There's a popular blog that has recently taken umbrage with trends in the cover of a certain magazine. Every year for a while now, this magazine has featured a "gatefold" cover. The type with one main cover, and two additional panels that fold out, with the "power cover" being the one on the left. This blog shows about half of them, and points out that most of these have only had white people on the cover, with the implication that this is racist.
Let me summarize;
- Take a feature that has been going on for nearly twenty years.
- Find only the covers that support your thesis.
- Show several of these covers.
- Mention in an aside, but do not actually show, the covers that contradict you.
- Use a title that implies active racism, in a field historically known to be racist, but in a deniable fashion that nonetheless biases the casual reader.
- Do not mention a single alternative explanation, such as sheer statistical happenstance.
- Make broad generalizations about race in said field to close out the post, using a recent race-related controversy.
- Never actually directly accuse anyone of racism.
- Watch commenters trip all over themselves to talk about how you've clearly exposed racism, and swarm over anyone who points out the holes in your argument.
One of the commenters even went so far as to point out that covers with POCs on the cover were "obviously tokenism". So even when they do exactly the thing the post complains they don't do enough, it doesn't count. I have a habitual distrust of any claim something is "obvious", because I find it's often used by people who are are too biased to consider any alternatives. When they say "obvious", they mean "impossible that it could be anything else".
The funny thing was, the blog didn't limit itself to the front cover, in what's basically the textbook definition of No True Scotsman. If no people of color were selected for the cover at all, it pointed it out, but if POCs were on the cover, it still doesn't count because they weren't on the front
cover. And when they are on the front cover, they don't matter in the light of the obvious racism of them predominantly not being on the front cover.
This is like saying the NBA has biased hiring because most of its players are black, without considering other factors like the fact that a disproportionate of the men who try to get into the NBA are black. Actually, that was one of the most unrealistic things about "Hang Time". That, and the basketball court being only slightly larger than your average parking space.
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