The above is a NZ Herald heading over an American news-item.

It recounts the arrest of a black bloke for breaking the law prohibiting food and drink consumption on the transit system. That’s an excellent law about good manners which in a perfect world, shouldn’t be necessary. Alas it is.

Here’s the point. Regardless of the law’s merits. Why the reference to the offender being black?

If he was short, fat, Chinese, besuited or whatever, would any of those descriptive adjectives have been used? Of course not. However, being black allows the opportunity to create a news-item, namely introduce the currently fashionable quiet news day fall-back of racism.

The man was not arrested for being black as a Martian reading this item might reasonably think, thus the reference to his ethnicity was totally gratuitous. But of course, then there’d have been no story.


“The individual refused to provide identification, cursed at and made homophobic slurs at the officer who remained calm through out the entire engagement.” Yeah, sorry, but the best way to deal with police is to show some respect and comply with reasonable requests. He should have been taken down to the cells and given the old “wood shampoo” treatment to teach him some manners.


Race-baiting is contemptuous, especially when it is often so blatant like this example. It’s almost equally as comical and frustrating when the reverse is done with terms such as ‘urban youths’.


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