• Mamadou Wade

Media Brainwashing and Police Brutality in America

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Police officers’ roles in society are to make us feel safe, but nowadays it feels as if their superior power has led to unjust, inhumane decisions and has lit fear into the eyes of the many. However, no one feels more threatened by this than black citizens. It almost seems this is becoming a trend for police officers; practically every day we hear of another unarmed black male, shot and killed by a police officer.

There have been 76 people killed in police custody in the U.S., unarmed, since the 1999 death of Amadou Diallo. Police thought Diallo matched a profile of another criminal, and when he pulled out what would later be identified as a wallet, he was shot 41 times. Police officers are meant to stop the “bad guy” while protecting the citizens, but now the roles seem to be reversed.

Recently we have been faced with another tragic incident. Freddie Gray, a 25 year-old male from Baltimore, died on April 19th after sustaining a spinal cord injury following his arrest. His death fueled protests in response to the ongoing issues of police brutality and the killing of unarmed black citizens.

Many still conclude that the officer who claimed to have acted in self-defense has a justified prejudice because of the amount of crimes committed by black men. As the lives of black males are being taken away, the finger is not being pointed at authorities, but at the ones lying in their graves, unable to justify their actions.

Perhaps instead of condemning these black men we should be addressing the systemic issues disproportionally affecting black lives. To see this type of racial inequality occur makes my heart ache, and I smile in appreciation of Canada and hope this doesn’t become an issue in the nation I call home.

These events, compiled with the sheer number of innocent black men killed in the past year, has led to protests and chaos in the streets of Baltimore. Some protests turned violent but many remained peaceful.

However, the media is attempting to convince us that all protests in Baltimore are violent and unnecessary, as we sit on our couches watching what looks to be a zoo on fire. They are not showing us that many of these protests are peaceful and nonviolent. This misinformation further fuels the chaos and perpetuates the black stereotype.

As the average viewer, we are seeing uneducated thugs, doing unnecessary things. The media, especially Fox News, are furthering the idea of racism. They attempt to generalize an entire culture, thus turning all Muslims into jihadists, all Hispanics into illegal immigrants, and all blacks into thugs. This promotes an ideology of fear, and further separates the many races and cultures that make up America.

Martin Luther King Jr. would be rolling in his grave if he was able to see the war being waged over Baltimore. However, perhaps he might have been proud, as the man who had never once retaliated might actually crack a smile for the individuals protesting in a peaceful manner.

The real cause of the riots are being avoided, much like the issue of racism itself. They are attempting to make us believe that Baltimore’s chaos is the fault of Barack Obama, or bad parenting, or poverty, or Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (The mayor of Baltimore). Through this cloud of smoke we are forgetting the real cause, the death of Freddie Gray, and not recognizing the racist nature of America today.

Officer Brian Rice, 41, was convicted of manslaughter and will face a possible 10 year sentence. It could and should be longer, but it is a step in the right direction. This will perhaps calm the streets of Baltimore, but it will not bring Freddie Gray back.

The blatant truth is this: Freddie Gray’s death was not his own doing, and if the media refuses to recognize the ever growing problem that is racism, then we as a society must do it without them.