SPACExRACE

An exploration of the physical frontiers that define race in America


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Huffington Post’s sensationalized headlines undermine writers’ attempts at objectivity

The Huffington Post

The front page of The Huffington Post (Photo Credit: Drew Geraets via Creative Commons License)

For this post, I will be straying away slightly from my typical discussion of race and space to focus on the roles of media in propagating that discourse.

In particular, I have found that The Huffington Post hosts some of the most comprehensive commentary on issues of race and space across the spectrum of American media. The site is home to a variety of affinity sections, including ‘Black Voices‘ and ‘Latino Voices‘, which offer news and op/ed articles that come from and cater to particular minority groups. The way these sites curate content make them great for finding articles that pertain to issues of race and space.

The Huffington Post was first created with a liberal audience in mind, intended as the left-leaning answer to the Drudge Report, a conservative news-and-commentary site. Among the influences that the Drudge Report had on The Huffington Post is the use of large-print, sensationalized headlines, which are meant to take news stories and frame them for the intended audience.

So, where The New York Times might strive to serve you a headline that tells you the basic, essential information you are looking for from a news article, a Huffington Post headline is intended to elicit some sort of reaction from you, depending on your political leanings. The headline below is a great example. Continue reading

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Examining notions of race in our own backyards

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo Credit: David Shankbone via Creative Commons License)

Back in February, Academy-Award winning actor Forest Whitaker was publicly frisked at an upscale New York City deli after being falsely accused of shoplifting. The event became national news in light of commentary that Whitaker’s race played a role in the employee’s decision to frisk him.

This past week, Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times on the topic. In the article, Coates notes: “In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs.” Coates points to the Whitaker story, however, as an example of the type of systematic racism that is propagated by even the most sincere, ostensible ‘nice’ people. His take on the matter is colored by his extensive experience with the deli, which is in his neighborhood and is one of his favorites. Continue reading