The other day I came across the blog website, The Gawker and an editorial by a blogger named, Drew Magary, who claimed that he did an expose’ on finding which cities across the nation are known for being most racist of all others. After reading his blog that was published on 26-September 2012, and having read comments by some of his readers, it is clear that Magary has no validity to justify his claims, yet; he steers his readers into believing what he preaches to be the truth. The title of his article alone suggests a rhetorical statement leading readers to believe that St. Louis is the most racist city in America.
Personally, I had never heard of this website until I read the article and from what I have researched about this company is that it is, more or less a gossip website based out of Australia with several blog related gossip websites (Gawker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jezebel, and io9.com); and with names like these it is no wonder why many are probaly not to familiar with Gawker and its sister websites. It is also my understanding that these websites will publish practically every tip they receive whether any facts have been verified; and therefore, readers should not believe everything they read by authors like Drew Magary. Just the same, the following article will summarize Magary’s false claims, statistics, and comments made by other readers on his blog. I attempted to research Magary’s profile but upon clicking on his profile link, it was blank. In addition, I glanced over some of his other articles which seem to require a, “R-rating” due to his use of language, which may not be age appropriate for children and young adults.
In the article, “The Most Racist City In Ameria: St. Louis?” , Magary claims that The Gawker is attempting to do a study to determine which city is more racist but lacks any solid research such as socio-economic statistics or crime rates that is typically found in the FBI’s uniformed crime reports (UCRs). In Magary’s argument, he discusses the history of racism in Saint Louis by listing several bullet points; however, he does not included all of dates in which these unfortunate incidents took place. Not to mention that Magary’s use of the data below is skewed because he talked about the East St. Louis race riots in which (1) occurred nearly 100-years ago and (2) East St. Louis is not in Saint Louis, Missouri – this is a all too common mistake made by those who do not live near St. Louis. East St. Louis is technically in Illinois and not Missouri.
- “The famous Dred Scott case was first filed in St. Louis. The United States Supreme Court eventually rejected Scott’s bid for freedom and declared that African Americans could not claim citizenship in the US.”
- The East St. Louis race riots of 1917, in which “white mobs formed and rampaged through downtown, beating all African Americans who were found. The mobs also stopped trolleys and streetcars, pulling black passengers out and beating them on the streets and sidewalks.”
- The Manhattan Institute has deemed St. Louis one of the most segregated cities in America.
For those who are not familiar with the case of Dred Scott, he was an African American slave who was sued over the price of his family’s freedom. The case is best known as the ‘Dred Scott Decision’ or Dred Scott vs. Sandford (1857). In 1846, Mr. Scott filed a lawsuit in St. Louis Circuit Court and was later retried in the eastern-federal court of St. Louis in 1847. Mr. Scott lost the case. In 1850, a St. Louis jury determined that Scott and his family should be granted freedom because they had been illegally held as slaves during their extended residence in the free jurisdictions of Illinois and Wisconsin. The case was appealed. In 1852, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the lower court ruling and concluded, “Times now are not as they were when the previous decisions on this subject were made.”
Yes; the case of Dred Scott was a call for concern back then and has precedence today but for Magary to suggest that St. Louis is racist today based on this case, which was nearly 160-years ago, suggests that Magary has mislead readers into believing false claims based on his own skewed opinions.
As for the East St. Louis race riots, yes; that was a horrible incident too but once again, East St. Louis is not the same as St. Louis even though some crimes do occur across the stateliness. In addition, as I stated above, this statistic is nearly a century old and I refuse to believe that civil rights have long been forgotten in St. Louis city and county; but, that is just my opinion and has no factual basis.
Another misleading fact by Magary involves the Manhattan Institute. Yes; this study is a current set of data (2011-2012); however, once again, Magary has mislead the public. Not only does he claim that the Manhattan Institute has declared St. Louis one of the most segregated cities in America but he even hyperlinked his article to reference the data provided by the Manhattan Institute. I suspect that Magary figured that most people would not take the time to read the complete report with all of the statistical data. I did.
In the January article by the Manhattan Institute, “The end of the segregated century: racial separation in America’s neighborhoods, 1890-2010”
Data (refer to slideshow)
- In Table 1: Segregation in the Nation’s top 10 Metropolitan Areas from 2000-2010, St. Louis is not listed.
- In Table 2: The largest cities with increases in segregation from 2000-2010, St. Louis is not listed.
- In Table 3: Cities with the largest declines in dissimilarity from 2000-2010, St. Louis is not listed.
- In Table 4: Long-run segregation trends in the nation’s most segregated cities, St. Louis is not listed.
- In Table 5: Segregation in the largest cities by African-American population, St. Louis is listed among 13 cities; however, this data is not reflected by the same data as is with Tables 1-4. In Tables 1-4, the data was based on a 10-year census where as with table 5, it is a comparison between 1970 and 2010.
The study completed by the institute was to determine any declines in segregation and not to determine which cities are more racist than others or which city is the most racist. I suspect that for Magary he had figured that if he headlined his article about St. Louis being more racist than any other city and redirected readers to a study with tables of cities where St. Louis was listed; however briefly, he hoped that everyone would simply assume his findings to be valid.
Magary also stated a question in bold-black type, “Police Brutality?” Magary responded in bold-red type, “Yes.” However, once again Magary does not back up his findings with any reliable data. As a matter of fact, he did not list any data in his blog to support this claim.
Does police brutality exist in St. Louis – unfortunately, yes it does, as it does in many cities across the nation. According to Magary he would have readers believe that outdated media stories, crime statistics are all the proof that we need. Now, I am not suggesting that we turn a blind-eye to past incidents but rather that we use them as pivotal points in the timeline. For example, in Los Angeles there were the Watt Riots in 1965 and the L.A. riots in 1992 following the Rodney King beating by police officers. Does this mean that every year between 1965 and 1992 resulted in police brutality? It could have, but that would require statistical data between those specific years and specifically within the city of Los Angeles.
Even if we were to take a pivotal incident like the Rodney King incident in 1992 abd take a close look at the years between 1992 and 2012 in Los Angeles alone, I suspect that for the most part, things like racial profiling and community policing have changed for the better over the last 20-years in Los Angels; however, Magary would have readers believe that because of the 1992 Rodney King incident, Los Angeles is known for its police brutality. This could be true but I hypothesize that there are additional factors to prove or disprove this claim.
Based on the facts that Magary has used as his foundation for claiming that St. Louis or any city for that matter is at the top of the food chain for racism is unfounded at best. Furthermore, his blind accusations suggest that the residents of St. Louis are not doing anything to change its past. I admit that some police officers are a bit racially challenged and some people still think of the city as where the blacks live and the county as where the white live, or where the rich and the poor live, but this type of ignorance is in need of some educational awareness. We have to move forward by finding away to look beyond skin colors and see everyone as equals and not as something one scrapes off the bottom of their shoes, as Magary would mislead people to believe. I for one, would like to believe that the residents of St. Louis are better than this.