Why doesn’t the media love black people that survive? [a brief commentary]

Yesterday, the NAACP had a building bombed in Colorado. More headlines in America connected “terrorism” to the shooting in France, while the bombing on our home soil was referred to as an “incident” (noting, of course, there were not as many headlines in America about the NAACP terrorism as there were to the tragedy in France).

On New Year’s Eve, Ferguson protestors evicted the St. Louis Police Department and temporarily reclaimed the government office in the name of the people (and were harassed pretty harshly in their removal).

Starting December, Little League star and one of my favourite #GirlsWhoKickAss Mo’ne Davis is named Sports Illustrated Sports Kid of the Year. Her name first started appearing in mainstream media in August, the same month Mike Brown’s emerged after his murder. However, Google Trends reveals headlines crying allegations against Bill Cosby are 51% more popular.

At the time of this writing, over 55 Action Events are planned in connection with the Ferguson National Response Network for the remainder of January alone. The National Action Network has five, yet Al Sharpton’s name is more widely spread than DeRay McKesson’s (who, among many others, is a major part of the movement) when dialogue about Ferguson or other racial inequalities regarding blacks (men and women, although we’re not talking enough about the ladies either) being killed by the police.

A handful of items you may not have heard of or fully understand because, as much as you may think the media is “blowing up” racism, they really seem to care only when it concerns the killing – literal or otherwise, as is the case with Bill Cosby – of blacks.

I ask then, why doesn’t the media care about black people who survive? Is it a fear to show the strength the community possesses? Fear to show that incredible role models, even at the age of 13, can emerge from the dark containments created for them by housing inequalities and poor education opportunities? Fear to show the resilience fueling the action-packed agenda of the Ferguson fighters?

Would the media have perhaps preferred a story in which the NAACP bombing was more successful in blowing up the gas can next to it and causing death? If Mo’ne had been – heaven forbid it to her or any child or person – raped, would she be as fun to cover and talk about as Bill Cosby, a black figure of power whose character may now be questioned and destroyed?

It seems that blacks are again being exploited, for media coverage most concerns itself with highlighting not the passionate and determined that continue to fight for the fallen or succeed in spite of the system, but the lifeless or falling stars. Exploited in a more subtle, perverse nature, their corpses and flaws are used as a “safe” demonstration of the reporting parties’ interest in diversity and “race issues.” Only the dead and knocked from pedestals are a comfortable headline to the masses only because, in tragedy, they are still as the system designed them to be: oppressed.

Perhaps it is hoped that by reinforcing these images and downplaying those of strength and resilience, the media continues to keep that as the status quo. Were the bombing connected to a Muslim suspect or the NAACP a different organization or if there had even been death, this would surely have blown up the covers. Yet, we mark the day in history only with the event of the deaths in France.

In much the same way I support small and independent businesses to big corporations, I also support small and independent sources and encourage you to do the same, for your own awareness and health. Don’t let the media own your perceptions.

Give Sharkey a piece of your mind.

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