A recent New York Times story, “After ICE raids, a reckoning in Mississippi chicken country” (Dec. 28), reports that when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids removed hundreds of illegal immigrants last summer from the Koch Foods plant in Morton, Mississippi, blacks got the jobs.

No surprise. Whenever ICE raids have happened at chicken plants, slaughterhouses, etc., blacks got the jobs, the wages often increased and unions organized. Check out stories on Crider Poultry, Howard Industries, Smithfield, etc.

But mainstream media aren’t reporting this history; instead, they focus on the immediate hardship for the illegal workers who lost their jobs.

The New York Times journalist framed the Mississippi story as presenting an “ethical” dilemma, expressing empathy for both blacks and Hispanics. Since well-educated journalists do not compete with illegal immigrants for their job, it’s not surprising he could afford empathy for both sides. His job wasn’t threatened!

But he missed the big issue: Why weren’t blacks hired before the raids? A structural racism problem was staring him in the face, which usually provokes considerable coverage from The New York Times, but he missed it!

Jonette Christian


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