Austin American-Statesman: We Refuse to “Perpetuate Stereotypes” by Releasing a Description of This Shooter … Because We Only Stereotype White People
Yesterday, there was a mass shooting in Austin, Texas, on Sixth Street, probably the city’s most well-known entertainment district. Up to 14 people were injured. In the hours after the shooting, the local paper, the Austin American-Statesman, declined to pass along a description of the suspect, citing the need to avoid “perpetuating stereotypes”:
Police have only released a vague description of the suspected shooter as of Saturday morning. The Austin American-Statesman is not including the description as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes and potentially put innocent individuals at risk. If more detailed information is released, we will update our reporting.
Since the current (incorrect) stereotype of mass shooters is that they are white males, I’m sure that’s the stereotype they were trying to avoid perpetuating, right? Lol j/k! As Andy Ngo notes, the police description of the suspect included the detail that the suspected shooter was black:
Liberal newspaper Austin @statesman says it refuses to print the description of the mass shooting suspect for ideological reasons. The at-large suspect is described by police as a slim black male with dreadlocks who wore a black shirt. pic.twitter.com/7Ec3GSdQCP
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 12, 2021
Anybody reading the “we don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes” language already knew what race the lefty editors were trying to protect. They might as well have added the other useful details that were available, like the suspect’s build, hair, and clothing.
But wait! Patterico, why do you assume that the Austin American-Statesman would take this position only with respect to a black suspect? Can you prove that they would have published a description of the shooter if he had been white? Huh? Well, can you?
Well, as it happens, I can go one better. Back in 2018, the very same Austin American-Statesman was writing about a bomber on the loose, whose package bombs had killed two people and injured a third. They didn’t have any sort of description of the suspect at all, much less one that included details like race, build, hair color, and clothing. But that didn’t stop them from speculating that it was probably one of those damned white males:
If the package bombs that have killed two Austin residents and seriously injured a third in recent weeks turn out to be the work of a single person, he or she will join a tiny but grim fraternity — serial killers whose weapon of choice was an explosive device.
The group is so small that police and psychologists’ efforts to draw meaningful conclusions about its members has met with uneven success. . . .
. . . .
Still, researchers have identified some broad characteristics that police turn to in trying to identify deadly bombers. All have been white men. While they have varied educational attainment, they were of above-average intelligence and mechanically inclined.
Almost always, they were furious.
To sum up, here is how the Austin-American-Statesman comes down on stereotyping by race:
Scenario A: a suspect description is available, and contains information about race, build, hair style, and clothing: namely, a “slim black male with dreadlocks who wore a black shirt.” Can’t publish that! That would perpetuate stereotypes!
Scenario B: we have no suspect description whatsoever. Anything we said would be pure speculation. But, you know who usually does this kind of crime, don’t you? Why, we all know the stereotype, and we will cheerfully tell you what that stereotype is: angry white males!
In short: we will gleefully stereotype by race, as long as the race we are stereotyping is whites.
If this kind of hypocrisy surprises you, please raise your hand.
I see no hands.