Most people think they know a race problem when they see it.
In the case of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Gardner, nearly everyone claims racial bias was involved. Plenty of people have protested on streets with signs stating "Black lives matter." President Obama conceded police racial bias does exist, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio claimed that racial profiling and distrust between African Americans and the police is 'a problem for all New Yorkers, it is a problem for all Americans. It's all our problem.' And Attorney General Eric Holder believes all cops are racists.
And they're all wrong.
The main culprit in the Martin, Brown and Gardner cases
I wrote in my Minor Insights blog that George Zimmerman did not identify Trayvon Martin as a black man until the 911 operator specifically asked for Martin's ethnic description. NBC News intentionally edited that 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was racist.
I also wrote how, in the sequence of events that led to Darren Wilson fatally shooting Michael Brown, nothing was race-related.
There is also no evidence that Daniel Pantaleo put a chokehold on Eric Gardner simply for being black. Would Pantaleo put a chokehold on a white man if he was the same size as Gardner, resisted arrest after being caught selling loose, untaxed cigarettes like Gardner did and had a past criminal history like Gardner? You may hate to admit it but we just don't know for sure.
In all of these high-profile, protest-spawning cases, there was zero evidence that race was the motivation behind any of the deaths. Zero!
So why do we think that race was the motivation?
Because the media told us so.
Think about it. The first time you heard the news regarding any of these three cases, how did you hear it? Everyone got that information from the news. And how did the media break the news?
"A white police officer/neighborhood watchman killed an unarmed black man/teen" ...or some such variation of that headline.
So when we as the audience take in the news, that racial angle has already been planted in our minds.
We hear that and we exclaim, "That's not fair! That's not right!" And we would be right to exclaim that...IF that was true. But if you dig into the evidence and go beyond the simple media sound bites, you'll see that the evidence of racial bias as the motivation for causing death is simply not there.
Generally speaking, mainstream media loves controversy. I took a journalism class and have spoken with full-time journalists. While it sounds like a media stereotype that "if it bleeds, it leads", it is in fact true. What will draw higher ratings and more frequent news viewings than highly-charged news, followed by updates on those highly-charged news? So of course the media will take a story about one man killing another and supercharging it with a race angle when broadcast to the public. And as the media expects, we as the public fall for the bait—hook, line and sinker.
A rare few of you might argue that you didn't hear about any of those cases from the news but that you heard each of them from friends or co-workers. OK. Fine. Maybe you never watch the news. But how did your friends or co-workers hear about those cases? From the media. And the days when the media objectively reported "just the facts" are long gone. The media decides what's news and what's not.
Just look at the reporting of the executions of two cops two days ago on December 22nd. How much play did that get in the news? Did your favorite local media station dispatch multiple reporters to cover the events and get local reaction like they did in the Martin/Brown/Gardner cases?
And how about two more police officers being shot to death just yesterday, the day after the first two cops were shot dead? Were you even aware of that? If so, did it get the same sensationalistic coverage as the Martin/Brown/Gardner cases? Did Nightline devote a couple half-hour shows entirely to this turn of events? Is it the hot topic on all the TV talk shows?
The other culprit of the race problem
Mainstream media is the main culprit in stoking the flames of racism in America. But if they're feeding us the proverbial Kool-Aid, who's drinking it?
Those people who get instantly incensed at racial biases, whether real or perceived, are also the culprits in stoking the flames of racism in America. If you only see everything as a black-vs-white issue, then you are part of the problem. Sure, racism could truly be at play in certain instances. I've been called derogatory racial slurs in the past so I personally understand real racism. But not everything is because of race.
We've got to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves 'Am I part of the problem? Stirring up race issues where there are none? Does it actually foster more racism in America when I conjure up a racism angle that wasn't there?'
The bottom line
Don't believe everything the mainstream media tells you. Do your own research. Listen for subtle cues and see if the media is trying to paint the news in some subjective way.
And don't rush to judgment that racism exists in every issue of life. It is true that racism does exist but it is equally true that racism does not exist everywhere. And in the cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Gardner, there is no evidence that racism existed there.
Get notified of fresh Think Different posts by email!
Your email address will never be sold, and you can opt out at any time.