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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Glass Houses

Contrary to popular media opinion, the United States is not alone in ethnic or "racial” community conflict. As this morning's AP story about Saturday's riot in Birmingham shows, even the UK has problems (although they were quick to issue a disclaimer):

"This is the work of a small number of individuals and is not a true reflection of community relations in Birmingham," said Assistant Chief Constable David Shaw, of West Midlands Police.
What's fascinating to me, though, is not whether this city has ethnic tension, but how differently the story is presented by various media.

The AP article is totally focused on the ethnicity of the riot participants (and the victim of the original crime).
Police were searching on Sunday for a black girl whose alleged rape by a South Asian sparked a riot that left one person dead and several injured.

Interestingly, the BBC's version of the story contains no mention at all of the ethnic lines of the Birmingham riot. It's hard to tell they're even reporting the same incident.

Yet another major wire service - Reuters - reported in a similarly benign vein, though they mentioned the two ethnic communities involved.

Each story leaves the reader with a totally different view of events in Birmingham - a city not new to ethnic conflict. I'm left wondering why an event in the UK would be reported so differently from a similar episode in the United States, where every interaction is painted with "color" and each participant's "race" or ethnicity is described in loving detail.

Which is illusion, and which is reality? More to the point - is "racism" in America partially a by-product of our spin-happy MSM, or is the BBC's studious neutrality over the Birmingham riot simply an attempt to justify their ongoing bias against America?

Either way, it must be nice to live in a glass house, even if self-created.