Rampage is Racist

Reader’s Representative: Sorrowful news held extra challenges:

(Log in info) It seems that Kate Parry, the “Reader Representative” of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has an issue with the way the Red Lake shootings were reported…

Like anyone, journalists make mistakes, especially when working fast and under difficult conditions. There have been mistakes in the Red Lake coverage, which we’ve corrected. One that can’t really be corrected but warrants discussion is the headline used on the first day of coverage. In large type it read: “Rampage at Red Lake.”

While the technical definition of “rampage” would accurately describe a shooting that leaves 10 dead, it was a poorly chosen word to describe a catastrophe on an Indian reservation. Portrayals of “rampaging Indians” fed hateful stereotypes in books and movies for many years. Yet I’ve seen the word used in many media around the country to describe the Red Lake shooting.


Here in Minnesota, where so many neighbors are Native American, we have the opportunity to be better informed about native issues and sensitive to language. Someone should have stopped that headline before it saw print.

Emphasis mine.

So the word “rampage” is racist because Jeff Weise was an American Indian. Well, what word or phrase would you have preferred? That he went on a “merry jaunt”? That he “cavorted with bullets”? That he went on a “lead filled excursion”? The kid went on a fucking rampage. But if he was white, or black, or Hispanic, or Asian, then rampage would have been ok? It’s not like the headline read “Him go on warpath after he smoke ’em peace pipe”. Instead of trying to be politically correct how about reporting this thing called the truth. And sometimes the truth hurts. Deal with it.

Link via Tongue Tied.

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