Carmen Wong Ulrich Silly of us not to realize that “class” exists, but its definition depends greatly on who’s doing the talking, and what about. How someone speaks could have you deem them of a lower “class” even if he/she is a self-made millionaire. Professionally, some deem those with no college degree (or even no grad degree) as of a lesser “class.” However, there is a real discussion about the ability of Americans to maintain a solid middle class and what middle means. Does that mean home ownership? Two cars and cellphones? How much money you make, or what you do with it?
Monica Guzman I’ll echo Mary Beth Williams and say that tone deafness with regard to class—writing about people in a certain place in a certain situation in a way that seems out of touch to those people—is a problem. But it’s a tricky problem. Who else, after all, is talking about class? It’s one of those burdens media must carry, figuring out how to talk about something there’s really no language for, no agreed-upon codes, and little consensus across regions. They’re bound to get hammered when they try. But at least we try. Class is a force in American culture. The denial of class, too, is a particular feature of American self-perception, where it exists.
Maybe it’s one of the many areas in journalism where we have to take risks—where, for the sake of informing the public, we have to pick words and phrases and concepts, do our darnedest to make sure they reflect reality, and put them to the ultimate test—publication. If we’re off, we’re off, and rather than shy away from it, we should own the conversation about why, and how to make future coverage better.
Coverage of race and immigration in America
Farai Chideya If we were to write the mea culpa of race coverage for 2050, what would it be? What are we missing now? And how do we deal with what we missed before?
Raju Narisetti In hindsight, we might be apologizing for treating race through a white/nonwhite prism, long after America became much more multicultural, and race reporting ought to have become as much about covering “white” issues, and not just in relation to nonwhite “minorities.”
Vivek Wadhwa By 2050, we will be color-blind or not exist as a race. Humanity will evolve to the point that we create an abundance of food, water, energy, knowledge—all the things we fight for and that divide society. Along the way, we will have much more time to think—and to evolve. I have little doubt that if we don’t blow ourselves up in the next decade or two, we will achieve our potential as a race.
Raju Narisetti I love Vivek for many reasons—he is at once aspirational and idealistic. And sometimes unrealistic. As in a race-blind 2050.
Maria Ebrahamji Our “In America” section on CNN.com focuses on these issues, through the lens of identity. Sometimes we as journalists think too much about the facts and not enough about providing context to our viewer/reader. I recall that a lot of the news reporting after the last census focused on who we are as Americans (our racial makeup, economic diversity, etc.). I am more fascinated by the idea of how we are living and why we live that way.
Eric Deggans I write a lot about how race and prejudice play out in media. But I was still shocked during an interview with Shirley Sherrod—yes, that “Breitbarted” Shirley Sherrod [who was bullied into resigning from a government job after racial comments she made were taken out of context]—when she told me a high school near her home in Georgia still has segregated proms. Far as the nation has come on racial issues, especially in big cities, there is a still a lot of prejudice and ignorance out there. I have a feeling future news outlets will be apologizing for allowing the level of racial animus toward nonwhite people which still appears on Fox News Channel, the Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, and many areas of conservative media.
Tristan Ahtone When it comes to reporting in Indian Country, one of the biggest issues I see is reporters’ inability or lack of interest in getting to know communities on a level deeper than can be found through statistics. Crime, casinos, and cultural revitalization are all important topics, but reporters could be digging deeper. Spend time with the communities you want to report on. Native communities are traditionally closed off to outsiders, and in gaining a community’s trust, you’ll be able to get to stories that are truly underreported and important to the people you cover.