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"asian man"

http://www.poynteronline.org/column.asp?id=58&aid=121748

Thomas Huang wrote an article for Poynter called “Who does he look like�, referring to the killer of the Virginia Tech massacre. It discusses that the first night of the VT shootings, television news started calling the shooter an “Asian man�.

Huang believes it was wrong of them to identify him by his race; it’s like saying “black man� or “Hispanic man� in a story.

He gave an example of how racial and ethnic names can cause trouble. A photographer for the VT college paper, covering the massacre, was stopped by police and was forced to lie on the ground. He was cuffed, searched and questioned. The police said the photographer was a suspect matching the profile. Eventually he was released. The police were just looking for the killer; it’s routine. However, what would happen if the police shot the photographer first than asked questions?

I feel that journalists shouldn’t identify people by their race unless it’s relevant.

When looking for the Virginia Tech killer, “Asian� means basically nothing. It gets the police absolutely no where. Almost one billion people could answer to that description.

It’s a Journalists’ job to find as much information as possible and share it to the public. It’s important though to remain accurate and specific. “Asian� isn’t very specific at all.

They shouldn’t have jumped the gun and reported his race as “Asian� when it wasn’t even the right race. It would have been ok to report the race if they were still looking for the killer- and they knew specific details of what he looked like. In this situation, the race description could have helped find the man.

Anyone else?

Comments

Intresting point. I also can remember hearing initial report that the person was an Chinese National. Its sad that we had to id him by his race. It was also sad that there were people marching in the streets in South Korea, apparently in apology for a person of Korean decent who caused this tragedy. I guess it probably wasnt the worst idea ever, as the last time that someone of a certain heritage went nuts in this country, their country of orgin was attacked. But back to the subject, I think a lot of times in this country we identify people by their race. I feel its OK in context: A "tall asian man with two guns." However, an "Asian man" seems a little obscene to me.

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