James Rigdon has lived in “riot zones”, and he has a question for all the mainstream media outlets.
I have a question for all the mainstream media outlets.
Why is it called a riot if it centers around an injustice committed against a black man, but if it’s white people, the term “riot” rarely comes into play?
Think about it- I lived through two comparable examples. I moved to the Bay area in 2010, when the Oscar Grant trial was getting underway, and, twice, I was told not to go to my office because the Oscar Grant trial was expected to rouse reactions from the public- once, for the verdict, and the second time for the sentencing. And there was some damage done, some windows broken but nothing too major. The streets weren’t strewn with bodies or wreckage, life went on. But, both times, the national media was present, creating a sense of mass tension, the police were on high alert- if you walked into town at that time, you’d have thought it deserted.
The second example, also while living in the Bay area in 2010 – the Giants won their first World Series since moving to San Francisco, the first in over 50 years, and the first time a San Francisco team won a national championship in 15 years. The partying turned quickly into something so much more- massive damages occurred, much more than with the Oscar Grant protests, and many more people were hurt. But the media made no huge issue over it, I was not cautioned against going to the office the next day, and even now, if you try to research the overall costs from the event, most articles just include it as a blurb while talking about what happened in the Series. Even though parts of town resembled Beirut, I don’t recall hearing the word “riot” on the mainstream media, and there certainly wasn’t an air of fear being spread throughout the nation.
And there were no photos of police in riot gear being plastered all over social media.
Over 10,000 people in Baltimore have been protesting peacefully. Rival gangs, the Crips and Bloods being the biggest examples, have declared a truce and are focusing on keeping people safe. And yet, all we see, constantly, are images of burning vehicles, and we read headlines about the city losing control. An air of fear is being perpetuated by the media, and the police are all too happy to assist in that atmosphere.
San Francisco, 2010? Meh, they’re just a partying crowd, they’ll have their fun and move on. But did you see the GAME?!
It’s not always so cut and dry as this. But it’s a question that needs answering. Why is it okay for people to declare war on a city to celebrate an athletic victory, and the police and media are not declaring war, but, get people together to protest a massive injustice, and both reporters and law enforcement turn it into an atmosphere of a race riot, we need to arm ourselves and knuckle down, be ready! Next time, it might be YOU.
Photo: still from youtube video by Chris K