An everlasting issue in our nation is the racial tension between Caucasians and African Americans. Even though our country has definitely matured from the times where slavery and segregation were a fundamental part in our society, racial discrimination is still extremely prevalent in our country today. As of a few days ago, riots have completely broken out in the city of Baltimore due to the racial tension involving the death of Freddie Gray. According to The Baltimore Sun, Gray was taken into custody by the police for having an illegal switchblade on him. It’s not clear what happened, but once Gray was taken into the police station, he was found with a severe spinal injury to his neck that caused him to go into a coma, eventually leading him to his death. Because Gray wasn’t committing any crimes at the time he was arrested, and the fact that he’s black, gave the assumption that he was racially profiled by the police officers. This caused an uproar in the city of Baltimore where riots, looting, and burning buildings filled the streets.
But before we grab our pitchforks and torches, we should take a step back and ask ourselves why these petty incidences are causing these wide scale riots in the first place.
If we look at other incidents of this kind, the answer becomes obvious: it’s the media that is keeping racism alive in our country. Nine months ago in Ferguson Missouri, a black man named Micheal Brown was allegedly shot by a white police officer named Darren Wilson after being chased down for stealing. The media reported that Brown turned around with his hands up in surrender, but police officer Wilson proceeded to shoot him. However later on it was discovered that the media completely falsified this story; Brown wasn’t actually killed as an innocent victim, but was killed in an act of self defense for Wilson’s life. The New York Times later reported the real story where “Mr. Brown had leaned into Wilson’s patrol car, punched him, reached for his gun, and then after running away, turned and charged at him, making Mr. Wilson fear for his life” (Winter). The media fabricated this story to portray Wilson as a racist man despite the fact that he was acting in self-defense.
Another event of this kind happened three days later in Utah, but this time the officer was black while the victim was white. According to The Huffington Post, Dillon Taylor was shot point blank in a 7/11 parking lot after failing to comply with the officers request to put his hands up. Taylor was killed on the spot right after he was shot. In this situation there was clear evidence that Taylor turned towards the officer and wasn’t making any threatening moves because the officer was wearing a body cam that captured the whole incident. However the officer’s actions were considered to be “justified” and the press barely picked up on this story, even though it mirrored the falsified story that happened only three days before.
When the media chooses stories based on skin color and falsifies the events involving racial disputes, it keeps discrimination in our country alive. When people are constantly hearing stories of racial hate crimes in the news, it sets a strong precedent that our nation is still incredibly racist. If the news were to report the real truth and report unbiased cases, then the outlook on racism would decline and riots such as the ones in Baltimore could be avoided.