just called “shooters” while Black people are “thugs/gangsters”, Arabs are “terrorists”, and Latinos are “illegal immigrants” whenever they happen to be the suspects. It’s a shame that HuffPost circled the wagons much like their bigger counterparts in the mainstream media bubble even though they’ve tried to be different. I guess it’s only a distiction without any kind of difference.

    I do admit that I used to read HuffPost semi-frequently just a few years ago even though I knew they were still mainstream. Sure, they’ve made decent articles here and there that I’ve liked in regards to calling out celebrities using White Privilege, criticized establishment politicians, and they even talked about The Lion King plagiarizing the 60s Japanese animated series Kimba the White Lion, but I then noticed which angles about race relations they (weren’t) talking about and playing safe when it came to WOW crime, and I eventually stopped. That was certainly a learning experience that I shouldn’t be so lenient on some sources.

  3. Did the image you reuploaded get taken down again? I have noticed that the internet has been scrubbed of ALL his social media posts and the only pictures available of him are the same three or four pictures. They all present him as your stereotypical white marine while all the pictures I saw before they disappeared showed his average dog living white guy. Also posts I made on reddit pointing this out just disappeared. And lastly all media coverage on him ended between Nov 8th-9th, less than a week after it happened. The California fire of CELEBRITY homes took everybodies attention right off it. How convenient!

    1. Hi Nadia, Very convenient and very interesting that you made a similar observation. So far the re-uploaded images are still up. On that point, I recently learned Google shares its office space with the CIA, isn’t that interesting? Google works with the CIA. Explains why certain past events are scrubbed or sanitized while others deliberately proliferated for mass dissemination.

  4. You are so right! The racial disparity in the media is sickening and no matter how much it’s discussed it seems the media has no intention of rectifying this wrong. I completely agree that consistency is needed across the board based on the action. Terrorism should be labeled as such no matter the race, gender, religion, etc. Sadly I don’t see things changing anytime soon. Only until God’s Kingdom rids this world of those who continue to promote the superiority of certain races over others will any real change happen (Psalms 37:10,11; Acts 10:34)

    1. Hi Heatherjo86, Thanks for your comment.

      Hopefully, more black people will write their stories creating history records to pass along. It will be a multigenerational project. The pen can be mightier than a gun.

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