Monday, April 27, 2015

11.27 Media - But Who Is He?

 Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-seventh day of each month is "Media."
I watched with heavy heart the media coverage in Baltimore as (and here is where I get stuck with words - were these protests? riots? a signal of intense distress among a community with no voice? necessary violence? unnecessary violence?) the events unfolded before, during, and after Freddie Gray's funeral.  I watched television, I compulsively refreshed The Baltimore Sun and The New York Times web pages. I looked to see what Code Switch wrote. I checked in with my radical Facebook friends to figure out how this (the words again - story? situation? media coverage? understandable response by a beaten down population? unreasonable reaction to cops just doing their jobs?) would fit into my narrative as a progressive who cares about these kinds of things.
And, as in so many of these cases, I just kept coming back to the victim. Poor Freddie Gray.  How scared he must have been in the day of his life. How much he must have wished to be able to say good-bye to his family. How senseless and useless his death was. Yes, I do think the burning of buildings is sad. But I think about how, no matter what his criminal record was or how well he did in school or how active he was or was not in his community, he will never be given a chance to show what he can do with his life. I think about how little I know about Freddie Gray and how much that truly upsets me.

Systematic inequalities.  Profiling. Privilege. Yes. Yes. Yes. Police brutality. Yes.

I'm hand wringing over here, but not sure what I can or should do. But I wish that CNN had shown the thousands of peaceful marchers instead of images of the same burning building for an hour straight. I wish that The New York Times was cautious in its use of the word "riot." I wish that Baltimore's mayor would stop describing men who have been harassed and abused as "thugs."

I want this case to spark an open national discourse - but I fear it won't. Rodney King. Abner Louima. Amadou Diallo.  Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray.
To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

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