Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 5 September 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“It’s not so much a question of whether the media should be there or not. The media should just do a good job. We should be respectful of residents’ privacy and dignity and should practice basic research before writing something up.”
Chuck Mertz: One of the most recent additions to our team of irregular correspondents is Sarah Kendzior. We’re proud to have gotten her as a correspondent. Sarah, good morning!
Sarah Kendzior: Good morning, how are you?
CM: Good! Sarah Kendzior is a St. Louis-based columnist for Al Jazeera English and the Chronicle of Higher Education, but her writing is popping up everywhere, including her most recent work at Politico.com: After Ferguson, St. Louis’s Decaying Black Suburbs Are About to Be Forgotten. Again.
“The mistake people make is to say that there’s violence in Chechnya because Chechens are violent. Politics is what motivates ethnic conflict. Ethnic conflicts don’t happen because a particular ethnicity is inclined to violence.”
I think there’s a very specific idea of artistic success that’s being pushed that’s tied to the ability to live in these cultural capitals, places like New York or San Francisco. People who can’t go to those places think that they’re not allowed to participate.
Chuck Mertz: On the line with us right now is Sarah Kendzior. She is a St. Louis based columnist for Al Jazeera English and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her April 2013 article The Wrong Kind of Caucasian is the most popular Al Jazeera English op-ed of all time. That story explains how, despite the Boston bombers having little to do with Chechnya, the media were quick to demonize an entire ethnicity. Sarah’s most recent writing at Al Jazeera is Expensive Cities are Killing Creativity: New York City, a traditional incubator for artists, has now become a gated citadel for creativity. Good morning, Sarah.