Shape Shifter

This past weekend was a very sad time for some people. Friday the public laid to rest the world’s greatest athlete Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Then Sunday a shooter later identified as Omar Mateen murdered 49 people in an Orlando nightclub. Both of these incidents are extremely heartbreaking and my condolences to any and everyone who has lost someone that they truly love. This blog isn’t about guns, the LGBT community, or Ali but about how the media continues to shape how those of us who live in this society think and feel about groups of people based off of the actions of one. The media is a mastermind manipulator that knows how to play off of people’s fears, lack of knowledge, and insecurities. The country mourned for a man who was unapologetically who he was as an African-American who practiced Islam in a publicly aired ceremony on Friday. The entire world mourned for this man; the entire world felt closeness to this man, this Muslim man. To counter those feelings of compassion and empathy the media brings us right back to where we were by associating the Orlando shooting with ISIS and Islam.

There was also another shooting that almost took place in L.A. that targeted the LGBT community but the effort was thwarted by LAPD. But you won’t hear about this incident because the would-be attacker was a white man that did not associate with ISIS or Islam. The media consists of shape shifters who shape the thoughts of many impressionable minds every day. You have to watch television with a grain of salt these days. Don’t take everything at face value and when major events happen wait for as many details “to be released” as possible prior to forming an opinion. White America wants us to fear minorities across the board. African-Americans are violent ignorant savages, Muslims are terrorists, Mexicans/Hispanics are drug lords, and Asians will call Kim Jung Un at the drop of a dime of you make eye contact for too long. Even Italians have the mafia stereotype that follows them and believe it or not Hip Hop and Rap music is a part of that negative image.

When a naïve white person who may have never come into contact with a Black person visualizes a Black-American what do you think they see? I think they see whatever is aired on your television. They see men on shows like Love & Hip Hop thinking that all Black men are like Peter Gunz. They watch shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta and they think that all Black women do is argue and fight no matter how much money they have. They turn on the radio and all they hear is Migos, Future, Drake, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj which does nothing but reinforce the negative images that they see on television. In doing this the media shapes and shifts our own thoughts and images of what we think and how we see each other. A young Black youth might think that Mexicans are all illegal immigrants trying to sell cocaine outside of their school. If you live in a city that is truly diverse where people of all backgrounds, races, religions, and creeds eat, work, play, and shop together than you have an idea of what those cultures really are but if you’ve never driven a mile outside of where you live then that influences your thoughts and ideas about these images. If Rappers go to jail, stay on probation, or has public exchanges with the courts (i.e. Meek Mill) then what image is being shaped by the media about Hip Hop and Rap music?

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