What Do we See From The Other Side of The Media?
ou watch the T.V news and you're like, oh my god, all the protests are riots. It's basically a one narrative shift. “We're not gonna pay attention to the protestors in the city that has been wrecked by this violence who are marching peacefully and chanting George Floyd. Which is going to gain more attention? A group of 35 people standing,chanting names, singing a song doing the cupid shuffle, as one of the protest groups doing that or the five people on the ground bleeding and screaming crying throwing rocks. Our press is driven by eyeballs and attention and clicks and advertising and raising anxiety and the anxiety of viewers. Dramatic images are money they keep eyeballs on the screen. So they will constantly show action, you need to understand the limitations of those visuals. There is not enough conversation about the roots of the protests. What they are showing you is what's happening right now on the ground. What those visuals cannot tell you is the entire historical context that has led to that scene on the ground.
One thing that a lot of mainstream media doesn't do well is give you that full context. You can't untangle this moment from where we are just in this year starting with February, with the coronavirus, Ahmaud Arberys lynching, having people in shelter in place, having people become angry that they are in shelter in place orders, having the economy significantly slow down. There are so many events, just since January that led up to this moment not to mention the hundreds of years before that. This becomes a very complicated story. Who is to blame for the violence? It is crazy that when we talk about destruction of property.
That the presumption is that the unarmed people who are protesting are more likely to cause property destruction than the paramilitary cops who are showing up because tear gas canisters are really hot, flash bombs can start fire, tear gas leads people to run and break through windows in order to hide and get help. I'm not saying the police are intending to cause damage. However if you are randomly shooting out tear gas, it's gonna end up in the back alley, with a pile of newspapers and some garbage. Does that mean that there aren't protestors who engage in destruction?
Of course there are. To say that all this is turning into looters is basically saying everybody at the party is a drunk driver, No, some people will leave and cause problems. But you can't say everybody at the party is the worst behaving person. I think one thing that we actually don't do too well and don't quite understand, is anti-blackness, and how it works in our society. How it is in our language, and how it is used by mainstream media. We have spent the last month watching protests who want the country to open up and we saw images of these people screaming and yelling, and spitting on police officers who were plainclothes officers. They were not in riot gear, they were not in masks. Now we see protests based on violence and death. What we see now is peaceful protests come out but suddenly the cops come out in riot gears and everything looks like some sort of violent take over in some 80s post-apocalyptic film. What i'm reminded of are photos in New Orleans of white people leaving stores with food and the headline being, this is how people are surviving and black folk leaving the store with food, and calling them looters. This is about a community that is treated differently by the police in our country just consuming the news right now in the next five days is not gonna give you a good understanding as to why this is happening.