Novelist Daniel Stashower reviews a book about the killing of Jayna Murray, right, by Brittany Norwood, below left. He describes the crime:
The drama began with an after-hours confrontation between Norwood and Murray, two sales clerks at the luxury yoga store, apparently triggered by Norwood’s attempt to steal a pair of yoga pants. The clash somehow escalated into a mind-numbing frenzy of violence during which Norwood bludgeoned, choked and stabbed her co-worker to death, using at least five different weapons and inflicting 331 separate wounds.
Later he says this:
Morse also presents an effective portrait of the two families whose lives were destroyed by the crime. It speaks volumes when Jayna Murray’s mother, walking through her murdered daughter’s apartment, can’t bring herself to throw away an empty can of Diet Dr Pepper. The author gives equal sympathy to the close-knit Norwood family, caught between their horror over the crime and their unconditional love for Brittany. At one stage Brittany’s brother Chris refuses to be caught “playing the race card” (the Norwoods are black, and the victim was white) in a drama that could easily have been reduced to the dismissive shorthand of black-on-white crime. “It’s not race,” he insists, even as he struggles to make sense of the charges against his sister. “I’m not saying that.”[‘The Yoga Store Murder: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletica Killing’ by Dan Morse,November 29, 2013]
That's the seventh paragraph, and it's the first mention of this vital factor. That's doing better than some news stories about this.
You may know that the Associated Press Style Guide is used by almost all papers in the United States. This is what it says about whether you should say what race someone is.
Identification by race is pertinent:
In biographical and announcement stories, particularly when they involve a feat or appointment that has not routinely been associated with members of a particular race. [I. E. the "first black" to do something good is relevant. The thousandth black to commit an armed robbery is not.]
When it provides the reader with a substantial insight into conflicting emotions known or likely to be involved in a demonstration or similar event.
In some stories that involve a conflict, it is equally important to specify that an issue cuts across racial lines. If, for example, a demonstration by supporters of bussing to achieve racial balance in schools includes a substantial number of whites, that fact should be noted.