If Minneapolis Were Happening Elsewhere…

A solid piece of satire.

The “How Western media would write about this” meme has been around for awhile and is occasionally rather silly. Karen Attiah hits a solid triple, though, with “How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country.”

In recent years, the international community has sounded the alarm on the deteriorating political and human rights situation in the United States under the regime of Donald Trump. Now, as the country marks 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, the former British colony finds itself in a downward spiral of ethnic violence. The fatigue and paralysis of the international community are evident in its silence, America experts say.

The country has been rocked by several viral videos depicting extrajudicial executions of black ethnic minorities by state security forces. Uprisings erupted in the northern city of Minneapolis after a video circulated online of the killing of a black man, George Floyd, after being attacked by a security force agent. Trump took to Twitter, calling black protesters “THUGS“‘ and threatening to send in military force. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts!” he declared.

“Sure, we get it that black people are angry about decades of abuse and impunity,” said G. Scott Fitz, a Minnesotan and member of the white ethnic majority. “But going after a Target crosses the line. Can’t they find a more peaceful way, like kneeling in silence?”

Ethnic violence has plagued the country for generations, and decades ago it captured the attention of the world, but recently the news coverage and concern are waning as there seems to be no end in sight to the oppression. “These are ancient, inexplicable hatreds fueling these ethnic conflicts and inequality,” said Andreja Dulic, a foreign correspondent whose knowledge of American English consists of a semester course in college and the occasional session on the Duolingo app. When told the United States is only several hundred years old, he shrugged and said, “In my country, we have structures still from the Roman empire. In their culture, Americans think that a 150-year-old building is ancient history.”

Britain usually takes an acute interest in the affairs of its former colony, but it has also been affected by the novel coronavirus. “We’ve seen some setbacks with the virus, but some Brits see the rising disease, staggering unemployment and violence in the States and feel as if America was never ready to govern itself properly, that it would resort to tribal politics,” said Andrew Darcy Morthington, a London-based America expert. During the interview, a news alert informed that out of the nearly 40,000 coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom, 61 percent of the health-care workers who have died were black and or have Middle Eastern backgrounds. Morthington didn’t seem to notice. “Like I was saying, we don’t have those American racism issues here.”

More at the link.

FILED UNDER: Humor, Media, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    “Like I was saying, we don’t have those American racism issues here…”

    Oh, but you do, Mr. Worthington. You most certainly do. (You also have a grammar problem, but that’s by the by.) I lived in the U.K. for four years, and one of the most consistently irritating types of Brits were the ones who effected to believe that the U.S. was a hellhole of non-stop racial violence and that the U.K. was a paradise of racial harmony. No, it was not. This was in the early to mid 1970s, and I can tell you that Pakistani immigrants–a hardworking, law-abiding group–were treated like absolute garbage by ethnic Britons. I don’t just mean the yobs who went Paki-bashing. I mean educated, cultivated, allegedly liberal Brits who claimed the Pakistanis weren’t “ready” to attend university.

    If there’s strife now, and there is, the Brits brought it on themselves by their truly inhumane treatment of their Asian populace. You reap what you sow.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @CSK:

    Oh, but you do, Mr. Worthington. You most certainly do.

    I’m pretty sure that’s part of the satire. People commenting on other societies are often blind to similar problems at home.

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  3. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    You know, I didn’t realize it was satire till I saw your sub-head. The reason I didn’t realize it was satire was that all of the sentiments expressed sounded exactly–and I mean exactly–like what I heard in the four years I lived in the U.K., even down to the pensees of the apparently fictional Worthington.

    In order to work, satire has to be a slightly exaggerated version of reality, not identical to reality.

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  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Is it satire? Or is it just an accurate, unbiased report? This is exactly how I see the country, in as objective away as possible, as part of the larger world and within the currents of history, subtracting American hubris and know-nothingism.

    Being an American today is like being a South African in the early 90’s. It’s humiliating.

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  5. Monala says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I recall reading a satirical column in Newsweek back in the ’90s, written by a Serbian living abroad. It was called something like, “What it’s like to be an international pariah.” I’ve been remembering that a lot lately, because we are fast heading for that territory.

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  6. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds

    Heh. Remember that book published after GWB’s ’04 win?

    Sorry Everybody: An Apology to the World for the Re-election of George W. Bush.

    It’s almost like… Ah, forget it.

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  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Yeah, the exaggeration issue is problematical, though. I recall Dickens having said in a letter to a friend that he sometimes had to downplay conditions that he wanted to satirize because if he had shown real conditions, his readers would have disregarded his writing as too unrealistic.

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  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s certainly not a “Profiles in Courage” moment, is it? On the other hand and to the credit of the intelligentsia, it does reinforce their view of America as “exceptional.”

  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Somehow “right wing” got elided out of the description of which “intelligentsia” I was referring to. My bad.

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