Main Sections:
Main Site
Discussion Forum
    All Topics
    New Messages
    Search
    Last Day
    Last Week
    Tree View
    Edit Profile
    Create Login
    Guidelines
    Help
Game Chat
Fund Raiser:
Order Merchandise!

Suggested Reading:
(click cover for info)

cover

SF Chron: Does Oakland Get a Bad Rap?

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: SF Chron: Does Oakland Get a Bad Rap?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 03:38 pm:

Finally something in the Chronicle worth reading:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/02/02/IN133044.DTL

URBAN STUDIES
In defense of Oakland
There's more there there than you think

Vicki Haddock, Insight Staff Writer Sunday, February 2, 2003

--------------------------------------------------

Timing hasn't been this stupendously lousy for the city of Oakland since a decade ago, when former Mayor Elihu Harris unveiled chirpy new "Welcome to Oakland" signs just as the city was rocked by seven homicides in a 24-hour period.

The people of Oakland know about Murphy's law - if anything can go wrong, it will - and its corollary - if there's a worse time for something to go wrong, that's precisely when it will.

Last Sunday morning, effervescent optimism swept the streets: Residents envisioned their Raiders not only scoring a Super Bowl victory but restoring a measure of national respect for their oft-maligned town. Fast-forward 24 hours,

and the only thing sweeping the streets were brooms clearing away shards of shattered storefronts after overnight rioting along a 20-block stretch of International Boulevard.

The city has long chafed against its dismal reputation as a mecca for drug- gang drive-by shootings, but had enjoyed something of a renaissance. Now it was in a bad spotlight again.

Never mind that nobody was killed or seriously injured, or that the aggregate damage to the three most affected businesses was low by riot- standards: $100,000. The city's image was under siege.

"It's so frustrating to have people from elsewhere always feeling sorry for you about where you live. You can hear the pity in their voice," said native Lisa Ruhland, who works downtown.

Around the nation, condemnation was swift and broad.

Interviewing a vandalized merchant, a TV reporter repeatedly observed, "Guess that's just the cost of doing business in Oakland."

A Boston Herald columnist cited the riot as "just one more difference between the excitable but civilized fans of New England and the worthless tripe of Raider Nation. . . . When you look at the evolutionary chart of the modern sports fan, supporters of the Raiders remain all the way to one side, still walking on all fours, only a couple of grunts ahead of British soccer hooligans. Even their style of rioting was tedious and unoriginal."

And a letter-to-the-editor from Florida fan Richard Boettger chided, "You might be interested in the results of all-night partying and celebrations in the Greater Tampa Bay Area: Total number of arrests: 0. Total property damage caused by celebrants: $0.00. . . . We in Tampa have gotten over being the laughingstock of the NFL, but we had to live through it for many years. Now, Oakland, just where do you think the rioting places you in history?"

Actually, in the company of:

-- Columbus, Ohio, where revelers in November set more than 100 fires, torched nine cars and prompted more than 50 arrests after an Ohio State football win.

-- College Park, Md., and Bloomington, Ind., where 24 people were injured and dozens arrested after the 2002 NCAA Men's Basketball Finals.

-- St. Paul, Minn., where police arrested 20 fans at the University of Minnesota following the 2002 NCAA Men's Hockey Finals.

-- Denver, where a riot of 20,000 Broncos fans after Super Bowl XXXII led to 22 arrests, 60 injuries and 15 damaged police cars.

Even those incidents pale in comparison to what happened in Chicago after the 1992 NBA finals, when 1,000 were arrested and 95 cops injured.

Does Oakland get a bum rap?

"Of course it does," said Austin Long-Scott, journalism professor at San Francisco State and former metro editor of the Oakland Tribune. His key complaint: coverage of its urban pathologies lacks context and ignores the underlying economic injustice that breeds lawlessness.

"Journalism has as much trouble dealing with class today as it did dealing with race back in the 1940s and 50s," he said.

The crime rate in Oakland is lower than in Berkeley, Fresno, Stockton or Sacramento. Oakland calls itself America's most integrated city. Lake Merritt is a jewel, the cuisine of Chinatown is superior, the port is thriving, the Chabot Science Center is state-of-the-art, and Children's Fairyland is quaintly magical.

But when bad things happen in Oakland, they stick. The city is pure Velcro.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 04:07 pm:

"coverage of its urban pathologies lacks context and ignores the underlying economic injustice that breeds lawlessness."

Can anyone explain what this means? I don't get it.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 05:06 pm:

To me it means that the media paints with a broad brush (giving a stigma to the entire city) when they show the intrinsic problems of Oakland's inner city, showing the low income areas and social problems of that area, ignoring the fact that this social disadvantage breeds crime to certain areas of all cities.

They don't show and ignore the other positive side of Oakland, with its diversity and beauty as a prosperous and deservingly proud city.

The writer goes on saying that journalism today has as much problem depicting and getting to the root of problems caused by the disadvantaged classes of society today, (present in urban areas) as it did with race and discrimination problems in the 1940s and 1950s.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jace on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 06:30 pm:

If anybody out there actually bases their view of the world on what they see/read/hear through the media, I truly feel sorry for them.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 09:15 pm:

"coverage of its urban pathologies lacks context and ignores the underlying economic injustice that breeds lawlessness."

I'm not sure if this is indicative of the culture of victimhood (I can't help but burn and loot, I'm the victim of economic injustice) or the true context of the senseless violence (poverty breeds lawlessness).

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 09:18 pm:

ey, he was talking about the journalistic coverage was he not?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 10:35 pm:

Yes, he was, but I believe his comment can be interpreted either way. Depends on what he's referring to as "context."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 09:42 pm:

It just goes to show how we can read the same thing and understand opposite of what the writer may have intended to say...

And some may not understand it at all...such as it was in Kevin's case.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 12:02 pm:

Still not sure what it means lil.
If it's "it's not their fault, they act this way because they're poor" then I'm against his point.
But if it's what you say about giving a stigma to the city by focusing in on problems of low-income areas as if they represent the entire city, then I'm in agreement.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 12:34 pm:

I understood that the writer was accusing the journalists of taking things out of context...or stereotyping an entire city for the actions and environment present in inner city of every large city. He went on to site other events at cities which don't carry the same stigma as Oakland.

To me, the writer meant to say that, i.e. you should not judge an entire race (city) based on the actions of a few members (inner city pathology) of that race (city).


Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.


 

Questions? Comments? Corrections? Please contact info@oaklandfans.com.