Stop whitewashing the hate crimes of White felons


Adriana Hernandez

The media whitewashes white crimes while also demonizing Black crimes.

Humanizing hate crimes of white offenders is a significant problem that exists in the world of journalism.

In the case of any hate crime, outrage is expected from the general public. When portraying a white perpetrator, there should be no problem with labeling or insinuating them as racists. Yet, many times media outlets tend to downplay the magnitude of their crimes.

Reporters will purposefully apply subjective language or personal accounts from family or friends when reporting, trying to gain empathy from readers. These violators get labeled as “a kind soul”, “a companion in need of help” or “a peer who just had a bad day.” Thus, manipulating people’s perceptions to fuel their mercy narrative.

These attempts at tailoring a wrongdoer’s character devalue the xenophobic attacks and drive the notion that it’s just an everyday felony. Describing their actions as “out-of-character” also negates their actions being premeditated offenses. And although battling mental health is a serious concern, the available access for support makes statements on mental health troubles a feeble excuse when acquitting perpetrators of hate crimes.

The bias of the press exposes the inconsistencies and hypocrisy when people of color are covered as assailants. Generalizations sprout from their reporting damaging the reputation of communities of color.

Especially for African Americans, journalists are quick to display them in a negative light and present the Black community as a dangerous group to be feared. For instance, a Black man’s criminal history never fails to be brought up in a news issue while a white man’s criminal history may never even see the light of day.

The clear prejudice for one’s race in crime reports slows the pursuit of racial equity and continues to push the white agenda in the United States.

It is a tragedy that crimes powered by racism have and still happen today, regardless of who breaks the law. Yet, there is a definite need for change in the way white felons are humanized and minority felons are demonized in the media.

When will the media stop justifying the hate crimes of white xenophobes? When will the media report crimes of white and people of color equally?