After a raucous town hall meeting organized by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D, Missouri) in Hillsboro, Mo. on August 11, mainstream media reports showed an angry black woman being hauled out of the event to audience applause. What caused her to act in such a stereotypical, angry, black fashion, you might ask?
Thanks to Hating Not Debating for showing the full context of what happened in a YouTube video.
In it, you see that a white participant James Winfrey, 67, got out of his seat and grabbed a poster of the late Mrs. Parks being held by black participant Maxine Johnson, 52. Posters were not permitted in the venue, although Johnson's was rolled up until a photographer walked over to her and asked to look at it. After Winfrey crumpled up the poster, Johnson rushed to retrieve it and a tussle ensued. Some mainstream media reports that evening showed Johnson being hauled out by police, although it turns out that Winfrey was later arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.
Below are two videos for comparison. rosa parks bus
One depicts a disruptive, angry black woman being hauled out of the town hall to audience applause. SOURCE: TPM
The other which shows the act of aggression that made her angry in the first place.
It's unclear whether Winfrey was provoked by the image of Rosa Parks or the presence of the poster. What is clear that there are some ugly social dynamics at play in these town hall meetings, and when making quick decisions under deadline, journalists (like the rest of us) too often fall back on stereotypes to interpret what they see.
We'll see whether the charges end up sticking on Winfrey.