The uproar surrounding the killing of an unarmed teen, Mike Brown, by police in Ferguson, Mo. is just getting started. With tempers boiling among locals in the small town (which is just outside of St. Louis) since the Saturday, August 9 shooting, some would say that reactions — ranging from peaceful protests to riots — are equally just.
Brown’s death also sparked conversations about the looming danger of being a Black man both online and in real time, many of which are ongoing. But when it comes the former, nothing has stuck like a hashtag titled #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. Inspired by various news outlets’ choice to use a photo of the 18-year-old scowling, the trending topic spotlights the portrayal of Black men posthumously and how that characterizes victims in the public eye.
Twitter users fueled the fire by posting side by side photos of themselves to show the disparity in their lives and accomplishments, while posing a sole question: “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown, what picture would the news use?”
We’ve seen how the news portrayed Brown, who was slated to attend his first year of college this fall, and similar victims like Trayvon Martin in their wake. But the real question is, Will the media will ever stop unfairly painting Blacks as a threat?
See some of the aggregated tweets on the following page. Share your thoughts in the comments.