On one level, what we have here is another sad, tragic, case of a person of color making false accusations of racism — violent racism in this case — against other people.
That’s an important story. But wait! There was a chance to link this attack to Donald Trump and his White House team. That makes it a bigger story, right? Maybe even a national story. #Obviously
We will deal with those issues rather quickly, because I think there is another interesting news story hidden inside this case study. It’s an angle that The Washington Post didn’t dwell on, but managed to handle in a way that was accurate and fair. NBC News, on the other hand, settled for stereotypes and politics.
Let’s start with NBC and this dramatic double-decker headline, before this story took a dramatic twist:
3 boys at Christian school where Karen Pence teaches allegedly cut black girl's dreadlocks
"They said my hair was nappy and I was ugly," the sixth-grade girl said.
That headline does say “allegedly,” which is important since the 12-year-old girl has now said the attack never happened. Her family says she made it up. That’s really all we need to say about that, methinks.
What interests me is how NBC handled the school involved in this story. This whole situation is newsworthy, of course, because Karen Pence teaches at this Christian school.
So, a black girl is bullied — with racist taunts — in a Christian school that is, somehow, connected to the white evangelical empire of Donald Trump.
Many readers probably asked: Why was this African-American student attending a white evangelical school? She was doomed from the start, since this has to be a white evangelical school if Karen Pence is teaching there. Right? All of those evangelical “Christian” schools are for white people, you know.
Now let’s turn to the Washington Post story that ran with this headline: “Virginia sixth-grader now says she falsely accused classmates of cutting her hair.” Here is the crucial statement from the family: