Color Bind: The Search for Curly's Gold (Teeth)

A few days after the stolen remains story ran, the Sun-Sentinel published a short story about a gas station robbery in Boca Raton. The robber didn't get the safe open, and didn't hurt anyone, but did get away with the cash in the register.

If you're looking for this person, the story says:

The robber was described as being about 20 years old, between 5'10" and 5'11" tall, clean-shaven with a thin mustache. He was wearing a white T-shirt with black writing on it, blue-jean shorts, a white baseball cap and sunglasses. The clerk said he spoke with no accent.

Now, all of those things - except the height - are things the suspect could change (unless he feels some obligation to t-shirts and sunglasses). The color of his skin, though. That would be a more difficult trick.

There was more of this hinting this week.

In an S-S article about the murder of a Taco Bell manager (later reposted as this story), the suspects - who have since been caught - are described with less than subtle coding:

One of the two robbery suspects has shoulder-length dreadlocks and was wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt over a white T-shirt. He had a black belt, tan slacks and white and red sneakers, Broward sheriff's spokesman Mike Jachles said. A second suspect has a medium afro hairstyle and was wearing a black T-shirt, tan slacks and black sneakers.

It's not always just dreads though. The reporters (or editors or copyeditors) responsible for this kind of language and racial coding can't resist a gold tooth. Or even better, dreadlocks and a gold tooth. That's the non-racial description readers got of the suspect in a Coral Springs shooting. Along with what he might have been driving.

The accused shooter is described as being 18 to 20 years old, about 5 foot 8 inches tall and has short dreadlocks and gold teeth. He was seen fleeing the area in what is described as a light green and gray SUV. The vehicle is possibly a Chevrolet Avalanche or Cadillac Escalade, police said.

The attempt to imply race takes the silly policy of not mentioning race to new, disturbing levels. And there is no excuse.

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