Nola.com reports on an Aspen Institute talk on Tuesday, where New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Philly Mayor Mike Nutter wrestled with the issue of race in America.
Nutter said too much of the conversation about race is centered on violence:
Nutter opened with a common trope that politicians often aim at the media: that nightly newscasts lead with what bleeds, but don't go any farther. That they don't discuss those men who avoid murder and mayhem despite living in the same environment as killers. That they don't discuss the thousands of poor African-American boys and girls who go to school every day, who graduate from college, who start businesses.
"Most people don't know that because they are fed a daily diet on the 6 o'clock news, from 6:00 to 6:12, of every bad thing that's happened," Nutter said, adding later: "We need focus and attention and resources on (street violence) all across the United States of America."
But also suggested that the problem of violence needs more attention:
Calling it "mass murder in slow motion," Nutter pointed out that Congress in particular and Americans in general have become inured to the consequences of black-on-black violence in American cities.
"If the Ku Klux Klan killed 200 black men in the city of Philadelphia, I can assure you that we would be on lockdown," he said. "Every federal agency known to mankind would be up there trying to figure out what is going on. But 200 black men were killed in Philadelphia last year."
"If it was a different kind of situation folks would be outraged," Nutter said.
Which means today's question is: Can violence be both overreported and underappreciated at the same time?