Don’t undersell the revolution

Dont undersell the revolution

The power of the American spirit has been at a crossroads as citizens embark on a pivotal decision — is it time for a revolution? In recent months, the mantra “Black Lives Matter” and Police Brutality has been brought to the forefront in the media. Race, a topic that stirs tension and avoidance, has caused citizens to choose sides, resulting in a civil war of the establishment versus the victim.

Race has been such a hard lined issue that corporations have attempted to make it less stigmatized. In February 2015, Starbucks attempted to alleviate the issue by starting the “Race Together” campaign, which urged fellow Starbucks-goers to talk about race relations in America. Questions were printed on to cups to inspire conversation, such as “When was the last time you had a person of the opposite race in your household?” The campaign caused a frenzy amongst coffee-moms and everyone in between, causing a PR debacle for Starbucks.

In a written response to the negative opinions pouring in, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz said, “while there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise. We leaned in because we believed that starting this dialogue is what matters most. We are learning a lot.”
Race relations have been one of the core influencers in recent riots this past year. In the case of the Baltimore and Ferguson Riots, black Americans are shown being attacked by Police Officers in what appeared to be civilized confrontations. As though a ticking-time-bomb had erupted, the officers break into attack mode as they go beyond the threshold of “defense” to unleash their fury on the suspects.
Meanwhile, “the younger generation is more racially tolerant than their elders,” said the Pew Research Center in a 2010 report entitled “Millenials: Confident. Connected. Open to change.” The executive summary explained further that “they are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They’re less religious, less likely to have served in the military and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.”

Americans of all races have come to the defense of the victims by advocating in the streets and marching. Their attempt of peaceful protests are typically met with the some citizens who treat the revolution as a joke, as they are seen starting fights with people, looting businesses and setting cars aflame. However, images of looting and violence stirred the angry beast in the American spirit once again, as President Barack Obama responded, “if we think that we’re just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there without, as a nation, and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not going to solve this problem, and we’ll go through this same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities, and the occasional riots in the streets and everybody will feign concern until it goes away and we just go about our business as usual.”

As a result, the media has painted a story that reflects the violent nature within the revolutionists’ spirit, making protestors appear as savages and martyrs. When looking at the long-term implications of this, history will write this experience as a lackluster attempt to give black Americans more credit and the state less authority. If media doesn’t give equal opportunity for all angles to be covered, readers risk the chance of falling into habits of “patternicity,” which is explained in an article in Scientific America, by Michael Shermer, as the tendency to “find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise,” and this explains the fact that making it so that all police will carry their badge of violence, only black people are abused in the law enforcement system and protests will always end in riots.

In order for a revolution to take proper form, it’s important for the media to encompass all aspects of the protests. The coverage of the Baltimore Riots is showing promise, as images of protestors protecting police officers and handing out water bottles have made headlines. The protests have shown one thing to be true — that there are 3 sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth.