It’s obvious Robert McCulloch’s delayed announcement of the grand jury decision was a strategic move designed to shift the national narrative away from the decision itself and toward the reaction to the decision.
Now the national narrative is, “violent black people are rioting in the streets.” When our TV screens are filled with pictures of fires and mobs overturning cars, the media is justifying police brutality. It’s reinforcing the “angry/dangerous/scary black people” stereotype that is to blame for shootings of black teens like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride in the first place. Protestors of all races hoping to start a national conversation about police misconduct, militarization of local police forces, the value of African American life, etc. were set up. And they walked right into it.
It’s a damn shame, too. Wouldn’t it have been lovely if instead of the fires and overturned cars and blocked interstates in places like Nashville we had positive, peaceful images of resistance? But that requires discipline, and that comes from leadership. Sadly, it’s something we don’t have — even President Obama’s message seemed lackluster and resigned.
I keep hearing the looters and violent protestors were not from Ferguson, and that may be true. But this wouldn’t be the first time outside agitators came in to discredit a legitimate protest movement. Those who want real change need to take a cue from protest leaders of past generations. None of this is new. We’ve seen it all before: how a media storyline is crafted and manipulated, how outside forces can disrupt, how a powerful television image is used to further an agenda.
Sad. Y’all were set up like bowling pins.