Two years ago today, 18-year-old Mike Brown was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Demonstrations which began as vigils of grief in the small Missouri town ultimately birthed the Black Lives Matter movement; across the country, Brown’s death became a catalyst for protests against racial inequality the likes of which have not been seen since the Civil Rights Era.
But how much has changed since Aug. 9, 2014? Not much, unfortunately.
According to a Huffington Post article published just last month (July 7), 136 black people have been killed by police officers in 2016 alone. The narrative between the black community and law enforcement has remained largely the same.
As Black Lives Matter has gained national prominence, push-back via the emergence of phrases like “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” attempt to erase the truth carried within that simple, three-word motto: “Yes, all lives matter, but some don’t matter as much in this country and we aim to change that.”
Part of the issue is that systemic racism exists in every facet of American life, including the part of it responsible for recording and sharing our common history: the media.
Less than a week after his death, and before the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was coined, Jezebel picked up a piece I wrote that examined how racial bias in print media skewed the story of Mike Brown, and by extension, many of the stories of people of color.
As a media professional, I can absolutely say this is something that still happens everyday. It’s something even I, a Latina, struggle with myself when covering stories within my own community. I was angry at my colleagues in 2014 for the biases through which they reported. I’m still angry now. We can do better.
I hope you take the time to read the piece if you haven’t already.
Top image credit: MStarNews