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Brown Relief': NPR Features Story on Latinos' Joy Over Shooter Being a 'Gringo


"What I wanted to know was the killer's surname."

When NPR featured a story on "brown relief" Wednesday -- the supposed collective joy of the Latino community over the Tucson shooter being a "gringo" -- the question of who should be more offended, "browns" or whites, is a good one. But the more obvious question is, "Why are these comments allowed and Juan Williams's thoughts on Muslim clothing not?"

The story, "Across America, Latino Community Sighs With Relief," was featured on both radio and on NPR's website. And it's nothing short of remarkable, not for its insight, but for its callous, racist, language. Author Daisy Hernandez, a Latino who covers feminism and once worked for the New York Times, writes:

I wasn't the only person on Saturday who rushed to her Android when news came of the Tucson shooting. I wasn't looking however to read about what had happened. My auntie had already filled me in —  "Someone tried to murder una representante. People have been killed," she'd reported. What I wanted to know was the killer's surname.

My eyes scanned the mobile papers. I held my breath. Finally, I saw it: Jared Loughner. Not a Ramirez, Gonzalez or Garcia.

It's safe to say there was a collective sigh of brown relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo. Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn't be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week — they'd be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy. The new members of the House would be stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border, more mothers to be deported, and more employers to be penalized for hiring brown people. Obama would be attending funerals and telling the nation tonight that he was going to increase security just about everywhere.

In short, the only reason the nation is taking a few days to reflect on the animosity in politics today is precisely that the shooter was not Latino. [Emphasis added]

The story doesn't end there. Hernandez confesses she cared nothing of the victims at first:

I admit sadly that it was only after I saw the shooter's gringo surname that I was able to go on and read the rest of the news about those who lost their lives on Saturday and those who, like Rep. Giffords, were severely wounded.

If the story has any redeeming value it's that Hernandez admits these things "sadly." But in the wake of the shooting, it seems hardly appropriate that a story such as this should be featured on a government-sponsored news outlet only days after the tragic event. An outlet that fired a longtime employee for much less just months ago.

Williams, fired over the phone, didn't refer to anyone as "arabs" or even come close to using offensive titles when referring to his anxiety when he sees "Muslim garb" on a plane. That didn't matter.

Maybe then the option of who this will end up offending most is behind door number number three: Juan Williams.

(H/T: Greg Hengler)

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