The media doesn’t deem grassroots activism newsworthy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed people on both social media and mainstream media defend, dismiss or downplay fatal officer-involved shootings of black men by stating: “black people kill other black people every day.”
Those people, the majority of them misinformed about most things related to the black community, often follow-up their assertion with this comment: “I don’t see blacks outraged about violence in their communities.”
If you or someone you know is of this opinion, here’s what I say to you: Clearly, you’re not looking hard enough.
Misinformed people are quick to state what they don’t see from the black community, but they’re slow to acknowledge the countless community leaders across the country, many who convene weekly, to organize and improve their neighborhoods.
Now, to be fair, I don’t fully blame the individuals – like Stephen A. Smith – who are happily unaware of what black activists are doing in their communities to mitigate violence.
The news media should share in the blame, too, because they don’t often deem the grassroots efforts of activists as newsworthy, unless it’s a large march with plenty of signs that look good in print, or if there’s a chance that activists will confront police, which makes for good television.
For example, the past weekend’s stories in Chicago, my hometown, will be about Lalapolooza, its record breaking numbers and the incredible acts.
There will also be a section about the many individuals shot and killed from Friday to Monday.
However, what none of the Chicago’s media outlets will showcase on its front page is the fact that there were nearly 10 events promoting peace over the weekend.
There were peace marches on the Westside combating community violence led by youth as young as five.
There was an event that took place in Chicago’s Roseland community that attracted a few local celebrity rappers who publicly stated to the youth that what they do is not real life, but rather an image.
And an image, rather good or bad, especially to a young person, is a powerful thing that can influence decisions.
One young man told me he started running the streets just because he was seeing young black men who looked like him on the news, albeit for causing chaos. My mentees always remind me that if they didn’t see so much positive imagery, their heart would still belong to the streets.
It’s no secret that mainstream media executives would like to promote controversy over positivity, as the latter doesn’t garner mass clicks, views or buys.
Though I’m grateful for the media outlets like Techbook Online who always gives communities a voice, I would really love to see some of the cable analyst and anchors do more to connect with grassroots activists, rather than claiming they and their don’t exist.
Lastly, to both the media and their audience, before complaining about what you think isn’t happening, attempt to move out of your circle and get involved, and if there’s nothing near you to get involved in, start a revolution!
*Tune into www.TheDrVibeShow.com on 8/22/15 to hear various thought-leaders and I discuss mental health and suicide prevention*
Thanks for reading!
B.O.L.D member Richard Taylor, considered the voice of Chicago, is an activist, best-selling author, and motivational speaker. Mr. Taylor’s newest book, entitled “Between the Dream,” is available for purchase HERE.
Photo: Getty Images