As the search continues for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the country has begun to dig deeper into details of the suspects' lives, and one topic has repeatedly come into question--race.
After Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were identified by the authorities as suspects, details emerged online, providing more information about the two young men. The brothers, who are originally from Chechnya, and their ethnicity have been the subject of a good deal of scrutiny even when their identity remained unknown.
CNN's John King, who was the first to report that authorities had identified a suspect in Monday's horrific attack, stirred controversy when he described the individual as a "dark-skinned male."
NABJ later released a statement, condemning that description as "offensive" and urging the media to use "extreme caution" in order to avoid potential stereotyping.
But even after both boys were identified, race and ethnicity remained a hot topic. Conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones claimed to identify the suspects before the media knew who they were, making assertions about their country of origin.
“These guys kind of look like Israelis," he said. "I’m not saying Israel is involved in it, we don’t have any evidence of that. It’s just that they kind of look Israeli.”
Jones added that they could be "North Africans" or "Spanish Muslims."
In addition to race, the suspects' musical preference has come into question. TMZ reports that the suspects were 'heavy into hip-hop' and The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that Dzhokhar quoted Jay-Z in a tweet.
On the day of the Boston Marathon, during which Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, allegedly planted two bombs that killed three people and injured more than 170, the teen quoted a lyric from Jay-Z's 2001 single "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)."
To be clear, Bobby Bland's 1974 hit, "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" was sampled and used as the track's chorus.
Dark-skinned, light-skinned; Chechen, Israeli; hip-hop lovers or pop rock fans: does it really matter? What role does race and ethnicity play in the continued search for the remaining suspect? How does inform reports from the media and the subsequent opinions formed by the public?
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