“Jim, you’re candid, but you’re sensitive” is a line my right-hand man Wayne says to me all the time. That’s how I’m going to be in this week’s blog post. As you know, I am a strong advocate for uplifting others whenever possible, but I feel as if I must get some tough thoughts surrounding many national controversies off my chest.
Entertainment is designed to create insanity.
Over two weeks ago, our entire country tuned in to the “fight of the century.” Yes, Mayweather vs. McGregor. I understand this fight was good for our local bars and casinos in terms of profitable business, but I can’t sit back and not discuss how the entire show was constructed by media outlets who enabled more rage into an already angry country.
As difficult as it is to admit, it’s no secret that our current society is filled with a vast amount of rage. If you watch the news or even take a quick scroll through your Facebook timeline, average citizens, politicians, celebrities, etc. are all weighing in on our current political and societal states. This mainly consists of angry comments about political decisions, as well as topics such as racial profiling and law enforcement violence. It’s honestly hard to watch this unfold because it feels like there’s no solution.
We pit ourselves against one another. Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett released a statement accusing the Las Vegas police department of racial profiling him during the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. He said they restrained him and pointed a gun at him because he was black. He claimed that one of the officers threatened to “blow my f------ head off.” These situations are highlighted by the media, which in turn creates a wider divide amongst citizens because they are forced to “take sides.” As both parties involved release statements and the official investigation is conducted, we are constantly subjected to media outlets spinning the narrative in multiple ways that escalates the situation.
Regardless of the true facts of the situation, it is the portrayal by the media to paint a specific picture that will benefit their outlet. Media outlets tend to opt for creation of chaos where chaos may not exist because they are focused on beating their competitors. This chaos instills more fear of law enforcement officials by labeling a situation like this one a hate crime against black lives. The media plays into the hands of social issues and capitalizes on the negative press of yet another police department.
I am in no way shape or form saying that Michael Bennett is lying, but I am saying that the media does often capitalize on situations where a prominent black man is mistreated by a law enforcement official because it creates a sense of fear in Americans when in fact we don’t know the full details yet.
As citizens, constantly being subjected to this type of news doesn’t help us grow. They want to paint a picture that gets the most views. They are looking to create chaos where chaos may not exist because they are so focused on beating the competitor. That’s why we’re constantly at war:
- Law enforcement or. Citizen
- White vs. Black
- Male vs. Female
- Republican vs. Democrat
Another example of the media painting their own picture is the Penn State football team. As a program that is forever tainted by Jerry Sandusky’s actions, they struggle to disassociate from that past and move forward. On Saturday, CNN reported a story featuring a 2001 police report about an incident involving Jerry Sandusky that Joe Paterno may have known about. They conveniently released this story knowing there was going to be a college football audience for the PSU home opener against Pitt. The story was posted to spark controversy at the predicted highest chance of viewing and newsworthiness because the media are more obsessed with website clicks than the characters of the story. Now instead of focusing on the football team and the future of the program during the game, the entire country was talking about yet another revelation about the past and reminded of the negativity that continues to haunt the PSU program. CNN is a weak cable channel desperate for any eyeballs.
The response to the story by Big Trial, a Philadelphia trial blog, questions the credibility of CNN reporter Sara Ganim because of her proximity to this ongoing story, as well as the evidence at hand for relevance. The blog claims that it is another example of the media spinning a piece of evidence into a full-blown narrative, which in this case, is seen as outdated.
It doesn’t end. The issues are being narrowed down to continuously be seen as a battle, rather than trying to pose solutions.
Our social media posts have turned into real outbreaks in our communities as protests continue to happen that put our neighborhoods in danger. These real-life events are caused by:
- Political Backlash
And now we’ve made a spectacle of real-life violence.
The real drama happening in our country is forming a divide, and our media are playing into that hand. Leading up to the fight, I heard countless people talk about how “he’s going to kill him in 10 seconds” about both participants. We are advocating violence, and even worse, we are advocating for the pitting of the black man vs. the white man.
Photo credit: http://ftw.usatoday.com
What is this teaching our future generation? That it’s okay in some areas to advocate for the “killing” of a black man, but in “real-life” that’s unacceptable? That we must always view people by their skin color rather than their personal morals, opinions, and goals?
We need to be transparent all the time. The portrayal of these two fighters by the media created such a false hype for our society that we bought into the destruction of another man. We’re moving backwards as a society if we truly believe violence for entertainment and in reality are going to solve any problems.
Em-Media does not want to be a part of this construction of chaos. We want to deliver the truth and combat the negativity. We want to improve society. We want to live in unison with our neighbors, and we want to celebrate triumphs, not harp on failures. We want to live as one nation.
Take leadership and ownership over our country.
It’s difficult to ignore the violence, but I still hold out hope. I challenge you to stop letting the media control our society. Start educating yourself on policies and current issues through primary resources. Communication is a two-way street as we can engage with media outlets through discussion posts and social media outlets. Make a conscience effort to give back and provide more positivity and kindness in our communities. Don’t let this be our fate. Teach your kids right from wrong, and educate them to be respectful of all races and that we’re all created equally. We want to build our society to be strong, prosperous, and unified - not weak, desolate, and divided.
Racism rivers flow both ways.
We can’t turn our heads away from these issues because that makes us just as guilty as these media outlets that are using our country’s pain for their financial gain. If we ignore, we’re only worsening the situation by not calling out the injustices and demanding more from our neighbor.
This profiling has to stop. We must stop viewing one another by the color of our skin. We need to understand that as much as we think we are progressing, we’re not when we continue to only see color. When we choose to profile one another, we choose to give in to this divide where we would rather separate ourselves into our respected categories. We need to break these barriers to end the hatred.
We must respect our authorities. The men and women of the police force take an oath to protect us. We must break the “us vs. them” issue, and start co-existing with law enforcement officials to create a safer community for all. When we begin to respect one another and view the law enforcement as protectors who are doing their jobs and following protocol, we begin to see unification.