Green Room

WaPo: If we’re gonna have a conversation …

posted at 1:31 pm on July 16, 2013 by

The Washington Post came under intense fire for a column today by Richard Cohen on the Zimmerman/Martin case.  Cohen argued that Martin’s hoodie, adopted by activists in the case, was a contributing cause to his death, and that the statistics of crime demonstrated why Zimmerman was suspicious of Martin.  The decision to publish the column prompted outrage, and the Huffington Post picked up on some of the social-media reaction:

“Richard Cohen’s not a racist, he just thinks it’s reasonable to assume young black men are all criminals,” tweeted Slate’s Matt Yglesias.

“I totally recognize the hoodie uniform,” tweeted The Washington Post’s own Ezra Klein. “I wore it at UC Santa Cruz. Weirdly, no one thought I was dangerous.”

“Washington Post is scared of young black men,” tweeted Circa editor-in-chief Anthony De Rosa.

And Washington City Paper editor Mike Madden tweeted his own summation of the piece: “Post columnist Richard Cohen: ‘… I am a racist.’”

Post editor sent an e-mail to HuffPo defending the decision to run the column — and noted that any conversation on this issue means that people need to be free to express themselves honestly.  Hiatt ended with a response to the demands for political correctness in media, emphasis mine:

“If I had not published the column, just as many people would be asking why the Post can’t tolerate diverse points of view,” Hiatt said.

“I think if people want a ‘conversation about race,’ as is frequently suggested, they should be open to a range of views and perspectives. We already have published multiple such views — not only Richard Cohen’s, but Gene Robinson on the same page, Ruth Marcus and Jonathan Capehart and our own editorial the day before — and we’ve got more coming,” Hiatt continued. “If people don’t like a particular opinion, my feeling is they should respond to it, not seek to stifle it.

Indeed. And part of that response can certainly entail editorial criticism of the Post and Hiatt, too. I don’t think Cohen’s column was terribly coherent, and it’s mainly irrelevant to the core events in this case. Still, I wish more media executives took that kind of approach to the PC enforcers.  Too often, calls for “national conversations” are just disguised demands for one side to shut up.

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Cohen leaves us with his last paragraph:

There’s no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman profiled Martin…”

Leaving himself a politically correct out. It was actually a pretty good article until that point.

NOMOBO on July 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Oh, and does Bishop count in the Green Room? If so, then:

Bishop!

NOMOBO on July 16, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Unfortunately Black America does not want to have a conversation about race. A conversation requires two sides expressing views.

bsinc1962 on July 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Cohen wasn’t incoherent, he was just afraid to openly say what is on many people’s minds; that black criminality is out of control and being a victim isn’t something anyone should have to submit to in order to placat the feelings of elitists who will literally never interact with the people they’re defending.

abobo on July 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Profiling is wrong.

Just because a guy is smashing your head into the pavement doesn’t mean he bears you ill will.

The Schaef on July 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Last sentence is the money quote Ed
Spot on

Conversation means agreeing with what the left says

cmsinaz on July 16, 2013 at 2:21 PM

The debates I’ve attended do not feature one debator screaming at the other, while the second debator nods his head and remains silent, but maybe things are changing.

NoDonkey on July 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Just because a guy is smashing your head into the pavement doesn’t mean he bears you ill will.

The Schaef on July 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Of course not, in some cultures that’s how you say “good evening sir!”.

NoDonkey on July 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

There’s a column in the WSJ by Jason Riley (who happens to be black) that takes a similar position to Cohen’s. It contains this passage:

Civil-rights leaders today choose to keep the focus on white racism instead of personal responsibility, but their predecessors knew better.

“Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in 1961. “We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves.”

It’s about left and right, not black and white. Blacks have been the Left’s best weapon in advancing their agenda for some time, and screaming ‘racist’ the best way to intimidate the opposition.

RadClown on July 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Sorry, here’s the link.

RadClown on July 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

“I totally recognize the hoodie uniform,” tweeted The Washington Post’s own Ezra Klein. “I wore it at UC Santa Cruz. Weirdly, no one thought I was dangerous.”

Wearing a pink hoodie with Hello Kitty’s plastered all over it does not say “dangerous” to anyone, Ezra.

Dusty on July 16, 2013 at 2:39 PM

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”
― Jesse Jackson

Guess it’s ok to say it. All-ey All-ey in free.

dhimwit on July 16, 2013 at 7:07 PM

“I totally recognize the hoodie uniform,” tweeted The Washington Post’s own Ezra Klein. “I wore it at UC Santa Cruz. Weirdly, no one thought I was dangerous.”

That’s ’cause you’re Ezra Klein, dipswitch. A dweeb who couldn’t rack a worn out model 97 with both hands on the fore-grip and the stock braced on a tree.

S. D. on July 16, 2013 at 10:29 PM

morning joe crew totally trashing cohen this morning
of course…

cmsinaz on July 17, 2013 at 7:21 AM

Too often, calls for “national conversations” are just disguised demands for one side to shut up.

You’ve noticed that too, huh? I take issue with the “Too often,…” – it should be “Inevitably,…”. I saw a conversation about race on Fox last night, and a very passionate one with diverse opinions, too. That’s the kind of conversation the Obamoids don’t want to have!

drunyan8315 on July 17, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Smart response to Cohen’s foolishness. Conservatives, in particular, should oppose Cohen’s rhetoric if they truly believe their own claims around color blindness and individualism: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/the-banality-of-richard-cohen-and-racist-profiling/277871/

libfreeordie on July 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I don’t know how many times we have to go over this. Zimmerman did NOT suspect Martin was a criminal because he was black and wore a hoodie, he suspected he was a criminal because he looked like he was on drugs, AND HE WAS. Did anyone else but me watch the 7/11 security cam footage? Seriously it takes Martin over a full minute and three fishing expeditions in his pockets to find and count out exact change. Mind you, he had two twenties in his pockets as well, but it was like he’d never seen a quarter before. Then he picks up his stuff, starts walking out, stops goes back in, walks over to an imaginary spot on the floor, bends down and picks up nothing, then walks back to the refrigerator to mull over his already made purchase. Finally he walks out, hangs outside while another group of people comes in and buys a couple of blunts, then is seen walking away from the store five minutes later.

BohicaTwentyTwo on July 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Ove been finding it interesting that so many Dems are being ill used by their own. Zimmerman and his parents? Dems. Cohen? Dem. Perhaps if enough of this continues some Dems will start to question their assumptions. The NAALCP wont allow conservative blacks to speak at their convention. If even black folks cant have an honest dialog on race then who could?

neyney on July 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM