Pittsburgh Black Media Federation Condemns Post-Gazette Editorial on Racism


PITTSBURGH (Jan. 17, 2018) — A favorite quote used by civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.: “The moral arc of the universe is long and bends toward justice.”

On Monday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an editorial, “Reason as Racism: An Immigration Debate Gets Derailed,” that shamelessly bent the universe toward injustice. The editorial supported and attempted to rationalize President Trump’s reported vulgarity in describing Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.

The editorial was ill-formed, unintelligent and lacking in racial sensitivity.

The Pittsburgh Black Media Federation stands with the community of Post-Gazette union members, the paper’s former staffers, two of the city’s leading foundations, and many others to condemn the thought that racism can be so narrowly defined and excused.

Racism’s damage is not manifested by only physical violence.  It is beyond dog attacks and people being murdered. Spreading the ideas of racism can be as damaging to the soul of a people  — and a nation — as a bigot’s bullet piercing the heart.

The editorial helped to spread and condone the idea of racism.  That is unfortunate because an independent, responsible press is charged with lifting every voice.

Journalists with the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation have traveled to Haiti, African nations, and other parts of the African diaspora to find and report stories that take readers and viewers beyond the stereotype of who the people are in these countries.

It saddens us to know that the American president’s coarse language and thoughts contribute to the bias — and that the Post-Gazette editorial attempts to give cover to this racism.

It is harmful and disappointing that such a biased view would be published on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. And, it was particularly hurtful to members of our organization, which seeks to engender fairness, address bias, and advocate for fuller and more informed news regarding communities of color.

We are asking other professional media organizations in Western Pennsylvania to join us in protest — in the spirit of togetherness.

By uniting against the language of hate, we make room for a responsible fourth estate that builds a stronger democracy.

Founded in 1973, PBMF is a nonprofit that advocates for diversity in newsrooms, hosts programs that recognize excellent media coverage of minority communities, and trains young people to enter the media industry.
The National Association of Black Journalists named PBMF the professional chapter of the year in 2017.