Posted by: anniewilson | May 19, 2009

“5 of the 6 victims were prostitutes”

to write something in the morning, I usually hope to make people smile. But sometimes stupid stuff annoys the heck out of me and I have to tell you about it. When possible I try to make my rantings amusing but it’s not always easy to do. Let’s see what I can to with the reporting of serial killers.

This morning I was listening to the news and I heard the following sentence, “The DNA has been matched to the murder of 6 women, 5 of them prostitutes.” I have no idea what the last woman did for a living, but apparently it isn’t salacious enough to mention. No one wants to hear, “The victim worked at the local McDonald’s.”

When I was a kid, the news ALWAYS referred to black victims as “colored victims”. If there was no mention of race in a report, you could be assured that the people involved were white. Race was ONLY mentioned in a news report if the victim or perpetrator wasn’t white. I think I was about 8 when I picked up on that odd little praxis. It made no sense to me but I was only 8, maybe there was something that I didn’t know.

Later in life I noticed that movies, TV shows, and the media NEVER do anything without a reason. It may not be clear right away, but eventually you see why the the leading lady cut her finger. Nothing is done simply for the sake of doing it.

I can think of one reason that the media described black people involved in a crime as “colored” or “Negro”. At the time the media was perpetuating the notion that blacks are somehow different than white people. Can you think of any other possible reason to mention race in a news report? It may be a pertinent fact but more often than not, it was mentioned for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Were we supposed to hear that “A colored man was shot last night.” and think to ourselves, “Oh, for a minute there I thought, that’s so sad. Thank the Lord they told us it was only a colored guy.”?

Which brings me back to the serial killer and his 5 prostitute victims….what does the fact that the victims were hookers add to the story? If they had gone into detail and were discussing the actual crimes, it might have been pertinent. But the way it was tossed into a report about DNA, it served no purpose at all. And, as I said before, there is ALWAYS a reason for what the media does. What reason could they have for mentioning the job of a prostitute but not the job of a non-prostitute?

Are we supposed to react the same way when a prostitute is murdered as we did in the 1960’s when a black man was murdered? Are we supposed to think to ourselves, “Oh, well they were only hookers, they were begging to be raped and murdered.”? If not, why would they mention it at all?

Of course there are times when the job of a victim is a pertinent fact in the commission of a crime just as it’s occasionally pertinent to mention the race of the victim. Years ago, the media stopped mentioning race unless it added something relevant to the story being reported. And newspapers did away with Help Wanted ads for “Females” that were separate from the Help Wanted ads for “Males” decades ago. It’s a shame that prostitutes can’t organize. In today’s age of political correctness, I doubt it would take more than one decent sized protest to put a stop to the useless practice of mentioning the jobs of murder victims, but only if they are hookers.

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