Anchor Wendy Bell's racist Facebook rant goes viral

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Billboards With Racist Facebook Comments Go Up By Posters' Homes

It's heartwarming indeed that a journalist tasked with informing the public about important issues could feel compelled to share casually racist wisdom on her Facebook page.

Behold!

"You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday," wrote Wendy Bell, a news anchor with WTAE in Pittsburgh, according to the Associated Press. "They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs."

SEE ALSO: A new pro-ISIS propaganda video features Donald Trump trashing Brussels

Bell, who is white, was referring to a crime that occurred March 9 in nearby Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, where two still-unidentified shooters opened fire at a backyard barbecue and killed six people, all of whom were black.

They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.

"These boys have been in the system before," Bell added, describing who she assumed the perpetrators to be. "They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested."

Not a single suspect has been identified as of Thursday, by the way.

Bell's controversial post appeared on her Facebook fan page Wednesday, according to multiplereports. Not long after, a separate page had been created calling for her to be "held accountable" for her statements.

Bell had deleted the original post by Wednesday evening, and issued the following apology:

I have removed a post that I initially placed here on Monday. I sincerely apologize for that post about the Wilkinsburg...

Posted by Wendy Bell WTAE on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist," she wrote. "I regret offending anyone. I'm truly sorry."

More from Mic: California Will Become the First State to Put the $15 Minimum Wage to a Vote

It's remarkable how, in the wake of such a staggering tragedy — and in a single Facebook post, no less — Bell managed to both irresponsibly speculate as to the killers' identities without any evidence, and to collectively demonize all young black men, people with siblings from multiple fathers, people whose mothers work multiple jobs and people who've been arrested or incarcerated.

RELATED: See photos of racial tensions in America

15 PHOTOS
2016 issues: Race relations, racial tension, #BlackLivesMatter
See Gallery
Anchor Wendy Bell's racist Facebook rant goes viral
Mara Jacqueline Willaford, left, holds her fist overhead as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to greet the crowd before speaking at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Willaford and another co-founder of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took over the microphone just after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Protestors shouting "black lives matter" hold up photos of people they claim are the victims of police violence and signs demanding the passage of AB953, as they block the hallway in front of the office of Gov. Jerry Brown, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. AB953 would change the definition of "racial profiling" and would require local law enforcement agencies to collect demographic data, including the race of those they stop.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Marge Flori, seated on the bench, gives a thumbs up to marchers from United for Blue, an organization to support police, during their the group's march and rally in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on August 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Black Lives Matter and 'Get Equal' protestors struggle with police as Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a campaign meeting on the campus of Case Western Reserve University on August 27, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton made her first official campaign stop in Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Two boys hold signs that say "Blue Lives Matter," before the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's Annual Candlelight Vigil, Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A sign supporting the police rests in front of a yard Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Community and city leaders braced for the possibility of unrest in response to the Michael Brelo verdict, which came as investigators work toward making a decision on whether charges will be filed in the death of a black 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun who was shot by a white rookie officer late last year in a Cleveland park.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 01: A police helicopter monitors protesters marching in support of Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby's announcement that charges would be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray on May 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray died in police custody after being arrested on April 12, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, a slide shows the cost comparisons of two police agencies that purchased body cameras made by Taser International, during a presentation at a conference hosted by Taser at the California Highway Patrol Headquarters in Sacramento, Calif. Taser, the stun-gun maker, has become a leading supplier of body cameras for police and has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices. Members of the Albuquerque City Council demanded an inquiry after learning that Police Chief Ray Schultz, who had supported the $1.9 million contract for Taser cameras and video storage, became a company consultant shortly after retiring from the department.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Hundreds of protesters march on Michigan Ave in support of Floyd Dent on Friday, April 3, 2015 in Inkster, Mich. Dent, a black motorist, was pulled from his car in January, repeatedly punched in the head by a white police officer and subdued with a stun gun in suburban Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Graffiti remains on the sidewalk along West Florrisant Avenue one year after the shooting of Michael Brown on August 12, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on August 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HARLEM, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2015/09/09: A demonstrator holds a sign at the rally against NYC's current policies regarding the homeless population. A protest rally in Harlem organized by the group 'Picture the Homeless' and allied advocacy groups was convened to demand an end to the arrest and incarceration of homeless New Yorkers; demonstrators held events at three sites along a march route that concluded at 25th Precinct of the New York Police Department. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Taylor Nalley, second from left, and Courtney Taylor, third from left, both 13, pray during a rally for United for Blue, an organization to support police, held on Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Considering the racial asymmetry with which America's incarceration system operates — locking up black men at incredibly high rates — the number of people who also fit the above profile but still manage not to become bloodthirsty killers is legion.

To top it all off, Bell also insulted the entire city where the crime took place, of which 66% of the population is black and 22% lives below the poverty line: "I will tell you [the killers] live within 5 miles of Franklin Avenue and Ardmore Boulevard and have been hiding out since in a home likely much closer to that backyard patio than anyone thinks," she wrote.

The pathologizing of American blackness is certainly nothing new. It often takes the form of coded "dog-whistle" phraseology, meant to hint at tropes associated with blackness without explicitly using racist language. Examples include when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) attributed "inner city" (read: black) unemployment rates to "a real culture problem" of men there "not learning the value and the culture of work" in 2014.

More from Mic: DeRay Mckesson's Baltimore Mayoral Run Gets Boost From Twitter and Netflix Execs

This kind of statement, along with the fallacious notion of so-called "black-on-black crime," ignore the systemic racism that informs both — namely that a pattern of anti-black job discrimination and that, in a racially segregated country, people tend to kill people who live near them, go much further toward explaining these phenomena than merely saying, "something is wrong with black people."

But facts can be inconvenient. When confronted with her own racism by a Facebook commenter, Bell reportedly replied that what she wrote wasn't "racism," but "realism":

Anchor Wendy Bell's Racist Facebook Rant Is Everything Wrong With How We Talk About Crime
Source: FTVLive

More from Mic: The Future of Therapy Involves a Little Bit of Molly

Perhaps someone should tell her that it probably isn't "realism" if she made it up based solely on her own racist presumptions. Here's a full transcript of Bell's original Facebook post, for your reading pleasure, via FTVLive:

Next to "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times," I remember my mom most often saying to my sister and me when we were young and constantly fighting, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I've really had nothing nice to say these past 11 days and so this page has been quiet. There's no nice words to write when a coward holding an AK-47 hoses down a family and their friends sharing laughs and a mild evening on a back porch in Wilkinsburg. There's no kind words when six people are murdered. When their children have to hide for cover and then emerge from the frightened shadows to find their mother's face blown off or their father's twisted body leaking blood into the dirt from all the bullet holes. There's just been nothing nice to say. And I've been dragging around this feeling like a cold I can't shake that rattles in my chest each time I breathe and makes my temples throb. I don't want to hurt anymore. I'm tired of hurting.

You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. I will tell you they live within 5 miles of Franklin Avenue and Ardmore Boulevard and have been hiding out since in a home likely much closer to that backyard patio than anyone thinks. They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested. They've made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost. Once you kill a neighbor's three children, two nieces and her unborn grandson, there's no coming back. There's nothing nice to say about that.

But there is HOPE. And Joe and I caught a glimpse of it Saturday night. A young, African American teen hustling like nobody's business at a restaurant we took the boys to over at the Southside Works. This child stacked heavy glass glasses 10 high and carried three teetering towers of them in one hand with plates piled high in the other. He wiped off the tables. Tended to the chairs. Got down on his hands and knees to pick up the scraps that had fallen to the floor. And he did all this with a rhythm and a step that gushed positivity. He moved like a dancer with a satisfied smile on his face. And I couldn't take my eyes off him. He's going to make it.

When Joe paid the bill, I asked to see the manager. He came over to our table apprehensively and I told him that that young man was the best thing his restaurant had going. The manager beamed and agreed that his young employee was special. As the boys and we put on our coats and started walking out — I saw the manager put his arm around that child's shoulder and pat him on the back in congratulation. It will be some time before I forget the smile that beamed across that young worker's face — or the look in his eyes as we caught each other's gaze. I wonder how long it had been since someone told him he was special.

There's someone in your life today — a stranger you're going to come across — who could really use that. A hand up. A warm word. Encouragement. Direction. Kindness. A Chance. We can't change what's already happened, but we can be a part of what's on the way. Speak up. Reach out. Dare to Care. Give part of You to someone else. That, my friends, can change someone's course. And then -- just maybe THEN -- I'll start feeling again like there's something nice to say.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners