Let us to remember to look at the images we receive—what the media present to us as pictures and scenes and the ones that consequently dominate the imageries of our thoughts. Why are images of looting the popular ones shown in the Ferguson protests? Why has the dialogue not sufficiently analyzed the possibility of grand jury corruption with prosecutorial abetting? Why is the dialogue about the disorder of Ferguson protestors rather than the culture of murder and intimidation from police forces across America?
How have images chosen by powerful media houses shifted the dialogue and forcefully shaped how we talk about violence while we ignore the most dangerous culprits of the violence? Are we in control of how we choose the subjects of our talk? Do we trust the media—most medias—to give us our images so we can babble? How do specific image portrayals benefit the media and the ruling power structure?
Have we raised questions about what is presented of Ferguson’s black people? Have we seen homes, churches, professionals, small businesses, artistic productions, and cultural centers? Or are we just shown smoke, high-pitched anger, raggedy clothes, wild hair, sagging pants, threats, and loots? How do specific images influence our understanding of black people in Ferguson, black people outside of Ferguson, black people outside America, and how does this portrayal shape views about the good ole white officers taking care of justice in black environments?
Are media images designed to critically counteract the grand jury’s judgment? Or are they designed to confuse babblers, to make babblers look away from the criminal police force, from the racialized grand-jury verdict and the prosecutorial performance in order that America can look at a race of looters, black people and their violence, America’s black problem that can only be handled by murderous police strategies?
How have you been talking about this issue? Have you been critiquing the looting you are forced to focus on as the most fundamental? Or have you remained consistent and addressed police violence? Or have you been evaluating other new images such as that of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks,” Giuliani said. “I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.” No doubt, the media and Giuliani want our talk, the images we see, to shift from police violence to black-on-black violence. Michael Eric Dyson, however, replied to Giuliani. “Black people who kill black people go to jail,” Dyson said. “White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.”
However, what logic remains with us, what images? Dyson’s or Giuliani’s or both? Is it reasonable to say that Giuliani’s image creation has managed to distance the police force from its criminality as talk shift to black on black violence? Black on black battles become the dominating images in our thoughts as we wrestle to interrogate, demand, and protest justice.
And within this black on black paradigm, we see Mike Brown, we see the looting in Ferguson, we see angry black people, we hear angry black voices. We aren’t sure what to think any more: the police or black people? For isn’t it really the police force versus black people? And while making sense of the images, some black people see their blackness as black indeed, but different from those other blacks; those other ones—for those other black people are certainly America’s problem—black problem—not the police force at all.
But how did we get here? How have we failed to analyze the ways images have disabled our abilities to talk with consciousness and power? Have we also been listening to some people? They say things like, the protests make no sense because things will return to normal. They mock those demanding justice as time wasters. Are we listening to their inability to reflect upon their laziness and corruptedness?
They benefit from the blood of others. They drink from the labors of resistance of many. They never lift a finger to join the struggle. But we can always expect to smell their breaths–the stink from their clean comfort zones: the computers and smart phones. They criticize and attack with such pride as though their inactivity, laziness, selfishness, depicts an enlightened viewpoint, a progressive mode of behavior.
Do we realize that such articulations make those kinds of people appear uneducated about history, about the many progress acquired from civil disobedience and disorders, civil rights and revolutions? Do we realize that such people fail to note that change isn’t something that always comes like rain? Change also comes like drops of dust across time? Do we realize that such babblers have become too accustomed to pain endurance and violence sights, too comfortable accepting the norms and normalization of racialized image making?