For the last five years, I have stopped watching the news. Why? It became blatantly obvious to me how the media will manipulate a situation to make it more scandalous, and I just couldn’t stomach it. The problem is that most Americans do not feel the same way, and their reaction to the stories on fuels the media outlets.
I do, however, pay attention to a lot of off-beat activist news sites and foreign news sites that cover the happenings here in the U.S. But even the sites I thought were unbiased and trustworthy held a similar headline when Michael Brown was shot: “White cop shoots unarmed Black teen.”
Before you get me wrong, I do not see that type of headline as biased for any reason other than every news outlet felt it was necessary to sensationalize the fact the the officer was White and the victim was Black. For every headline in any situation these days, it feels like race is always a factor. I long for a day when race will not matter at all, because I think that is what the Civil Rights leaders before my time had actually intended.
The purpose of the Civil Rights movement was not just to give one group of people the same rights as another group, but to erase color of skin and race as a factor at all. The problem with our society is that we constantly isolate ourselves into different groups based on our characteristics. We are Black, White, Hispanic, Male, Female, Straight, Gay, Bisexual, Democratic, Republican, Lower Class, Middle Class… and a million other labels that do not include the most important one: We are human.
I have been called naive for quoting the interview above multiple times when the topic of racism comes up. I am the “privileged white girl” or “racist ignorant” or something else just as equally hateful. But the truth is that people are uncomfortable with the idea of living without labels, because it is so much easier to place others in neat little manageable categories.
Here are some facts about the Ferguson case: In 2012, the city of Ferguson had higher violent crime rates and property crime rates than the national average (http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Ferguson-Missouri.html). It is more than likely that it was not a case of race at all.
This is not to say that it is not an issue of bad judgment by a young officer. He was five years on the job in a crime-ridden area. From the number of shots fired, and his reaction to being punched, it could be surmised that he was entirely too nervous to be working as an officer at all. This means that he just didn’t have to courage needed to do the job correctly, which led to a very, very bad judgment call. His quick decision led to the death of a young man who, although engaging in criminal acts prior to his death, could have turned his life around in the future. Just because Wilson is White and Brown was Black does not mean that race was a factor in Wilson’s actions. Michael Brown’s death is tragic because he will never have a second chance to live a good life and this is what the media has swept under the rug to keep us manipulated.
The public outrage, however, may be one of the worst parts of all of this. The Ferguson riots brought untold damage, and the subsequent riots across the nation were just as destructive to the memory of Michael Brown. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how burning down buildings, shooting into crowds, killing a witness, shutting down highways, destroying city property, and looting retail stores will bring any justice or peace for Michael Brown.
All these acts do is perpetuate bad stereotypes for Black people because that is exactly who is shown by the Media as being the aggressors. Black Lives Matter? Why do not all lives matter?
This video… he says a lot of important things about the situation.
What people fail to realize is that there are awful individuals on both sides of the law. Yes, there has been police brutality. But there are so many kind and brave acts of police officers on the opposition. There are also awful people on the civilian side; people that good, upstanding officers have to come into contact with all of the time.
And then there are these type of people. The type of people who will exploit a tragic death to gain anything that they can. This includes Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who only work to incite more anger and hate between Blacks and Whites.
This entire thing is sad. Nothing is being fixed when the divide just continues to widen. We need to realize that our humanity is the most important characteristic to hold on to. We also need to stop allowing the media to dictate our response. As Blacks are featured as the most violent protesters, the views will only perpetuate stereotypes. Stop allowing the media to widen the racial divide. Stop the violence. Stop the genocide occurring within the race. And stop forgetting that ALL LIVES MATTER.