Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

As Louisiana churches burn, Congress hijacks the conversation on hate

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 13 aprile 2019

By Jon Allsop. St. Mary Baptist, a historically black church in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, was set alight. One week later, so was Greater Union Baptist, another black church in St. Landry. After the latter incident, Earnest Hines, a deacon at a third black church in the area, Mount Pleasant Baptist, wondered if it would be wise to install security cameras: the successive fires surely couldn’t be a coincidence, he told NBC. Two days later, Hines watched as Mount Pleasant, too, burned. The three fires (and a fourth, at a predominantly white church in a different parish) have attracted national media coverage in the past few days. Much of it has been cautious—a reflection, it would seem, of views on the ground. Local officials have invoked “suspicious elements” in the fires and acknowledge they are “no coincidence,” but have not yet said who started them, or why. Establishing those facts may take time: key evidence has likely burned. In their absence, community leaders are circumspect. “I can’t say for one reason or another that the actual burning was a racist act or a hate crime until we can determine who caused them,” Freddie Jack, president of a local Baptist association, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday. “We need the facts.” To this point, at least, the story has felt undercovered—but so do lots of stories, especially those emanating from underserved communities and areas. It’s more useful, perhaps, to say this story has felt atomized. With some exceptions—like Whoopi Goldberg’s monologue, yesterday, on The View—individual reports, while factually informative, have not added up to the broader conversation they beg us to have: a conversation about hate. The lack of hard conclusions is one reason for this; another, perhaps, is that nobody has been killed or physically hurt. But racists have burned black churches so many times in our history that we can surely center the Louisiana fires’ historical parallels and symbolism, without having to wait for definitive proof of motive. Why must hate have a body count for us to prioritize it?Many articles about the hearing painted it, accurately, as an embarrassing, off-the-rails mess. Of those I read, however, only Nazaryan’s, for Yahoo, mentioned the Louisiana church burnings. Journalists didn’t give Owens a platform to spin the history of US racism yesterday; Republicans in Congress did that. But amplifying her history—over and above the history that’s on vivid display in Louisiana right now—cedes control of the narrative to those who would distort it.In a rich report for NBC News—headlined “‘Blackness isn’t safe, anywhere’: How the church burnings in Louisiana send a dangerous message”—Janell Ross offered the context so much coverage has been lacking. “The cause of the fires and the specific motivations of anyone who may have set them have not yet been released,” she wrote. “But the magnitude of the loss and the reasons black churches may have been a target are much more clear.” Let’s root the conversation on hate in that. (font: CJR Editors)


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