Calling Out The Media’s Portrayal of Black Victims

Featured artwork by: https://www.instagram.com/lady_luuz/?hl=en

There is a history of the media distorting the truth with the portrayal of Black victims  when the killer is White. Recently with the killing of Nia Wilson at MacArthur Bart,KTVU found a picture of her holding a gun, which was a cell phone case cover. There were so many pictures to choose from, but they used the one that would make her look threatening. She did not provoke her killer, and the police had to make a statement so people would not lose focus. She was the victim!

Then, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a story comparing Nia Wilson’s life to her killer, John Lee Cowell’s life. They wrote it like he did not have a fair chance of growing up and his troubled life led him to that horrible moment. The article read as getting the readers to sympathize with his story and disregard Wilson’s life. I took to Twitter and tweeted to the writers of the article, “Why are you trying to humanize the killer? KTVU tried to dehumanize Nia with that one pic from FB, and you are doing an article to sympathize with John Lee Cowell’s background. It’s so disrespectful to the ladies that didn’t deserve this and their family.”

They did this with Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till (until the truth came out last year that he did not do it), and so many others. Then, I thought a horrible killing of a White girl in the early 1990s, Polly Klaas. Her picture of her smiling was always on the news and celebrities took up to support finding her. Her story went national to try to see her and her killer. They did not humanize him at all. In fact, he got the death penalty. The killers of Black victims are mostly getting a slap on the wrist, or they are not convicted. Why are their lives valued more than the victims? They say it is not about race, but apparently, it is.

Again, the media can do a convincing job portraying Black people as savages and will go through anything to tarnish their image before giving them a chance to be innocent. Some celebrities are using their platforms to speak up on the injustices of Black victims and to bring awareness to the social problem. When a Black person is killed, the community has to be ahead and talk about their accomplishments before the media find one wrong thing, no matter how big or small it may be. It is devastating and causing lack of trust between the community and the media. We know that the press is about viewership and spinning their version of what happened. They will edit what witnesses say to fit their narrative. That is why the community and Black journalists are speaking up and calling them out. At the same time, the community needs more independent media coverage that will reflect what the community is about. The revolution has never been publicized so it is our duty to do it with social media (drops mic).

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