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Validating Racist Views


I’m writing to you about your cover [“The Faces of Rape,” Oct. 21, City Weekly]. It is important to talk, fight and condemn sexual assault as well as a sexist system that blames the victim. At the same time, it’s rare that the media give a full front page to nonwhite people, and when it does happen, it’s mostly to portray us—the nonwhites—as criminals, savages, exotic creatures and inadequate individuals. In short, it ends up depriving whole communities of our dignity and humanity.

This is not about political correctness; I do not believe in such a hypocritical thing. I do believe in getting tired, angry and refusing to silently swallow this. Is City Weekly unaware of American history, or blatantly using it to attract readers? The portrayal of black men as insatiable sexual savages who want to rape white women is as old as slavery (or older) and the effects of this racist belief/stereotype are still felt throughout our communities.

In the past, I have enjoyed how progressive City Weekly has been but on this occasion I’m not only disappointed, I’m angry. I challenge your magazine to have another story with full front-page cover of a nonwhite individual who is portrayed with dignity—that would speak well of the great things that our communities and individuals of color are doing.

This story on sexual assault is real. However, it is always in the power of the media (you) to decide how to present it, what image to give, and, most importantly, whether to do a story on the black criminals or the black community leaders who are doing great work for the community. The way City Weekly decided to portray this story is hurtful, clichéd and destructive.

The story talks about very real and heinous issues—sexual assault, sexism and the systems that blame the victims/survivors—but I wish it would not do it by promoting racism. I doubt the article will have the power to change mentalities on sex, gender and sexual assault. But I do believe it will validate views that certain types of people are to blame i.e. people of color.

Alejandro Maya
Salt Lake City

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