Monday, February 01, 2016

Did Science Nerds Kill a Tween Girl?

My title is the front page link at The Daily Beast to this story in which the principal suspects are two Virginia Tech students who are respectively a freshman and a sophomore engineering major. Suppose the suspects had turned out to be black, or gay, would our headline writer have written "Did Niggers/Queers Kill a Tween Girl?"

The lesser offense is using a patently offensive stereotype, but the real offense is that the stereotyping effectively imputes the crime to a whole class of people. The fact that the apparently clueless headline writer confuses scientists and engineers is a minor annoyance.