Today, Bob Moore published one of the most condescending social media posts that I have ever seen in my life. Moore – a white American – is trying hard to be part of America’s reckoning of its past that he posts the most patronizing and arrogant depiction of the minorities that work for him at El Paso Matters, that can be put into words. Putting aside, for a moment, that I believe that Bob Moore is a dishonest journalist, his Twitter post smacks of white-supremacy wrapped in the package of look at me, I’m not one of those white-supremacists subjugating America’s minorities. Just look at all the “people of color” I’ve hired.
Bob Moore wrote that “a key goal” was “to build a newsroom that is reflective” of El Paso. El Paso is home to a mix of about 83% Hispanic, according to the latest Census Bureau data. White-American, that is not Latino, makes up about 11% of the city’s population. According to El Paso Matters’ website, the staff at the online publication consists of 15 individuals, including Moore. It is unclear how Moore defines “people of color” but by looking at the staffing list on the publication’s website, we can surmise that 80% of the staff would be 12 staffers that can be categorized as “people of color.”
If the staffing list on the website is correct, we can extrapolate that three individuals at El Paso Matters can be classified as not “people of color,” if we are to take Moore at his word that his staff is representative of El Paso. One of the staffers would be Bob Moore, clearly a white-American. The other two would be difficult to ascertain based on last names alone.
Where Bob Moore is clearly patronizing is in the description of his newsroom: “all of our newsroom, led by” Ramon Bracamontes, “are people of color.” Although his byline appears regularly, I do not believe that he is including himself as part of his newsroom as that is unlikely as he is not “people of color.”
Therein lies the problem. Bob Moore has separated himself from his newsroom although his byline appears in the publication. Was this intentional, him separating himself from his “people of color,” he is white, after all? As a white man in America, Moore is letting readers know he is separate from his “people of color,” kind of like the master managing his minions – the “people of color.”
In describing his newsroom, Moore ascribes a false value system to his newsroom staffers. Instead of choosing to describe the newsroom as staffed with quality, educated and experienced professionals, Moore, instead chooses to trumpet them as nothing more than props to show off his success with, or, I would argue, his superiority.
Pulitzer Prize author, Isabel Wilkinson explains America’s caste system as the systematic oppression of “people of color” where “race is the metric that’s used to determine one’s place” in society.
This is precisely what Bob Moore does to his newsroom staff in his Twitter post. Instead of championing their journalistic credentials, Moore chose, instead, to champion their skin color as the reason they were hired by him, the white-American man.
Wilkerson’s theory on race equates white supremacy in America “to the cast system in India” where the value of an individual is determined by “a division of lineage” which evolved from a division of labor. The minions working for the master.
In her writings, Wilkerson wrote that “caste is insidious and therefore powerful because it is not hatred; it is not necessarily personal,” adding that the “social order have been in place for so long that it looks like the natural order of things.”
Looking at Moore’s Twitter post, the “natural order of things” seems to be, by his own post, an overlord consisting of Bob Moore valuing “people of color” by their skin color and not their accomplishments. If Bob Moore understood how insidious, disrespectful and condescending his post is, he would have instead posted something along the lines of “I am proud to have staffed a newsroom of professional journalists that represent the people of our community.” Instead, Moore chose to ascribe a value system to his newsroom based on the color of their skin.
I am sure the condescending tone of Moore’s Twitter post is lost to him. It is lost to him because as a white man in America he has come to value success by the “people of color” he hires, based on the color of their skin. He lives his vision of the “natural order of things,” which is the people of color working for his success through their skin colors. It makes one wonder if a qualified white American was passed over by Bob Moore because their expertise didn’t match the color of their skin.
Individuals like Bob Moore do not understand minority issues because they look at American through a prism of a caste system that places value on skin color over accomplishments. It is why Bob Moore sees no problem with diminishing his newsroom by pointing out the color of their skins.