The vicious slaying of Mike Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police has once again shown that the narrative the media paints surrounding black people in America more often than not includes depicting us as violent thugs with gang and drug affiliations. It’s safe to say that Brown has become a victim of what I like to refer to as the “Trayvon Martin effect” in the media.
Trayvon, who was killed by George Zimmerman, was depicted as a gold-grill-wearing, weed-smoking teenager in the photos used by the media. There were no photos of Trayvon smiling with his family members or being just your average happy teen, which his family members said he was. Similarly, the photos of Brown that have been picked up by the media included him throwing up a peace sign, which conservative media has translated into a “gang sign.”
As tensions remain high, not only in the town of Ferguson but also on social media, Twitter users created #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to make a statement on how the media draws a biased narrative when it comes to telling the stories of black men and women. The following images not only tell a truthful story but also prove that we, as black people, know what our narrative is, but we are also not blind to the fact that the media will, of course, be biased in showing the truth:
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown what picture would they use
Yes let’s do that: Which photo does the media use if the police shot me down? #IfTheyGunnedMeDown
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown, and I was unarmed, what picture would the media use to create a racialized bias?
What picture would they use #IfTheyGunnedMeDown? Note that I’m holding a simple airsoft gun.
#IftheyGunnedMeDown Which pic the news gonna show? I look fly in both tho
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown would they use my pic on the left or the right?
#iftheygunnedmedown which picture would they use?
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown which pic would they use?
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown is not only a sad commentary on what it means to be black in America but also shows that in order to have our own narrative correctly reported, we have to do the reporting ourselves.
Following the slaying of Brown, various media outlets falsely reported that protesters were chanting, “Kill the police,” but if you followed the social media accounts of those at the protest, they verified that the protesters were shouting not “Kill the police” but “No justice, no peace.”
Several residents in the St. Louis area have taken to their social media accounts to provide an accurate narrative of what’s going on in Ferguson. People like St. Louis rapper Vandalyzm and Alderman Antonio French have diligently updated their Twitter and Vine accounts to provide videos of the protests and the unfortunate looting that has occurred.
As the Ferguson police continue their investigation into the police killing of Brown, residents of the city have the right and just cause to shout and scream for answers. Brown’s killing proves once again that those whose jobs are to “protect and serve” are sometimes the ones we need to protect ourselves from, especially if we’re Black.
To express your outrage, please contact Attorney General Eric Holder via email at AskDOJ@usdoj.gov or the Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line at( 202) 353-1555.
*Original article published on The Root
Last year I wrote about things in marriage I don’t think I’ll like. Things like having to share a bank account, taking on a new last name & dealing with in-laws (oh boy!). But there are many more reasons why I am afraid to get married. Here they are in no particular order:
- Sex with the same person over & over (and over) – It’s no secret that doing the same thing with the same person repeatedly can get boring. Even if it is your favorite thing to do! It’s hard to keep things fresh over the years and even women fear being stuck in a routine.
- Dealing with his shiftless friends – Every man I’ve ever dated seems to have at least 1 no-good friend. That friend who keeps him out late, tempts him with his bachelor-like ways and doesn’t have much regard for married life. Sometimes that friend can end up in your guest bedroom or unknowingly ruin your marriage.
- Loss of my independence – Men aren’t the only ones who are afraid of losing their freedom. Before getting married, women can come & go as they want, dress as sexy as they please and spend their money how they want. We don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings into consideration. If I want to exercise every day or cut off all my hair, I can! I can use my vacation days how I want & don’t have to clean anything until I get ready. We can even leave the bathroom door open!
- Missing my girlfriends – I love my girlfriends! They mean so much to me as a single woman & I can’t imagine the day when I won’t be able to call them at midnight for a little ‘girl chat’. When I get married I can’t talk to them for hours & hours on end like I do now. Not to mention, I would have to be mindful of the information I’m sharing with them & consider my husband’s feelings instead.
- Adultery – This is probably my worst fear because there is little I can do to keep a grown man from cheating. There are so many stories of men cheating and everyone knows how much that can tear a family apart. A lot of other transgressions can be forgiven but breaking our marriage vows will not be taken lightly. I haven’t stayed single this long to end up with a man who disrespects me & my body so adultery is definitely grounds for divorce.
- My body – Even the Scripture says “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband.” This means that when a woman gets married her body belongs to her husband (and his body belongs to her). Whether the couple decides to start a family, or even to fulfill her wifely duties, she is surrendering her body to the marriage. Men don’t seem to understand how serious that is. I don’t think they know how scary that can be for a woman to have to yield what was once hers to someone else. Men, think of it like your bank account: Before getting married, you were the only one who had access to your money & could do whatever you wanted with it. But once you get married, your wife has access to your account and it is no longer just your money. You may not want her dipping into your bank account all the time but in the interest of making her happy, you let her. It’s the same way with our bodies. That’s deep!
Ladies, am I leaving anything out? Do you have any fears about marriage? How do you plan on handling them (if you haven’t already)?
Men, how would you handle these fears that women have? Do you have any advice for women who might be facing these fears? I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments below -
She asked me the question because she was on the fence about whether she should have a baby. I remember that time in my life. I think I’m still at that time in my life. Should I have kids? But she was asking me seriously. I was her closest friend with real baby insight. What was the deal? Do the heart-melting moments outweigh the bad stuff and make it totally worth it?
As usual, I am a focus group of one. There seem to be a lot of people out there who think having (and rearing) babies is The Most Fun Ever. They are all like, “Oh my God! And then I get to quit my job and FINALLY buy that house in the ‘burbs and make crafts All. Day. Long. and sing songs and, OMG, I cannot wait!” And I think those people are incredible. (Don’t get me wrong, I love crafts as much as the next gal. I just like to do adult crafts. Alone.) Those people have a different genetic makeup than I do. I think my kid is awesome. All two hours a day I spend with him after living the working mom dream. And then I like to put him to bed and think about how I can’t go anywhere because it’s basically illegal to leave the house. JUST IN CASE. (There’s a lot of “just in case” in parenting. I want to tell people to go ahead and stop talking to me, just in case I get violent.)
But when posed the question, “It is totally worth it?”, I really can’t answer simply. On the one hand, I have a tiny
person: I own a 28-inch human being. He has tiny human pants and little New Balance sneakers and he thinks I am awesome. Like, really awesome. He sees me and he’s all, “Oh thank God it is you! I have been waiting on you since forever and I have no concept of time so that’s basically my whole life!” And he smiles and makes “ahhoooohhh” noises that are pretty funny because he thinks I’m absolutely following what he’s telling me. Mimic him and his mind is blown. We speak the same language!
No, shrunken human, I have no idea what you’re getting at.
But then other times he is a tiny life terrorist. He’s the biggest, most selfish ass in the history of the world. He wants what he wants when he wants it and that’s exactly 30 seconds before it’s humanly possible for me to have it. All the toys in the world are meaningless compared to an outlet or a live wire or anything else that could instantly kill him. He stole everything I knew: my life, my professional life, my social life, my sex life. I now spend evenings putting meat into a blender and then tasting it. Pureed meat! Sh*t ain’t right. He’s turned our cat into a manic-depressive who no longer stares out the window, but rather throws his body against the screen in an attempt to break through and plunge to his death.
And some of those things, like slaving over homemade baby food and losing the love of the family cat, are OK. His cuteness does make those things worth it. But the other stuff? The loss of anything that resembles my former life? That’s where things get complicated. When he wakes up screaming bloody murder just moments after I put him down, right as the wine is about to hit my lips, only to smile and laugh when I go into his room, I frankly think him a deviant little f*ck. A tiny human who was sent to this earth to make me think long and hard about who I am and what I believe.
But that’s not an answer. So I answer like this:
Having a baby is like losing your leg and winning the lottery. Winning the lottery does not make it OK that you’re without your leg, but it does give you enough of a distraction that you don’t completely lose your mind. Yes, your leg is missing, but you’re on a yacht. Would you rather be in a trailer with a leg? Who knows. Guess it depends on whether you felt like going for a jog.
My leg is gone. Blown to smithereens. I have to relearn to walk and dance and run and do everything else I used to know how to do, but I won the lottery, so that’s going to help.
Of course I miss not having a baby. When people say things like, “I don’t even remember what it was like!”, I cannot relate. I remember exactly what it was like. IT WAS AMAZING. I drank in real bars on weeknights. I made last-minute plans. I could get on an airplane without two Xanax and a booster brew and a sincere prayer that the small boy doesn’t freak out at 30,000 feet. When I made a decision, it was with very little other than my own comfort and convenience in mind. Those things come dead last now. If they come at all.
I can’t tell you whether having kids will be worth it for you. And that whole, “We are waiting until we’re ready” thing? Right. You are never ready for this. When the tiny human cometh, all bets are off. And from then on, the question is never again whether or not it’s worth it. The question is how you make it worth it for them.
*Article originally published on Huffington Post.