Descriptions in crime stories often create peril.
Most of the time, the problem is an overly general racial description: a black man in his 20s, a white woman in her 30s, a Hispanic man in his 40s.
On their own, those descriptions are virtually meaningless, applicable to so many people that they narrow the suspect pool by barely a drop. They also tend to promote racial stereotypes: dark skin = criminal, light skin = victim.
The world has enough problems without crime stories perpetuating stereotypes.
Enter the chubby robber at Sonic.
As part of the broader police description, “chubby” helps paint a useful picture of the robber. When used as the sole descriptor in a headline, “chubby” screams, “I’m fat, therefore I rob!”
Save the descriptor for the restaurant. Mainly, which Sonic was this?
That would have been meaningful.
(Thanks to Wayne for sending this my way.)