July 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Star Headline on IHOP N-Word Slur Only Tells Half The Story, Less Actually

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“Teen ‘distraught and upset’ after KC-area IHOP server prints N-word on her receipt,” shouts the headline of this hot-breaking story in the Kansas City Star.

Unlike many such stories, maybe most, this story proves not to be a fraud, at least not a total fraud. Apparently, nineteen-year-old Maya Thomas of Kansas City actually did receive a receipt along with the N-word in capital letters on her to-go order April 13 at the IHOP on U.S. 71 in Grandview.

IHOP investigated and fired the server. IHOP management apologized to Thomas and sent her a $10 gift certificate. “I think that’s really what made her mad,” said Thomas’s mom. “Of all the things you could call someone, you call them that. And then the way you deal with it is by giving them 10 dollars?”

Opines the Star, “The slur is the latest in a string of national and local incidents of animus against African-American customers at restaurants that have stirred the national debate on the pitfalls of ‘dining while black.'”

The Star then adds, “This incident stands out because both parties are the same race.” To be fair, the Star acknowledged near the beginning of the article, “The server is black as well.”

This raises the question of why this is a news story at all and why the Star so casually conflates it with other alleged insults to black/gay/lesbian patrons, many of which have proved to be bogus.

The reality is that a black nineteen-year-old may hear the n-word used a hundred times a day, especially if he or she listens to hip-hop music.

As the Star editors know, many people never get beyond the headlines. All that stories like this do is create a sense of victimization where none is warranted.

It is time for a moratorium on stories of this nature unless they rise to a standard of genuine threat or injury. And if the Star insists on telling such stories, its editors cannot only tell those in which their preferred minorities are the victim.

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