Tari Trott, a writer for The Royal Gazette who, according to a profile on facebook by the same name, is black and whose friend’s list is dominated by various prominent PLP politicians noted in an article in today’s paper that blogger Jonathan Starling, who was specifically pointed out as being a white supporter and member of the PLP, was recently critical of Premier Brown’s escapades at the Playboy Mansion.
The above outlines an example of one of my biggest pet peeves when race is unnecessarily brought into the picture to stir up controversy, especially when it comes on top of one of my other pet peeves of making it more about the messenger than the message. Today’s article in the Royal Gazette is a great example of the same thing occurring.
PLP supporter and blogger Jonathan Starling has jumped on the bandwagon of those criticising [sic] Premier Ewart Brown’s decision to use taxpayers’ money to sponsor a celebrity poker tournament at the Playboy Mansion.
Mr. Starling’s Tuesday commentary on his ‘Catch a fire’ web site labels the Premier’s decision a “scandal” while calling it “embarrassing” and “shameful.
Mr. Starling, who is white, is known for taking conflicting political positions. He has also been a vocal critic of The Royal Gazette.
Why is it necessary to specifically point out that Mr. Starling is white especially when no explanation is given as to why the knowledge of his race adds to the story? Further, why is this article seemingly focuses more on Mr. Starling than on the message he portrays? Also, why is the leader of the opposition quoted alongside his comments rather than PLP sources being contacted to give alternative viewpoints either alongside or contrary to what Mr. Starling suggests. By quoting the opposition leader alongside Mr. Starling does it not give the impression that he is more aligned to the UBP than the PLP which is completely false? Now, it would be easy for me to go into a large diatribe analyzing the supposed race of the writer of this article and their supposed political connections and proclaiming this as evidence of specifically utilizing the paper to go after Mr. Starling for having voiced his opinion, which happened to be critical of the party, but I’m not going to do that because that’d be attacking the messenger rather than the message, and would be making wild assumptions of bias that may well be unfounded, wouldn’t it?
Getting back on the issue of race, it really bothers me when the race of people is specifically pointed out when it barely relates to the context. Even more so it is bothersome that it is incredibly rare for a white person to be specifically pointed out as white while far less rare for the same to happen for a black person. It reminds me of the far too often circumstance where a paper conveniently and far more regularly points out the blackness of an individual in the context where it is better left out. Such as:
Mr. X, who is black, did something that has nothing to do with his race but we feel like it’s worth pointing it out just so you’re clear that he was black because even though white people do it to, we want to be certain you knew it was a black person who did it…
It severely bothers me when the papers choose to do this and is one of the large reasons why I can relate to those who feel that the Royal Gazette maintains an bias towards whites. Race, for the most part, should be left out of it unless clear explanations are given as to why race is a factor in the issue.
When getting into bias by the papers this recent article raises a whole new spectrum of means to look at the situation. This recent article either could clearly be displaying a reverse bias or could simply be attempting to stir up controversy in order to sell more papers. Who really knows what the real intentions are. What it does come down to is that, regardless of black or white, the paper would do itself a great favour in avoiding criticism and attacks if it were to leave race out of it when it does not have a clear bearing on the subject matter. That, and focus on the message far more than the messenger.