A lot of media attention today to the riots that erupted in Ferguson last night, following the non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson. What happened afterwards was horrible and not what the Brown family and true civil rights leaders wanted. It was the frustration of a few, misdirected individuals acting out. That does not give them an excuse, but we are talking about a large segment of our society that has experienced harassment at the hands of law enforcement, simply because they don’t look like the majority. From Michael Brown to “stop and frisk”, the fact of the matter is we still have serious race-relation problems in this country that must be addressed.
While we know that these problems exist and our leaders are calling for solutions, including the President, one thing that certainly doesn’t help is the protrayal happening in the media, especially social media. Pictures like the ones above are sparking comments such as “thugs” and “animals”. While that may seem like an appropriate response, there are other incidents where we don’t see these kind of responses. For example:
That is Penn State following the firing of long-time football coach, Joe Paterno. Paterno was fired for his involvement in the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky, the assistant coach convicted of raping numerous children, including on campus property. Where were the social narrators calling these people “animals” and “thugs”? Remember, we are talking about the firing of someone who attempted to help cover-up a child rape scandal.
Then we can go north of the border to Vancouver in 2011:
What’s all the destruction of property and rioting about? Vancouver had just lost the Stanley Cup to Boston. Yes, a sporting event, something meant for entertainment and nothing more, resulted in the same sort of thing we saw in Ferguson last night. Let’s think about that.
People in Ferguson are upset over the murder of an unarmed teenager. It’s not just Michael Brown, but a endless cycle of news stories similar to this. Add to that the constant harassment people of color experience at the hand of law enforcement, and any compassionate human being can begin to understand all the outrage.
The other two photos are the result of outcomes in the sports world. Something meant to entertain us and nothing more, with no loss of life, yet people seem to ignore these situations. These are riots that evolved from entertainment, not riots that evolved from protests of a wrong-doing in our nation.
Of course a lot of blame can go to the media on this. Sporting riots are just a 30 second sound-bite and some news crawls, while Ferguson is a non-stop story. If the media would highlight how we can easily disregard public safety and property over something as meaningless as sports, then it would add a lot of perspective to what is going on in Ferguson.
So ask yourself, would you be more upset over your team losing the big game, or the murder of a loved one? I think we all know the answer to that.