Racial tensions often dominate wide swaths of southern politics. They also can sell newspapers.
The AJC has a headline story today of “Specter of race surfaces in DeKalb school board woes“. Note that the headline is passive voice. The voice that buries responsibility for identifying a responsible party. So let’s move on to the first two paragraphs and see who is making a race issue out of 99,000 school children working toward diplomas that are about to be worthless:
A meeting between Gov. Nathan Deal and leaders of several civil rights organizations took a fiery turn on Monday during discussions on whether Deal should be specifically seeking black candidates to replace DeKalb County’s ousted school board members.
The specter of race, long an undercurrent in debate over the majority-black board’s future, burst into the forefront as the head of the state NAACP chapter and other groups complained that Deal told them to “find some good black people to run” during the closed-door meeting. They said Deal was implying that finding qualified black candidates would be difficult.
Ah, I get it. The old white man governor called in the NAACP and told them to find some good black folks. How dare he call some folks in and tell them to help with optics to solve this politically dicey situation. The nerve!
Now let’s keep reading….oh wait, look here, in paragraphs 12/13:
Participants in Monday’s meeting, which included the governor and his aides and several members of the NAACP and other civil rights groups, said the discussion started amicably but took a turn when the governor was pushed to select black candidates for the six seats. That’s when he urged them to find “good black people” to run, participants said.
“That’s a very insensitive, inflammatory and down-right negative thing to say,” said Marcus Coleman of the National Action Network’s Atlanta chapter.
So the Governor provoked this “insensitive and inflammatory” situation by…pushing back. Pushing back to what?
Paragraph one or two should be that the DeKalb NAACP had a meeting with the governor to demand that the replacements for a failed school board be selected with the first priority being race. Not about the ability to lead. Not about the 99,000 DeKalb students. Not about the content of the applicant’s character but about the color of their skin.
Instead, the Governor told them to go recruit good candidates. And in doing so, he is the one being “insensitive and inflammatory?”
The NAACP showed up with an agenda. That’s to be expected. Having the AJC arrange a story so as to imply that the Governor picked this battle and complictly go along with the framing as intended by the NAACP is beneath the seriousness of the situation, and places the AJC on co-equal footing of trying to drive sensationalism into a crisis of governance which requires serious, not sensational, solutions.