Muzzling Readers in Detroit

Correction: The first version of this article incorrectly attributed ownership of the MLLive website to the Detroit News. In fact, MLLive is owned by a chain of suburban newspapers. We apologize for the error. Mark Honojosa, Director of Interactive Media for the Detroit News, informs us that the Detroit News is "the conservative voice for Michigan and the region."

A major news site in the Detroit area is really upset about how its readers talk about race.

The same Detroit newspaper chain that publishes frequent stories on African American festivals, resorts, restaurants, talent shows, health care, breast cancer, academic achievement, art, schools, student performance, veterans, alumni, dropouts, healthy cooking, history, movies, museums, mayors, unemployment, diabetes, Catholic celebrations, heritage, firefighters, music, libraries, churches, racial profiling, photography, senior citizens, theater, churches, lawsuits, books, high school students, academic research, neighborhoods, hair, obesity, and HIV, is puzzled that so many of the people who comment on these stories are racist.

But first, some "context."

The same Detroit newspaper chain that publishes tons of stories about racial discrimination against black people in schools, local governments, elections, city contracts, criminal justice, jobs, businesses, and everywhere else cannot figure out why so many of its readers post so many comments that are are so racially insensitive.

The same Detroit newspaper chain that published dozens of stories on Trayvon Martin and how the young African American man died "because he was black" and as a result, it was now open season on black people, wants to guide us to a more enlightened way of racial communication.

The same Detroit newspaper chain that cannot rush enough reporters to rallies where speakers say the bankruptcy of Detroit is due to white racism, is really upset that we are not more tolerant.

The same newspaper chain that features stories and columns about how opposition to Barack Obama is really just racism, in the same way that the paper reports on racism in hockey and public fountains, is pleading for us to open our minds.

This is the same newspaper chain so quick to scoff at the racial element of the Knockout Game -- calling it a myth -- and so eager to dismiss and deny the black mob violence that is an everyday fact of life in the region.

Many documented in White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore it.

The readers are so off-message about commenting on race at the MLive website that the newspaper chain  felt it needed to post rules about how to comply with the racial guidelines: How to discuss racial issues on MLive without violating the Community Rules.

First, if you see one of the daily stories about black history month or the black museum or whatever, and you wonder in the comments sections why there is no counterpart for white or Asian or Amish people, you will be removed.

That is a "false equivalence," said the paper's person officially in charge of being in charge of this kind of thing. Her name is Jen Eyer. On her blog, "The Neurotic Mom," where she also writes about dogs and kids and that's about it, she declares "I've found. I'm pretty open about a lot of things."

Which is why she was able to discover the reason why it is okay to write about Black History Month, but not Amish History Month: "It's a false comparison, as the history of white people in the United States and the history of black people in the United States are not equivalent experiences."

Black people are different. Do tell.

Eyer makes it rain with reasons: She's pretty fed up with commentators wondering why MLive refuses to report racial descriptions in its crime stories. Because it is "not warranted." That's why.

Then why is that among the first thing police dispatchers ask for? And among the first things they broadcast to officers on patrol? If anyone knows, we won't find it in the readers' comments.

Crime statistics are also taboo. Thus sayeth Jen Eyer: "Usually these crime statistics are not helpful to the discussion because they lack other details, such as socioeconomic status, that give context."

Ah yes, the old "racist facts" defense. I get it.

And if, in the course of some review of the latest and greatest hip hop star whose recordings are full of vulgar and glorifying references to drugs, violence, race and lots of other good things, and you want to comment about it in these same terms, don't even think about it.

That is off limits too: So if you wanted to write: "It is no coincidence that the vast majority of those incarcerated are of African American descent. Their culture promotes this kind of "thuggish" behavior," don't bother. Jen does not like that.

And if anyone wants to know why the Detroit News does not cover the tsunami-like levels of black mob violence and black on white crime all over the Detroit region by now, you should know the answer:

Jen don't play that game.

Correction: The first version of this article incorrectly attributed ownership of the MLLive website to the Detroit News. In fact, MLLive is owned by a chain of suburban newspapers. We apologize for the error. Mark Honojosa, Director of Interactive Media for the Detroit News, informs us that the Detroit News is "the conservative voice for Michigan and the region."

A major news site in the Detroit area is really upset about how its readers talk about race.

The same Detroit newspaper chain that publishes frequent stories on African American festivals, resorts, restaurants, talent shows, health care, breast cancer, academic achievement, art, schools, student performance, veterans, alumni, dropouts, healthy cooking, history, movies, museums, mayors, unemployment, diabetes, Catholic celebrations, heritage, firefighters, music, libraries, churches, racial profiling, photography, senior citizens, theater, churches, lawsuits, books, high school students, academic research, neighborhoods, hair, obesity, and HIV, is puzzled that so many of the people who comment on these stories are racist.

But first, some "context."

The same Detroit newspaper chain that publishes tons of stories about racial discrimination against black people in schools, local governments, elections, city contracts, criminal justice, jobs, businesses, and everywhere else cannot figure out why so many of its readers post so many comments that are are so racially insensitive.

The same Detroit newspaper chain that published dozens of stories on Trayvon Martin and how the young African American man died "because he was black" and as a result, it was now open season on black people, wants to guide us to a more enlightened way of racial communication.

The same Detroit newspaper chain that cannot rush enough reporters to rallies where speakers say the bankruptcy of Detroit is due to white racism, is really upset that we are not more tolerant.

The same newspaper chain that features stories and columns about how opposition to Barack Obama is really just racism, in the same way that the paper reports on racism in hockey and public fountains, is pleading for us to open our minds.

This is the same newspaper chain so quick to scoff at the racial element of the Knockout Game -- calling it a myth -- and so eager to dismiss and deny the black mob violence that is an everyday fact of life in the region.

Many documented in White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore it.

The readers are so off-message about commenting on race at the MLive website that the newspaper chain  felt it needed to post rules about how to comply with the racial guidelines: How to discuss racial issues on MLive without violating the Community Rules.

First, if you see one of the daily stories about black history month or the black museum or whatever, and you wonder in the comments sections why there is no counterpart for white or Asian or Amish people, you will be removed.

That is a "false equivalence," said the paper's person officially in charge of being in charge of this kind of thing. Her name is Jen Eyer. On her blog, "The Neurotic Mom," where she also writes about dogs and kids and that's about it, she declares "I've found. I'm pretty open about a lot of things."

Which is why she was able to discover the reason why it is okay to write about Black History Month, but not Amish History Month: "It's a false comparison, as the history of white people in the United States and the history of black people in the United States are not equivalent experiences."

Black people are different. Do tell.

Eyer makes it rain with reasons: She's pretty fed up with commentators wondering why MLive refuses to report racial descriptions in its crime stories. Because it is "not warranted." That's why.

Then why is that among the first thing police dispatchers ask for? And among the first things they broadcast to officers on patrol? If anyone knows, we won't find it in the readers' comments.

Crime statistics are also taboo. Thus sayeth Jen Eyer: "Usually these crime statistics are not helpful to the discussion because they lack other details, such as socioeconomic status, that give context."

Ah yes, the old "racist facts" defense. I get it.

And if, in the course of some review of the latest and greatest hip hop star whose recordings are full of vulgar and glorifying references to drugs, violence, race and lots of other good things, and you want to comment about it in these same terms, don't even think about it.

That is off limits too: So if you wanted to write: "It is no coincidence that the vast majority of those incarcerated are of African American descent. Their culture promotes this kind of "thuggish" behavior," don't bother. Jen does not like that.

And if anyone wants to know why the Detroit News does not cover the tsunami-like levels of black mob violence and black on white crime all over the Detroit region by now, you should know the answer:

Jen don't play that game.

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