You wouldn’t know it to listen in at the beginning of this video, but this noisy free-for-all is a press conference. The people shouting off-camera are not members of the local community reacting from the spleen but journalists who know, or should know, better.
Weasel Zippers provides the background details:
This is the press conference held by Gov. Jay Nixon yesterday announcing that there would be a curfew in Ferguson to try to help curb the violence. But many in the audience were not interested in what the Governor or any of the speakers had to say, just shouting for the scalp of the cop involved in the shooting, Darren Wilson. No wait for the facts, the investigation, we want him indicted now.
One woman actually talks about Michael Brown, that “poor child” who was “shot down in cold blood”. No, Michael Brown may or may not have been wrongly killed. But he was hardly a “child”, nor was he shot “in cold blood”. He was 18 years old, 6’4″ tall and 292 pounds. Pretty big child who was bigger than the officer involved. This “child” was in the middle of fleeing a strong arm robbery when the officer came upon him and a struggle ensued. No cold blood about it. To call this man a child is in an of itself an infantilizing of young black men. They are “children,” no matter how old they are. And how racist is that?
The infantalization of young black men is an especially interesting point. Do you remember the picture of Trayvon Martin shown below? It was plastered all over the mainstream media and left-leaning blogs.
For months after the story made national headlines, this photo of a fresh-faced angelic-looking child was the only visual the public had to go on in weighing the facts of the case. Many were incredulous at the notion that a child barely past puberty could wrestle to the ground, let alone overpower, an adult. Even after more recently taken pictures of the slain teen were made available, including the one below, the mental image had been cemented.
The other troubling aspect of the account of yesterday’s news conference is that reporters — especially those assigned to crime beats — are trained in the workings of the legal system. Angry mobs might be expected to cry out for an indictment of Darren Wilson before the evidence and testimony have been gathered, but the press is expected to know that’s how the system works.
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