Rapid City Journal responds to NAJA concerns over irresponsible headline
By Rebecca Landsberry
The newspaper's headline "Did Native students stand for National Anthem?" ran with its top story in the Saturday print edition--the latest in the paper's coverage of how children from the Pine Ridge Reservation became the target of racially charged insults. The headline fell short of the standards of responsible journalism, as it indirectly suggested that elementary and middle school students could have been responsible for prompting the harassment. The headline was the result of phrasing that was not well thought out on the paper's part, and outcry over the headline has been swift in the Rapid City region and beyond via social media.
Whether intentionally or not, the newspaper was party to victim blaming because of a headline based on an anonymous source's disputed allegations.
The headline suggests a decision by adults or children to stand or sit for the National Anthem is relevant to the incident that took place at the hockey arena. It isn't.
With the story, the Journal suggests to the public--even if inadvertently--that there could be some measure of logical explanation for the deplorable actions that included shouting racial slurs at children if any person in their group from the American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation chose not to stand. There isn't.
OURS: Journal erred on anthem headline
By Bart Pfankuch
To some, the headline signified that there was a justification for the harassment of Native American students at the Rush hockey game on Saturday, Jan 24. This was not our intent. There is no justification for such racist behavior. There can never be any justification for the appalling way those students and their chaperons were treated at the game.
There's no way they could've justified it rationally. It jumped out at everyone, immediately, as accusing the children of being the problem.
This is a classic case of implicit bias. The editors obviously didn't think they were doing anything prejudicial, but they obviously were.
For more on the subject, see The Science of Racism.
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