Sunday, August 31, 2014

White and misinformed by the mainstream media

GUEST: Odell Winfield, cofounder and Director of the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library, talks about Michael Brown and the End New Jim Crow Action Network in Poughkeepsie, Kingston and Newburgh. 

Odell and I had a wide ranging discussion about African American rights. We were quick to agree on many points: that young black men are targeted by white police forces, that killings like Michael Brown's expose the long standing racism that has become institutionalized in our society, and that generally, white people prefer not to see it. 

We went on to the role of our media in helping whites avoid the ugly truths about how society treats people of color. The lies published immediately after the murder that Michael Brown had attacked and injured the police officer were discussed. So were the video that seemed to implicate Michael Brown in a stealing incident prior to his being shot. Those images stay with white people, even though later disproven by more thorough news coverage. No evidence ever turned up that an officer had been injured, and witnesses dismissed these allegations. Supposed video images of Michael Brown shoplifting were also called into question. 

Yet whites remember these lies and are often unaware that they have been disproven. After the show, I asked a number of educated whites about the sequence of events. To a person, they still connected an attack on a police officer and a shoplifting video with Michael Brown's shooting. Amazing! They hadn't paid enough attention, preferring to apply a racial stereotype to avoid being too upset with his murder. 

The NY Times was complicit in reenforcing this stereotype. Our premier newspaper reported that Michael Brown was a pot smoke, had "problems," and was "no angel." Would a young white murder victim have been described that way? The NY Times also printed misleading stories from "sources," rather than revealing that those sources were the Ferguson police.

African Americans, Odell informed me, don't get their news from The NY Times. We talked about other sources, like the Hudson Valley Press. Check them out if you are white and misinformed by the mainstream media: http://www.hvpress.net.

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