“Dark-skinned male?” Rev. Sharpton asked on his MSNBC Show “Politics Nation.” “Coded, offensive language. These comments are very offensive. They have no place in our discourse.”
“What King’s words did is to make every dark-skinned male in Boston a suspect, and that’s shameful,” Sharpton added.
Sharpton is right.
The investigation is ongoing and the situation in Boston is tense and what Boston doesn’t need right now are journalists making racial assumptions and adding to an already stressful situation.
Earlier this week, a plane from Boston headed to Chicago was brought back to the gate at Logan Airport, after some passengers — who also participated in the marathon — expressed concern over two men, who were apparently not sitting next to each, were speaking in Arabic. The men were escorted off the plane.
And now, King is pointing the finger at men of color.
“Disturbing that it’s OK for TV to ID a Boston bombing suspect only as ‘a dark-skinned individual,’ ” PBS anchor Gwen Ifill tweeted about King.
Meanwhile, The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) said King’s reporting was “offensive.”
“There have been various reports identifying a potential suspect as “a dark-skinned individual,” NABJ said in a statement. “This terminology is not only offensive, but also offers an incomplete picture of relevant facts about the potential person of interest’s identity. When conveying information for the public good, and which can help law enforcement with the help of a vigilant public to keep the country safe, it’s important that such facts be put into proper context.”
Let’s hope John King gets the message and thinks before he injects “dark-skinned male” into his reporting.