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Vandal Sense: Brand X Story Ignited Race Issue

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Two days ago there was a story in The Coeur d’Alene Press (read it right here) about the first black fire fighter in the city. It was a story that sort of semi ignited the issue of racism in North Idaho. Well, actually, it mainly inflamed people and had them questioning why a black man working as a fire fighter in Coeur d’Alene was even news. My newsroom discussed it, and I commented about it right here, in public. The sad fact is that this is news in North Idaho. There has never been a black man on the roster of the fire department - and we are nearly a decade into the new millennium. Does that strike anyone else as odd? Why is it that there never has been? To some - this answer is obvious. It is to me. I grew up in Coeur d’Alene, where everyone from outside the area poked fun at us for being potato-loving racist hicks who had no couth or culture and needed to be laughed at. The story in the press did nothing to fix that situation and everything to promulgate only more innuendo and stereotyping of our fine city/area — Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense goes on to discuss a phone conversation he had with the Coeur d’Alene Press reporter who wrote the story.

Question: Should North Idaho cities and counties be aggressive in seeking minorities to fill their workplaces?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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