The Choice Word of The Minnesota Daily

This last week revealed the grisly details of a multi-state prostitution ring, and the indictment of 29 people people involved, 17 of whom were arrested in Minnesota.

It is practically slavery what these Somali girls, some as young as 12 years-old, suffered at the hands of several gangs.

In the coverage that followed, MPR offered insight from a reformed gang member, as well as a mental health counselor, revealing that more outreach is needed for girls who find themselves falling into human-trafficking.

The Star Tribune showed the ways in which these Somali gangs differ from "traditional" gangs. They are highly mobile, operating in multiple cities in multiple states, and they bare no signs or tattoos signifying them as gang members.

Though MPR's article dances around several terms for the Twin Cities' Somali-Americans, (The Somali community, the Somali-American Community, Somali-American members) both news sources clearly distinguish those accused of committing the crimes from those who are saddened and horrified by these crimes.

However, the lede for The Minnesota Daily's article on reaction to the exposure of the sex-trafficking throws that distinction out the window.

To quote, "After the shocking arrest of 17 of their peers Monday, the Somali community of Minnesota is struggling to grasp the bust of a human trafficking sex ring that spanned three states."

Their peers? Community is acceptable, although too often it becomes a blanket term to describe what is really a diverse collection of people. But peers goes too far. It almost implies that this community as a whole is implicated with these 17 accused.

To call someone a peer means you have common ground in three areas: age, status, and ability. To think that Somali students walking to class on Northrop Mall or studying in Wilson Library would think these 17 young people their peers on the grounds of the latter two is absurd.

By calling these accused their peers, the article groups a wide range of Somali-Americans under one banner of delinquent "peers."

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This page contains a single entry by shee0161 published on November 14, 2010 5:41 PM.

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