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‘The Central Park Five’ And The Alchemy Of Racism

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"‘The Central Park Five’ And The Alchemy Of Racism"

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Ken Burns looks to be having one heck of a fall in between The Dust Bowl, which airs on PBS in November and is excellent, and The Central Park Five, which examines the railroading of five young men in the so-called Central Park jogger rape and assault case, and which Burns directed with his daughter Sarah:

I was struck by the moment in the trailer when former New York City Mayor Ed Koch—the attack happened in April of his final year in office—said “Central Park was holy. It was the crime of the century.” If something holy is profaned, the people who profaned it must be monsters. And some of the easiest people it is to transmute into monsters, the so-called “wolfpack” who attacked Trisha Meili, are young men of color. That’s an awful kind of magic, born out of emotional needs that often spring from dark places, rather than any particular desire for the truth.

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