Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Associated Press Was There Today

Here's a shout out to Mr. Emery Dalesio from the AP.   Glad to have you here.  I apologize for not being able to speak with you today. If you've read what the N&O and the Herald have said about Ms. Mangum and her supporters you'll know why.   The N&O (that's the guy with the white computer sitting in the front row) was particularly insulting with their portrait of us "supporters".  It's as if Ms. Mangum doesn't have a right to have supporters.  The tone was insulting and I don't remember those Lacrosse guys being questioned about why their supporters were stuffing every seat in the courthouse. 

Anyway, Mr. AP, I have a few requests for you:

1.  Please remember that Ms. Mangum is a human being.  I hope that seems obvious to you but I feel I have to say it because there are an awful lot of people out there who have literally said that they think she isn't.  Read the stuff folks write on their blogs.  Read the hate and venom that is, to this day, still being spewed by far too many people about Ms. Mangum.

2. Please remember that she, we her supporters, and her relatives are effected by what you write.  By all means tell the truth but give some thought to the tone.  Being sarcastic, leaving out important context, and simply parroting the hateful things other people say isn't helpful, nor is it responsible journalism.

3. How about trying a unique idea for a story:  You could actually delve into the way in which the media has slanted their reporting about Ms. Mangum and the racism behind it.  Folks around here like to say that we're progressive and modern but most of these folks around here know people personally (or have a family member who was or is) in the Klan. I grew up here, I know! Anyone over 50 lived through actual apartheid.

4. Another thing you could do is try to write about all the support that Ms. Mangum actually has in the community.  Take some time and walk around talking to people at NCCU and North East Central Durham and you'll find a lot of support.  Be careful how and where you ask the questions though, these folks have to live in this community and not everyone is brave enough to speak out against the dominant narrative.  She has a lot of support among black folks and, surprisingly, more than you would think among thoughtful white folks.

Steven Matherly

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