Houck generously allowed that, “Not every black kid is doing this. It’s very few, but if you are the victim, if you are a potential victim and you are afraid walking down the street, you see a group of black youths, everybody I am talking to says they are crossing the street, getting away from them,” and added that “the good black kids will be saying ‘Why are you crossing the street when I walk by?’”
While Pereira pointed out that the “majority” of black kids aren’t doing this, and Cuomo added that “Black kids are getting clocked, too,” their guest expert never gets around to offering any alternative to crossing the street to protect yourselves. He even reiterated it later in the segment, in what could double as a spot-on media criticism. “This is creating terror on the streets, I know,” Houck said. “People are, as soon as they see black youths, like I say, everybody I have talked to, I know you don’t like that, Michaela, but you can understand why they think that way.”
Houck also referenced the classic “the good blacks” frame, which reinforced his earlier suggestion that black teenagers who don’t viciously knock people out are someho the exception.
As far as anyone can tell, of course, these crimes are exceedingly rare, and you are orders of magnitude more likely to be killed or injured crossing the street than walking past a group of black youths. This sort of fear-mongering is nothing, new, though; it’s not as if white people really needed another excuse to be scared of black kids. What is somewhat new is the attempt to normalize it. Pereira’s objections notwithstanding, little is done to challenge the logic of Houck’s commentary.
CNN, and the rest of the media, would do well to resist focusing on the racial aspect of these crimes, and instead serve the public with information they can use, such as the serious medical consequences that loss of consciousness can entail.
Watch the segment from CNN’s “New Day”.