As you probably know, following the tragic killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer (his crime was, of course, being black), there have been riots in St. Louis. But online, a response has launched nationally in the form of the viral social media hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown.
The movement calls out the depiction of minorities in the media—and how a 'thug' narrative is often applied to justify the deaths of young men and women at the hands of cops. We saw it with Trayvon Martin:
By picking and choosing what photos are shown on the news and printed in papers, these tragedies are reframed as justified accidents.
Thousands of people on twitter and tumblr are submitting their own examples. Below, some of the examples of the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown movement:
It's great to see this called out...but I can't say I'm optimistic enough to think it will make much of a difference on the sick triangle between race, law enforcement, and the media.
I'm working on a report on this topic for a social justice through social media course, so it's something I've had a lot of opportunities to think about. I do hope someday soon there will be enough progress that a black man won't be killed by police nearly every single day. I feel sad for all of the families who have lost an innocent child, and I feel ashamed of my fellow white people—or at least those that have abused their privilege and power in the worst of ways.
What do you guys think?