For those of you that know me, read my article, or heard my presentation 2 weeks ago, you know how I feel about racism (spoiler alert: it isn’t over). I’ve written on police brutality and I’ve spoken briefly (and nervously) on the racist housing policies that created the ghettos we see today, drawing inspiration from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ brilliant article. Today, I’m turning my attention to media’s racial racist double standards it uses. We’ve all heard about the riots that took place in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting. The people rioting have been called hoodlums, Ted Nugent called them thugs (the same Ted Nugent that called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel”) and savages, all terms used almost exclusively to describe black people. But what about the riots involving mainly white people? Violent riots erupted after Kentucky lost in the NCAA tournament and the annual Pumpkin Fest in Keene, New Hampshire was just as destructive. What does the mainstream media say about them? I found very little media coverage on the riots in Kentucky or the riots in New Hampshire during Pumpkin Fest (seriously?). The Kentucky rioters were called “unruly fans”, the New Hampshire rioters were called a “rowdy crowd” by CNN. It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words and this picture is no exception, aptly displaying the rank hypocrisy of the media.
The Ferguson rioters have been used to validate Darren Wilson’s actions to shoot Michael Brown, the racist police tactics in Ferguson, justification for traditional stereotypes that refer to black people as animals and thugs, and they have prompted political and social discussion about the problems in the black community. Kentucky rioters? Nothing. Keene rioters? Nothing. No media commentary about the problems in the white community. Just the usual shrug and kids being kids response. As Sally Kohn from CNN so properly put it, “how is it that the bad behavior of some black people is used to condemn an entire community, while the bad behavior of some white kids is excused and explained away?” Good question Sally. I have my answer but if you want to discuss the issue further, feel free to express your beliefs in the comments section.