Guilty. I have done it too. I think this racially toxic climate is to blame though. If politicians and police didn’t have a history of blanket painting certain groups for certain crimes while turning blind eyes to the crimes of their own race, we wouldn’t be here.
I took a class a few years ago at the Poynter Institute about writing and reporting on sexual violence, crimes and race. It was very interesting how White journalist would either write features that immediately identified black suspects, and parcel out stores and features where crimes were committed by White suspects. The same with photos. Photos of Black suspects would be the most horrible damn shits you’d ever see…like the caught the Black person on their worst worst day ever or they’d use an old mug shot that had nothing to do with the crime they were presently charged with.
The same with victims of other crimes outside of sexual violence. When the criminal or suspect is non-white, the crime reporters have no issue details. When it comes to White suspects (or suspects passing as White), they are in a rush to put out details, but not so much about the identity (physical characteristics).
We did study after study of national and local stories from across many U.S. cities. Same crimes, different racial makeups of suspects, different biased descriptions of suspects. White journalists were ashamed, and didn’t realize how biased they were in writing and reporting about crime. Journalist have a responsibility to report in ways that don’t aid us to conjure up our biases. They aren’t supposed to give us incomplete stories, but they do in an effort to report first. Your advice is excellent. Wait until you know, or do your own research. Lots of times there are police reports available under FOIA, and you can find out yourself if you’d like.
No group should feel like we have to take responsibility for the crimes of individuals within our ethnic groups although we do (I know I have). We all are biased, I agree. Nobody wants the bad bad to be from their group, but things happen. I still feel as though if people of color weren’t judged so harshly by Whites, the bias wouldn’t be there. We all would just be pissed at the suspect regardless of race.
But since we live in a racist nation…race is in everything. Everything.