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"Hispanics with shaved heads"

The LA Times buys into the racial profiling ways of a spokesman yet again:

Investigators described the suspects as two male Hispanics with shaved heads.

Oooohhhh...Hispanics. With shaved heads.

Just like Latinos in chemo have.

Some who read this blog may relish the fact that the Times reported this salient detail about the shooting of an officer. But the fact that the perps are "Hispanic males with shaved heads" is not at all helpful to you, me, or any other reader sincerely interested in solving this crime.

We can't use this description to help solve this crime.

So leave it out of your story.


Let's look at this awful crime for what it is, and ponder the kinds of questions the three reporters at the Times forgot to ask when they so dutifully reported what race and hairstyle the perps were.

I saw four Latinos with shaved heads studying in the Los Feliz Library today, and two more walking home. Am I supposed to think that all these might be suspects?

And then there was this:
  • "'We will find you and bring you to justice,' said Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League."

I would submit that such rhetoric does not protect police as well as it could. Nevertheless, is it appropriate rhetoric for the Times to quote in these circumstances? Or is that a nostalgic war-on-terror impersonation from days gone by?

How about, "The police spokesmen promised the family and the public that special effort would be brought to bear, and the assailants would be found." Wouldn't that work just as well?

We have seen scribes resort to this kind of war-on-terror rhetoric about Hollenbeck before, even if denuded of racial profiling; in fact, CNN's Anderson Cooper published an Orange Alert's worth of it last November:

ANDERSON COOPER: "Think of it as domestic terrorism, armed gangs traumatizing entire communities and it is spreading in cities both large and small....With that, CNN PRESENTS "Homicide in Hollenbeck."


Of course, our finest men and women will bring the perps to justice. They should; they must; and we are as hopeful that they do so as we are for the health of the officer.

But what if the war-on-terror rhetoric and the racial profiling were ironically feeding the violence? As we have learned, so painfully, that it does on an international level?

Spokespeople should lose the racial profiling and the chest thumping and failed war-on-terror rhetoric when addressing the media. At this post-racial point, it's really gratiutous, even grating.

And so should the kids in the newsroom on Spring Street.

The Times reporters here have found a way to link Latinos with shaved heads to acts of domestic terror. That is wrong; the editors should not indulge any spokesperson who engages in racial profiling of suspects, especially when it's linked to terror-baiting rhetoric.

Stay with the real story. Report the facts, and lose the war-on-terror rhetoric, and lose the racial profiling. Our City doesn't need it.