BHAVNA MAMNANI ’22
Blatant racism in the media isn’t new information; we’ve all witnessed it. From well recognized media outlets rushing to label innocent colored people as “thugs” and “terrorists” while filing white people as mental health strugglers, it’s impossible to miss the white sympathy that has infiltrated our so called “unbiased” media. Time and time again we’ve come to accept the reality that people of color simply don’t receive the same careful, undivided attention that white people do when it comes to instances like this, but how can we sit in complacency when we know we can make a difference? It’s easy to become desensitized to the injustices millions of people suffer daily, but we have a civic duty as enlightened and educated individuals to call out what we know is wrong and urge other people to see our point of view.
Recently, a Black Lives Matter activist from Ferguson, Melissa McKinnie, found her son, Danye Jones, hanging from a tree in her own backyard. Despite convincing arguments that this was a lynching, local police deemed his death a suicide. Given this country’s notorious reputation for lynching innocent black men, can we really be subject to believe that this was a suicide? Especially considering the fact that his mom is a Black Lives Matter activist, it is (stupid) to believe that this ruling of a suicide is based on actual facts. When the Black Lives Matter movement started to gain momentum and media attention, organizers were targeted and their lives were, and apparently still are, at risk; the death of Danye Jones CANNOT be subject to our desensitization. It’s time to realize that well-known media outlets are intentionally not covering this incident because it would expose the underlying racist, lynching culture America has tried so hard to hide from the rest of the world. How many more innocent bodies can we let die due to our own idleness? While we aren’t proud of this outdated mentality that is omnipresent in America, the first step to reversing it, is recognizing that it is indeed a problem. Exposing big media outlets for sidelining the death of an innocent boy is the least we can do as commoners hoping for a change.
Jones’ tragic death should be perceived as a sign that mainstream media truly does not care for those who aren’t privileged and in turn, we should not feel bad for calling them out on their illogical morals. White supremacists don’t deserve their secrecy; the more active we are about exposing them, the less likely they are to tarnish their public reputation.
The fact that we are still worrying about finding a Black body hanging from a tree in 2018 should be warning enough that America needs change. Not just in terms of social activism, but policies and laws are obviously in need of strong change. I really can’t say what it will take to urge the general public to peel away their desensitized layer and realize that these incidents are not normal and should not be taken lightly. After all, convenience is our biggest downfall.
Rest in Peace, Danye Jones.