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L.A Times Reckoning With Racism


They are calling it, ‘Our reckoning with racism’—-

The Los Angeles Times has apologized for its history of racism and promises to do better. In a recent editorial, the publication reflected on its nearly 139-years of operation and harrowing history of perpetuating violence against Black and Brown citizens of Los Angeles. They analyzed headlines from the annals of history that demonized Black and Brown, as far back as the 1940s. Taking the conversation even further, they analyzed how lack of diversity impacted their staff as well. Talking about the fluctuation of Black and Brown writers and reporters on staff over the course of history, an issue that they admit still affects their newsroom. To truly get a scope of just how much the L.A. Times failed to reflect the diversity of California, there is only one Black reporter — Angel Jennings — in local news, Metro, the newsroom’s largest section. Jennings sued the Times alleging pay inequities, which violated California’s Equal Pay Act.

The Times cites the global pandemic and recent discussions about policing and racial injustice in America as the genesis of this self reflection. This editorial definitely gets down to the bedrock of injustice within the culture of the publication. It’s almost shocking to the viewers to hear the Los Angeles Times admit the first 80 years of their publication supported white supremacy. Something like this has simply never been done before by a publication of this magnitude. The L.A. Times looked back at some of the controversial things they supported throughout history. Supporting wartime incarceration of the Japanese, using terms like ‘wetback’ in their headlines, Dismissed attacks on young Mexican Americans by wartime soldiers in downtown Los Angeles. Racist editorial cartoons that created harmful caricatures of Mexicans. They laid it all on the table. Another very pivotal moment in history that was covered, was the L.A. Riots of 1992. The editorial discussed how Black reporters were sent out into the battlefield because white reporters did not feel comfortable doing so. In the months following, Black reporters were only utilized to cover stories of traumatic events. Their journey through history leads us to today, where 38 percent of their staff are people of color.

The L.A. Times laid it all out on the table, acknowledging its long history of perpetuating racism through its headlines. Whether you feel as though this is yet another pandering tactic from a company that has just recently been accused of racial injustice, they offered a very interesting look through history. Giving us a full scope of how media outlets helped fuel the negative stereotypes associated with people of color - that still permeates through society today.

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