The River Valley Times has some explaining to do after running an op-ed discussing the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark.
This past week, the newspaper in Rancho Murieta, California came under fire after they published an opinion piece calling for a curfew for Black men.
The ridiculous and blatantly racist suggestion was included in an opinion piece written by Marcia Courson, a white woman, who thought she was qualified to make a social commentary on the March 18th shooting death of Stephon Clark; the young man killed by two Sacramento officers in his grandmother’s backyard.
Courson, who has reportedly been a freelance op-ed writer for a decade (and therefore should know better by now) had her tone-deaf masterpiece included in the print version of the newspaper last Wednesday. Shortly thereafter images of her snippet started to circulate online and eventually went viral.
“In Stephon’s situation, the cell phone he carried looked like a small black gun,” Marcia explains to those of us who have never seen a cell phone before—or a gun. “Police have to be careful not to overreact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour.”
“So we need to ask ourselves before overreacting or advocating reduction of these shootings — Do we really understand why a shooting occurred?” Courson continued. “We must not immediately assume that a policeman has no reason to confront a suspect.”
To add insult to injury, Friday, River Valley Times publisher and general manager Dave Herburger told the Sacramento Bee that even though he was responsible for running the column, he actually didn’t bother to read it beforehand, because the paper’s editor was out sick.
"You black men might be better off at home after a certain hour." Opinion columnist Marcia Courson wrote this in an article about the #StephonClark shooting in the River Valley Times. On @FOX40 the publication apologizes for not proof reading it, says it made them sick. pic.twitter.com/4SUw5QwT1v
— Nicole Comstock (@ComstockNEWS) April 13, 2018
Herburger said the writer was “very apologetic, apologized on her behalf, then conceded that her statements were “not acceptable” and that “having a race-based curfew connotes Nazi Germany.”
Yes Dave, that’s exactly what Marcia sounds like.
Herburger also admits that the columnist has always been a heavily opinionated writer but has never crossed the line quite so aggressively in the past. So he’s unsure if she will continue working for the newspaper moving forward.
If suggesting that pesky negroes stay in the house so they don’t get shot by police isn’t enough to get a freelancer canned without hesitation then…
According to the latest census data, 89 percent of residents who live in Rancho Murieta are white. Only one percent are black. Which means that while they may be foul Marcia’s sentiments probably echo those of much of her community.
Brandon Cager who is part of the black one percent is shocked by what’s transpired.
“We’ve lived out here what, a year and a half and been welcomed and never had any issues on that,” Cager said.
But that’s just how modern day racism works isn’t it? The same neighbors who smile in your face and act like you’re welcome because you’re “one of the good ones”, will in the next breath see a news story about Stephon Clark and be quick to dismiss him as a thug.
Thug being the favorite code word for white people who know better than to say the n-word in public (but secretly really want to).
This just another example of what happens when you let old white people who grew up during the Jim Crow era tell you what they really think about black people being gunned down in broad daylight.
UPDATE: It’s now been confirmed that after a petition calling for Courson’s dismissal began circulating, The River Valley Times has finally decided to cut ties with the 75 year old writer.
“I would like to believe I would have at least edited out that one sentence, if not the whole thing,” Herburger said when he broke the news.
Dave’s carefully worded attempt to save face during this PR nightmare speaks volumes.
White privilege is a hell of a drug.