Welcome to “the media.” Enemy of the people that you hold in your hand. You can burn it like a flag and no one will care.
Lumping all the media together is like lumping all protesters together. I’ve been in lots of newsrooms, read and consumed a lot of news and most of the people putting real effort into it have integrity. When you hear complaints about “Drive by Media,” “Fake News” and “Mainstream Media,” take note that it’s usually coming from a source that claims to be No. 1 in the ratings. You will even see columns in this paper complaining about the media when they are the media!
Fox is not ProPublica. And peaceful demonstrators are not looters. Right stuff is not lways right stuff.
But, whatever. We are allowed to think what we like. It’s in the constitution, right?
Take the Black Lives Matter movement. Look at my picture. I’m inherently not qualified to comment; yet I feel, as a human being and a white guy, that I must.
As a columnist and a member of the so-named “enemy,” I feel compelled to use my words.
I’m just so sick of racism. Thanks to the news media, we know more about it than ever. The latest assaults on African-Americans are as close as pushing a button on your phone and asking Siri, “Show me some racism.”
The least I can do as a privileged white guy is try to do no harm and stand in support of African-Americans struggling for equality. From what I understand, black people have noticed the many decent white people standing behind them at peaceful, public demonstrations. Supporters of the concept.
If we have to start by saying “Black Lives Matter,” so be it. Apparently it must be said again and again. Look what an uproar those simple three words have caused. Seeing all white-motorcades — hundreds of trucks (or boats) flying Confederate flags — protesting those words is enough to convince me that we have to start at the very beginning.
I can easily walk among white racists because of the color of my skin. They would assume that I share their hate, jealousy, ignorance, anger, superiority, intelligence, passion, racism. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
I was riding my paddle-board on a lake in Ohio recently. A pontoon party boat called “The Floating Turd” buzzed past: American flag flying on one side and a Confederate one waving next to it. It shook me up. I pretended not to see and turned my board toward a dock, but they waved and said, “Hi.” Probably because I was white and my dog is cute. What would they have done if I were black?
For me it all boils down to humanity. I really can’t see how any one person is inherently better than anyone else.
Imagine if all of humanity were blind. If we were all blind, we wouldn’t know what color anyone was.
Whites are not going to save the day or lead the movement but what we do now is important. A lot of us want to help and recognize that we’ve been part of the problem. We can say unequivocally that black lives matter and are ready for the next step. We know that it’s not enough to have a woman of color running for vice president. We know that change starts at home.
When we’ve stood up at rallies simply saying, “black lives matter,” we’ve seen the hostility and hatriotism (sic) come flying back at us! I was at a demonstration in Fraser, Colorado. About 40 of us were out there when we were coal rolled and fed the bird by a big fat white supremacist.
Now even white racists are shooting down white Black Lives Matter demonstrators in the street. Which tells me that to some, we white people are guilty by association and as worthy of scorn as the black lives that we say matter. What about the FIRST, NUMBER ONE amendment?
So, if people think I’m part of the liberal media trying to stop America from being great, they got it wrong. It’s not liberal to want to put a stop to prejudice. But it may be Christian.
Said Rosa Parks: “I don’t think well of people who are prejudiced against people because of race. The only way for prejudiced people to change is for them to decide for themselves that all human beings should be treated fairly. We can’t force them to think that way.”
Said Amy Goodman: “The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It’s not our job to cozy up to power. We’re supposed to be the check and balance on government.”
Reach Steve Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org.