White Girl Bleed a Lot:The Return of Race Riots to America
by Colin Flaherty
115 pages, BookBaby, $6
However, as we find out with each generation, newspapers often filter “truth” through two sieves to withdraw upsetting information: first, what is politically de rigeur at the time, and second, what their advertisers and vocal interest groups want to hear.
In addition, we are literally drowning in news. There are now thousands of papers, millions of blogs, uncountable podcasts and citizen journalist outfits on the information waves, each thrusting forth its best eye-catching headlines.
Through these two filters, we lose sight of what happens and rely on the spin and opinion-shaping abilities of the news. Scan the big headlines, then see what the pundits say, and find a nice tidy conclusion to seal the deal.
Colin Flaherty, an acclaimed reporter, approaches the news as a giant set of data points. By themselves, these data points are easily lost in the flood or explained away with political or commercial rhetoric.
However, when Flaherty goes through with his highlighter and connects the dots for us, a pattern emerges. This pattern contradicts the “official story” which explains away the pattern in favor of focus on single points, and punditry to justify what happened as not what the pattern says it is.
In this case, he offers a simple thesis: the race riots of the 1920s, 1960s and 1990s have returned, but in a new form. This time, they are micro-riots. Flash mobs, or groups of a few dozen to a few thousand people, emerge spontaneously to rob, assault, batter and steal — but none dare call it a “riot.”
This is not a racist book. Flaherty does not make any conclusions about why this is happening, or blame all African-Americans for the actions of some African-Americans. He does however make two compelling points:
His intent is not to blame African-Americans, or even white Americans. His focus hinges on the second point, which is to ask why we cannot discuss this topic openly, or even (as in some of the cases in the book) report facts as they are.
Using new media such as YouTube videos and Twitter, as well as a balance (probably 60%) of newspaper reports from mainstream and often liberal newspapers, Flaherty constructs a pattern from the data points that vanished behind us in the information slipstream.
For reasons of their own, most newspapers will report just about anything on race: black caucus, black colleges, black teenager college prep success, black merchants, black voters, black contractors, black police, black teachers.
Everything except black crime.
That is a no no. (100)
By impeccably documenting his book using the words of mainstream newspapers as contrasted to the citizen journalism of camera phones and on-street Twitterers, he shows us the denial first and downplays any urge to blame. Instead, he asks us why this subject is so impossible for us to face.
Writing in a fluid but sarcastic prose that brings the absurdities of this situation to light, he investigates in depth, stringing together multiple incidents across the country to show us a repeated type of event and common characteristics.
This book does not play up the classic media white-on-black angle, or deviate into trying to find something “wrong” with African-Americans such as a racist book might do. In fact, many of his sources come from the African-American media, who are also wondering what’s wrong with these flash mob instigators.
In addition, he expends plenty of words and quotations to show us these are crimes of opportunity against anyone perceived as weaker: Asians, women, homosexuals and yes, white people. His chapter on Asians is particularly illuminating as we watch school districts contort to avoid facing the obvious epidemic of black-on-Asian violence.
Throughout all of these carefully documented events and assertions, he pounds on the table with the question that any journalist would ask when he spots a cover-up, whether intentional or not: why aren’t we talking about this?
One of his more carefully instilled ideas is questioning whether or not the return of African-American race riots heralds a crisis in the African-American community, or in a “diversity”-mad world that cannot see past its own dogma and propaganda to honestly analyze a glitch in the process.
As he writes:
When papers like the Chicago Tribune support affirmative action, racial quotas, and other race based solutions to very difficult problems, asking for the paper to identify the assailants is one way of asking ‘How’s that working out for you?”
Let’s take the flip side: What if white racism was so bad and conditions so intolerable that this was some kind of political statement? Either way, we don’t know. (56)
This book will probably tear the ears of those who take the time to read it because it is not an attack on African-Americans; it’s an attack on our media’s dishonesty, and behind that, our own dishonesty in being unwilling to approach this problem.
Several interviews with victims in the book show them unwilling to talk about the racial nature of the attacks that occurred against them, and finding it “creepy” or disturbing to even consider the notion. One later admits that she now has a fear of black males, and wishes for the oblivion she had before the attack.
For any reader with an open mind and an inquisitive nature that enjoys stringing together multiple articles to make a fact pattern emerge, this book provides a delight not only in watching the true story emerge, but in verbally rioting against those who concealed it.