Have you seen the latest in police crime? This past Saturday, August 9th, an 18 year old boy named Mike Brown (who happens to be black) was shot by a Missouri police officer and left for dead in the street for about 4 hours despite the boy being unarmed and having surrendered with his arms in the air for the officer to see.
Unfortunately, that isn’t where this sad tale ends.
The media, as usual, is twisting the story by showing racially biased images of this boy. Rather than showing him for the clean-cut, soon-to-be college attendee, band geek that he was… the media have chosen instead to portray him using a picture with a “thug-like pose” and what some are calling “gang signs”.
Because of this, it calls to question:
How would you be portrayed in the media if you were gunned down?
Both related and not… During my ass-backwards custody battle for my daughter, a picture was brought to light in court. I spent a lot of hours driving back and forth from our Orangeburg home to Charleston about an hour and a half away. I’d drive 90 minutes to pick her up, 90 minutes to bring her home, 90 minutes to return her and 90 minutes to return to my home. Being narcoleptic, this was severely difficult and very hard on my body. So one evening, my then mother in law re-made up our bed. She washed all of the sheets, put fresh ones on and made up the bed all nice and welcoming. It was a very sweet gesture – one that I couldn’t resist blogging and posting on Facebook about.
After posting the picture, I realized that I had left a bottle of personal lubricant on the night stand, which you could see fairly easily in the image. I had a sort of “LOL” attitude about it because to me, being a married adult… having sex is completely natural. In response to the realization that the lube was in the picture, I pointed it out and my friends and I had a good chuckle about it. Apparently the family court system here in South Carolina didn’t find it nearly as funny and my judgement was severely called into question. Why would I even post an image like that? Why did I feel the need to share it – let alone point the lubricant out? I have no idea. To this day, it doesn’t seem strange to me that I would post something like that – although I tend to be a little more subjective.
The point of the story is this: Sometimes, those of us who have grown up in this new digital age full of over-sharing, share things that maybe we shouldn’t – things that don’t always show us in the best light. It seems to be the responsibility of media and court systems to show the darkest angles of ourselves rather than the the good parts – which there are often more of.
That is what really bothers me about this current issue – the boy in question had a life full of positive things. He was a good student, planning to attend college this Monday and may very well have had a bright future ahead of him. But one silly, off-color picture and he’s been reduced to some street-walking thug deserving of getting shot.
An online movement has begun utilizing the hash tag #IfIWereGunnedDown in which participants show images of themselves likely to be used by the media if they had been in Mike’s shoes. These often “hardcore” or “thug-like” images are posted side-by-side with pictures of graduation, special memories with their children, in military dress, etc.
I wanted to show an old, silly picture I took of myself side by side with a current, more professional looking image. It’s extremely unlikely that this silly image would ever be the one used to portray me if I were to ever find myself in the same situation. My point in showing this is that white people have just as many (if not more!) pictures that paint them in a different light. You don’t usually see these used in today’s media.
I’m sickened by all of the hate in the world. It’s 2014 and racism is ridiculous to me. Can’t we all just get along? Seriously. Why must we tear one another down? I’m shaking my head today. Rest in peace Mike. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and community. May they find justice and peace.