Richard Cohen: Being Afraid of Black People Isn't Racist
Internet not happy about racial columns
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 16, 2013 2:44 PM CDT
An image of Trayvon Martin is seen during a demonstration in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, July 15, 2013, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) Washington Post op-ed writer Richard Cohen sent some people searching for pitchforks today, with a column declaring that he "can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize." And apparently that opinion was going around among op-ed writers at major newspapers, because Jason Riley at the Wall Street Journal wrote a similar column running through black crime statistics. "Did the perception of black criminality play a role in Martin's death?" he asks. "We may never know for certain, but we do know that those negative perceptions of black men are rooted in hard data on who commits crimes."

Cohen in particular is taking a bunch of heat—the Atlantic Wire called the piece "racist and wrong"—so he talked with Politico to clear the air, explaining that hoodies are "worn by a whole lot of thugs," and that it's not racist to suspect black men wearing them. "I'm trying to remove this fear from racism," he says. "I don't think it's racism to say, 'this person looks like a menace.'" The Post is standing by the piece, saying it's "open to a range of views." Cohen's been here before; back in 1986 he wrote a piece supporting jewelry store owners' right to ban young black men.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Richard Cohen: Being Afraid of Black People Isn't Racist is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 313 comments
Aug 20, 2014 6:10 AM CDT
Hoodies are worn by WOMEN because that little pocket in the front is so damn handy for your cellphone and to hide the muffin top.... hoodies.... any excuse in a storm to be racist, that's what this conversation is about. We live in a god damn insane world where it's always black kids are killed for going to the store for skittles, for jay walking in a small town, for asking for help after you've had a car wreck. And then people wonder why black people and human beings of other colors are upset about it? BIZARRO WORLD!! Newser promotes this racist Richard Cohen and treat it like it's just another perspective. It's a racist perspective. Give Richard Cohen a white hood cause he's a fake till he puts it on.
Jul 21, 2013 5:17 PM CDT
Zimmerman wasn't simply suspicious. He decided that Trayvon was guilty. That's why he said, "They always get away." That's not a comment one makes because they are suspicious. He assumed that Trayvon was guilty. And shortly after making that comment, Trayvon Martin was dead. The same mentality applied with the 76 year white senior who shot point blank his black 13 year old neighbour, who he accused of breaking into his home and stealing his guns. His surveillance camera (viewed by the police) showed two black youths coming from inside his home but their hands were empty and it was not his 13 year old neighbour. But that didn't matter to the 76 year old. He decide the child was guilty and shot the kid to death.
Jul 18, 2013 10:30 AM CDT
Richard Cohen also wrote a story on jewelry store owners should be allowed to refuse to let black men enter their stores, so we know how his mind works. He is a cancer with a pen. The post obviously agrees with him for allowing his article to be printed, so hit them in the pocket and cancel your subscription.