Here we go again. The New York Times has a story today about rape in war torn Somalia.
It is difficult to critique this sort of journalism without seeming to be blasé about sexual assault. I am not at all uncaring about rape survivors here or abroad, but I am very wary of the media showing interest in women of color only when they are rape victims and the circumstances permit wholesale finger pointing at all black people. The Times has never given its readers a true history of the Somalia conflict, which is a direct result of American intervention.
The al-Shabab are not some crazed group of so-called Islamists. They are the resistance fighting against the U.S. instigated Ethiopian incursion into their country. Somalia has been destroyed by the United States and that destruction has gone largely unreported. All of that country’s terrors, from rape to starvation, can be laid at Uncle Sam’s door step.
I wrote about this phenomenon of phony concern for black women in my column last year.
“Nothing excites the imaginations of Americans like lurid tales of sexual perversion among black people. The corporate media leap upon any and every report of sexual assault committed among black people with a peculiar delight. The scene of the crime may be Darfur, the Congo or Haiti, but the stories always create a narrative of animalistic Africans and give the impression that entire groups of people should not be considered human beings.”
The comments from Times readers were true to form, calling Somali men animals, blaming Islam, and of course advocating for more U.S. terror under the guise of humanitarian intervention.
If New York Times reporters want to write about sexual assault, they don’t have to go all the way to Somalia. They might talk to police in any American jurisdiction or go to one of the 70 prisons located in the state of New York and talk to victims of rapes carried out by other prisoners or prison personnel.
Of course, writing about rape in America’s prisons would open a can of worms which most people would rather not see. It is far easier to point the finger at a faraway land populated by black people.
Anyone horrified by the stories of these crimes does not have to write a check to an NGO. A better course of action is demanding that the U.S. leave Somalia alone. Talk about a can of worms, we might actually have to make demands of the president and congress. Wringing our hands about a newspaper article is a lot easier.