Covering the 'Kwa: The Inflexible, Utterly Predictable and Parody-Worthy Coverage of Race by the Press

by Douglas Wright

26 November 2005


To: The Reporters, Photographers, Graphics Designers, Editors, Copy Editors, Cameramen and other Producers of the American Media

From: The Management

Recently it has come to our attention that there may be some confusion about how to cover race in America. This should not be a complicated issue. However, to provide guidance, we have assembled the following rules.


1. Anything a black person has to say is valid and understandable.

There are no exceptions to this rule. No matter how uninformed or expressive of negative sentiment toward whites, anything that issues from a black person's mouth is to be accorded the highest respect, and the grammatical errors cleaned up. They are understandably reacting to whatever situation is being reported on. You as the reporter are "on their side" and there to help them get their message to the world. It is your responsibility to make them look as good as possible.

2. Anything a black person does is valid and understandable, if not praiseworthy.

Blacks are noble individuals living day to day at the mercy of a white racist system. Whatever they do to get by is to be viewed and reported on as the most common-sense approach possible. If it is simply not possible to put a positive spin on something, it can be jauntily referred to as "having gotten into a few scrapes with the law." This can be used for a triple homicide. Do not refer to the triple homicide. Another way to salvage a life situation is to include the black interviewee's acknowledgment that he "has a rough past." This makes him appear down-to-earth and honest. If he does not offer this, get him to agree to it. If blacks are burning, rioting or looting, it is because they are oppressed. They are "responding" to white "neglect" or "demanding justice." They may want to "send a message." Or to simply let the white racist system know they're there. Still another is to present criminal activity as increasing the authenticity of the black person. But be sure to mind Rule 3, below.

3. If a black person has done bad things, they are in the past. Future bad things will not happen.

It is not possible for blacks to be looking forward to a bad or worse future. Things are always looking up. Multiple children by multiple, unknown fathers and a crack habit at the age of 17 is contrasted with recent enrollment at community college. End story with quote about this. No black aspiration is too far-fetched. Black desire to be astronaut or brain surgeon is to be treated respectfully. Black males just released from prison are "looking to put their life back together." Contact with low-level executive for rap label is proof of this. For general guidance on the issue, see Rules 4 and 5.

4. When it would otherwise reflect poorly upon them, blacks take the objective form.

In other words, blacks are never the source of bad things --- bad things only happen to them. This rule applies to black neighborhoods, as well. A black neighborhood is "neglected;" it is not populated with individuals who are themselves neglectful. (Note that the presumptive subjects here, whites, will not be interviewed or given a chance to respond to the charge of neglect.) A black male is "bounced around in the prison system;" he himself did not do anything to cause that to happen. A young black male "finds himself in the clutches of the criminal justice system;" he similarly did not do anything to bring about the situation. Black politcians are "caught up" in a scandal, as if they were just sitting there reading Proust with a glass of Merlot when terrible scandal-monsters burst into the den and caught them up.

5. On the occasions when it reflects well upon them, blacks take the subjective form.

This is the converse of Rule 4. If a black person has graduated from community college, it was by his own actions. And always against a tide of white racism. Blacks "put themselves on the right track," "pull themselves up from the ghetto" or "fight for justice." A black who accomplished almost nothing in life may still be referred to as "proud." Nobody will call you asking to know what they're so proud of.

6. Any black child killed in the inner city would have gone on to greatness.

Because assertions of would-be greatness by black children can never be tested, feel free to indulge even the wildest speculation about what he or she would have achieved. Ask about interest in mathematics or similarly brainy pursuits. Do not offer fact that statistically, they would have gone on to welfare, prison or do-nothing civil service job.

7. If at all possible and when warranted, nobody is black.

Use geography, nationality or age, instead. Black Africans setting fire to an entire country are "French youths," "Disaffected youths," "Teenagers," or simply "Rioters." Black Americans smashing out jewelry store windows after a hurricane are "residents of New Orleans." The "American" murder rate has gone up or down. "Minnesotans" are responsible for a certain percentage of gun violence. "New York City schoolchildren" cannot read. "Revelers" destroy resort town during Hip-Hop Week.

8. If someone must be black, they "happen to be African-American."

If the story you are writing is such that the race of a black person is unavoidable, put this information in a clause following a comma after their name. Example: "Randall Robinson, who happens to be African-American, said that as an African-American, he disputes the notion that whites shouldn't pay reparations." The felicitous "happens to be" reminds readers that race is a mere happenstance of such little relevance that anyone who would suggest otherwise by cruelly using any other grammatical formation is a bad person. Bad.

9. When it is to their advantage, blacks are a collective.

Blacks suffered and continue to suffer injustice as a group. They deserve curative attention as a group. They deserve representation as a group. It will not be inquired whether an individual black merits inclusion in the general group of aggrieved blacks. Blacks not only regularly receive unjust treatment, they always do so as a group. You must remember to acknowledge both.

10. When it is to their advantage, blacks are individuals.

The disproportionate commission of crime by blacks is not be associated with any individual black. The disporportionate social pathology in practically every other area of human existence displayed by blacks is not to be associated with any individual black and especially not blamed on them, as individuals. See rules 3 and 4. Thus, consistent with rules 9 and 10, it is perfectly acceptable to dole out goodies on the basis of group blackness, but not to issue restrictions or criticism.


1. Whites do not exist as a group with legitimate aspirations.

This rule should not need expounding. The possibility of this is not even to be put forward for questioning, as in, "Are whites a group?" "Do they have legitimate group aspirations?" This is because the mere question would be enough to suggest that one legitimate answer is "yes." This cannot happen. You are to address this as a member of the media by simply not writing or reporting a story that would touch on this topic.

2. Nothing a white person has to say is valid or understandable, if they are expressing white group interests.

Therefore, do not dignify what they say. Helpful phrases include "racist ranting," "ignorant outpouring of hatred" and "message of hate." If you are a columnist, please restrict yourself to the phrases "(John Smith) should crawl back under his rock" or "(John Smith)'s message of hate is not welcome here." When responding to "racism," it is not necessary to be creative or think too hard about your response. Certainly, addressing any of the points is not necessary. In fact, it is discouraged, because the last thing we want is discussion of the merits of white nationalism or other forms of white group interest expression. If fliers or newspapers containing messages of white group interest are distributed in the area, overlook the obvious irony of a newspaper journalist covering the distribution of a newspaper as Armageddon and proceed first to a police official, whereupon you should pose a question about the legality of distributing a newspaper. As you are aware, the First Amendment does not apply to hate. Do not address the contents of the flier or publication, no matter how factual or reasonable. It should be easy to find a person to quote about how the paper is "unwelcome," because everyone will be expected to denounce the flier or paper. Round out with quote from Southern Poverty Law Center, which as you know is a mainstream, unbiased group fighting for justice.

3. A white person who expresses white group interests shall be referred to as a "white supremacist."

There are no white activists or advocates for whites. The supremacist tag must be used in order to foster a sense of fear that a person who thinks whites have a right to self-determination necessarily also seeks to kill or imprison all other racial groups. It is simply not possible that a person who advocates for white interests would be smart or sincere, so make sure your coverage reflects that. You as a journalist are under an ethical obligation to present all sides of a story, even the ones you personally dislike, except in the case of white racists. This is an official proclamation from The Management.

4. When it reflects well on them, whites are to be presented in the objective form, or not at all.

If whites have paid large sums of taxes and spent many administrative hours in an attempt to boost black scores by one percentage point, no mention will be made of them. This simply came out of nowhere. When whites work to deliver the goods and services that keep America running, this is simply taken for granted. If a neighborhood comes back to life because whites have moved in, you may use the increasingly controversial term "gentrification," but consult with your editor before doing this. By no means should you mention that this means whites.

5. When it reflects poorly on them, whites are fully guilty, as a group and as all white individuals within that group, for whatever the bad thing was.

An obvious example is slavery. Despite the common-sense observation from even mainstream conservatives that no white living today is personally responsible for slavery, coverage of this should accept the reparations view of white guilt that is collective by race and across the span of time, as well as black victimization that is likewise.

Thank you for your attention. Now get back to reporting!


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