Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown: Social media calls out MSM for portrayal of Mike Brown

Police force protestors from the business district into
nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson,
Missouri. (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)
RT | Aug 13, 2014

If you were killed, what photo would the media use in their stories? That’s the question that the #iftheygunnedmedown hashtag asks on social media as minorities point out media bias in the deaths of African-Americans.

The question comes after the shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday. The unarmed 18-year-old was about to begin college when he was killed by a police officer. But the mainstream media shows a picture of Brown flashing a peace sign, which Yesha Callahan at The Root says has been called a “gang sign” by conservative outlets. She calls this the “Trayvon Martin effect.”

“The vicious slaying of Mike Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police has once again shown that the narrative the media paints surrounding black people in America more often than not includes depicting us as violent thugs with gang and drug affiliations,” Callahan wrote.

So young African-Americans took to Twitter and Tumblr and other social media, posting contrasting pictures of themselves ‒ a wholesome image of themselves in a military uniform, for instance, juxtaposed with a more tawdry one, such as holding up their middle fingers and snarling ‒ and using the trending hashtag. The meme asks which photo the mainstream media would use if the picture’s subject were gunned down by police (like Brown) or by a non-African-American (like Martin).

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