Displaying (and editing) Black Folks Without Permission

Seen some scary-looking, out-of-control Black images lately? This is a function of Systemic Racism, not a coincidence. Bear with me… Racism is complicated.

Monday, Fox News was caught misleading viewers again, in a locally-shown story that could easily have been picked up by Fox’s national news. WBFF chopped up footage of a protest chant to sound like incitement to murder police.

A chant the story ran actually went, “We won’t stop, we can’t stop, ’til killer cops, are in cell blocks,” according to C-SPAN footage (my italics).

But WBFF cut the audio short and told viewers that the words were in fact “we won’t stop, we can’t stop, so kill a cop.” (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/fox-wbff-edit-protest-kill-a-cop)

With me so far?

Now…. a person focused on their White Privilege would ask, “Local? What’s the big deal?” Well, it was a big deal.

  • First, it originated in Baltimore, a big city with longstanding issues around Race, on a Fox outlet with a large viewership, in the course of Fox’s always-reactive news pace.
  • Second, it was part of an ongoing effort to smear a longtime civil rights leader, Al Sharpton, who was present at the demonstration, and “his” similarly-hued President.
  • Third, Barack Obama is our nation’s President.
  • Fourth, it further inflamed the already-inflamed white and Black demonstrators and encouraged an already-deep national rift between all US citizens.

From WBFF FOX 45’s FB page: “Fox45 is apologizing for an error made on Fox45 News at Ten last night. We aired a clip from a protest in Washington, DC where we reported protesters were chanting “kill a cop”. We received a phone call from Tawanda Jones, who is in the video, who informed us that the chant was actually “We won’t stop….We can’t stop…. ‘til killer cops…. are in cell blocks”….”

I agree with the White Allies in Dismantling Racism member who said about this story:

‘For all those who went ballistic about the false news story saying protesters were chanting “Kill a cop”, they were not and here’s the proof. Everyone, PLEASE consider underreacting right now… we are all on edge, both sides are grieving. We can come together this peaceful season and forgive, even if its just for the week, let’s see how that feels, who knows? Maybe there will be a shift, if everyone forgives, the Universe just might answer and reveal a solution…”

A parallel pressure-tactic recently resulted in NYC Mayor deBlasio making a big political booboo by calling upon New Yorkers to set aside protests until after the funerals of the two police officers who were shot and killed in an ambush over the weekend (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nyc-mayor-de-blasio-put-aside-protests-until-slain-cops-n273251).

White Privilege would say, “Susan! That was Compassion!!!

Wide-awake white lady says, “It was a pressured mis-step that he made because of his compassion, but it was also much more.”

DeBlasio, by appearing to orchestrate a break in Black Lives Matter demonstrations, gave the impression that he WAS leading that movement, as its detractors were saying. Nonononono….. he is not Black Lives Matter, though he has spoken movingly about his own biracial, teenaged son. Thankfully, Black Lives Matter’s leadership has announced that the deaths of the NYC police officers had nothing to do with their movement, affirming that they are not governmentally led! (Close call, Mr. Mayor!)

All these news stories come with featured photographs of scary-looking, out-of-control Black faces. This is a function of Systemic Racism, not a coincidence. Black bodies have been on display in places they don’t control, since they were brought to the USA in captivity. It’s not so different from how Red bodies are displayed, even in this more-enlightened age. You can still see disproportionately more personal Black and Red images than white images. We still have a tendency to respond to positively-perceived Black images with, “How pretty!”, which is a very short step (subconsciously) from “How much to buy that?”

If this is all hot news to you, the display of Black human beings without their express permission is detailed in Medical ApartheidBy Harriet A. Washington (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_Apartheid). Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present is a 2007 book by Harriet A. Washington. It is a history of medical experimentation on African Americans. From the era of slavery to the present day, this book presents the first full account of black America’s mistreatment as unwitting subjects of medical experimentation.”

~Susan

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