Sun Times or The Onion?

Walking to work this morning, I was stunned to see the following front page peeking out at me from the newspaper boxes on my route:

What? Maybe I’ve missed some significant developments in mass media, but I thought that designating members of a group to stand in for the group as a whole was the definition of prejudice, particularly when it’s done with one clumsy, dismissive word (“blacks”).

Also, “shape up?” That plays into a stereotype of African-American laziness that has plagued the U.S. from Thomas Jefferson to today. The article itself isn’t much better, sensationalizing, as the headline does, a personal let’s-do-better-with-our-children talk into a lead that plays into racist white stereotypes. The Sun-Times seems to want to take the tabloid route as it flounders for readers, but it can’t do that right.

Who knows, though? Maybe “McCain To Whites: Shape Up” is coming tomorrow. Somehow, I doubt it.