Tulsa race riot

Black men are rounded up during the Tulsa race riot.

Journalism has never been quick to admit its complicity, or even its downright guilt, with white supremacy in America. It's hard to admit fault. But admitting it is the right thing to do.

The Star is fortunate in that its editorial board supported civil rights and black equality during the civil rights movement. (Way back at the turn of the century, The Star's predecessors, The Evening Star and The Hot Blast, own records that are a bit more tainted.)

Many Southern newspapers, however, did just the opposite. They either willfully ignored the need to advocate for equality or, even worse, sided with racists who wanted to prevent black Americans from gaining their constitutional rights.

Given all that, this Poynter report -- "Maligned in black and white: Southern newspapers played a major role in racial violence. Do they owe their communities an apology?" -- is an absolute must-read. It is brutal, truthful, honest and eye-opening.

The author, Mark I. Pinsky, writes, "In recent years, a handful of the region’s newspapers have stepped forward to accept responsibility for biased reporting and editorials, shouldering their share of the burden of racist Southern history. They are acknowledging — belatedly — what their forebearers did and did not do in covering racism, white supremacy, terror and segregation over the past 150 years. Some newspapers ... had especially grievous sins to confess."

-- Phillip Tutor

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