Letâ€™s be real. Most Americans have never given two shits about Baltimoreâ€™s decaying housing, dilapidated schools, corrupt police force, rising unemployment, lack of proper health care, access to healthy food and overall deteriorating social conditions. When Freddie Grayâ€™s death sparked days of peaceful protest, most Americans, media included, still didnâ€™t give the countryâ€™s 26th most populated city, half a thought. It wasnâ€™t until the protest morphed into an explosive uprising, likely triggered by outside forces, that so-called well-meaning citizens around the nation began pretending to be concerned about â€œrioters and looters destroying their own communitiesâ€�. Before these events, the only time the general populace even thought about Baltimoreâ€™s residents and its crumbling infrastructure was as a form of voyeuristic entertainment on The Wire. Damn hypocrites.
In typical fashion, mainstream media has brushed aside the human element and deeply troubling cause of the unrest, choosing to sensationalize looting and property damage instead. CNN and Fox have written a simplified, more palatable version of the story, giving Americans a diverse cast of characters to distract themselves with. Celebrated and paraded as role models by Conservatives and Democrats alike, white Americaâ€™s new heroes (at least for the next 15 minutes) include:
* Toya Graham who beat her son live on TV to prevent him from risking his life protesting and became white Americaâ€™s â€œMother of the Yearâ€� for doing what theyâ€™d secretly like to do to every Black protester. Never mind the fact that CPS is now launching a child abuse investigation.
* Robert Valentine, a 72 year old Vietnam veteran who stood in front of a row of police officers on live TV and told young rioters to â€œtake their butts homeâ€�. When interviewed by a CNN reporter, Mr. Valentine said, â€œIâ€™m not black, white, red or yellow â€” nothing. I am an Americanâ€�, a statement sure to warm the spirit of any white person whoâ€™s ever pretended to not see color. Anderson Cooper called Valentine a hero.
* An unidentified young boy photographed handing out water bottles to a line of officers in full riot gear. The touching picture quickly went viral, helping â€œwhite people who donâ€™t have a single racist bone in their bodyâ€� realize that â€œnot all Black youth are thugs after allâ€�. Heartwarming, isnâ€™t it?
While I donâ€™t doubt the pure intentions of these individuals for a second, their blatant exploitation is disgusting. The propaganda machine used their likeness to craft a new, more digestible public narrative, strategically pushing the average person to forget the root of the unrest and remember only those â€œlawless looters and the heroes who helped put an end to the chaosâ€�. Two days later, with relative calm having returned to Baltimore, the Washington Post had the balls to report that Freddie Gray might have severed his own spinal cord. In the meantime, Rand Paul blamed Baltimoreâ€™s unrest on â€œlack of fathersâ€� and Texas GOP Rep. Bill Flores linked Baltimore protests to gay marriage. Thankfully, amidst the distraction tactics, the six police officers who had Mr. Gray in their custody while he suffered fatal injuries have been charged with manslaughter and second degree murder. Maybe breaking windows does work after all.
Will the charges stick? Time will tell but Americaâ€™s had a poor track record holding law enforcement accountable for their crimes. For now, the media machine is back to business as usual and by next week, Baltimoreâ€™s protests will be just another page in mainstream Americaâ€™s scrapbook. What were those annoying protestors rioting about again? Who cares? The Mayweather vs. Pacquiao event is around the corner. Thatâ€™s the kind of feel-good fight all Americans can comfortably get behind, right?
This article can also be found at http://raprehab.com/baltimore-media-propaganda-and-how-to-make-white-people-feel-comfortable/