Running commentaries on media stories are boring at the best of times, but occasionally an exception is warranted.
Not because something is so egregious or overt (there’s plenty of people ready to be outraged about anything over on Twitter) but because it’s subtle and missable, potentially even unintended—but definitely still damaging.
So here goes.
A young woman with African heritage is excelling in her field. Subah Jok is a young model who just strutted the catwalk in Paris for Giorgio Armani. So of course a newspaper story about her success must include a response to “crime problems in Melbourne”.
Is there any suggestion this woman is a criminal? No. But she’s black.
And because the notion of an ‘African crime crisis’ has been hard-baked into many Victorians’ minds, this woman is now fair game for a question about crime.
The same way every person of the Catholic faith should be asked about pedophiles at every opportunity, right?
Only they’re not.
But lets go with the theory for a moment longer.
An analysis of the raw data tells us Victoria’s biggest criminal offender group by “county of birth” are actually Australians. Boring, white-bread Aussies. Followed by Kiwis!
So by this new standard… next time Geelong superstar Paddy Dangerfield rips a game apart, he should be asked about Australian crime.
And next time Lorde is touring Melbourne we should ask her about Australia’s Kiwi crime wave.
Only we shouldn’t. And we wouldn’t. And we don’t.
That would be misguided and misleading at best; racist and offensive at worst.
But in Victoria—black people are fair game, didn’t you know?