Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

What's Going On?

By Harris Brio and Isabelle Ambrose


Marvin Gaye asked the question, "What’s going on," in a song made that was made popular by not just Whites and Blacks but Americans of all colors and creeds.


So what is going on?


In Jena, La inter-racial fights broke out at the school and then spilled out into the small town of 3,000, which is 85 percent White and 12 percent Black after a Black student had asked “permission" to sit under a tree where only White students are allowed to sit. The next day three nooses were found hanging from that "special" area, a paradise, not to be defiled.


One only has to look at the history of what happened to figure out this isn’t a simple school fight.


A fire was set in the central wing of the high school in November. Then a Black student was beaten after he showed up at an all-White party. And a White youth pulled a shotgun on three Black teens at a convenience store.


Finally, a group of Black students jumped a White student as he was coming out of the school gym. Even though the teen had a mild concussion and minor bruising, six Black students were expelled and were charged with attempted second-degree murder and other offenses for which they face up to 100 years in jail.


The White teen that beat a black partygoer was charged with simple battery. The White youth who pulled a shotgun was not charged at all.
It’s almost impossible to believe situations like this still exist with the advent of the Civil Rights Movement, the abolition of Affirmative Action and the fact that our Pledge of Allegiance boasts Liberty and Justice for All. But what’s more impossible to believe is the mainstream media’s lack of interest. Even though the media denies it, it is now a known fact, that it has styled itself around its most faithful of viewers, the extremely fearful.
What’s happening to the Black students in Jena concerns all of us. Why? Because it’s not an issue of race it’s an issue on our civil liberties, of the have and have not’s.


This is why something like this is happening in America. It’s happening because currently our mainstream media is too busy; it has its hands full with far more important stories regarding how Paris Hilton felt while in jail and how we should sympathize with her. After all she (White and rich) is an important member of society. She matters.
We are manipulated not to think for ourselves, our attention is diverted to minuscule issues to keep us away from important things like Iraqis being killed for their freedom, our ever shrinking liberties that are being taken away, the chemical warfare being implemented on the environment, inadequate healthcare and schools, the privatization of public facilities by Corporate America, the list is endless.


So why does, the mainstream media believe something like this isn’t worth thinking about.
News events covered tend to focus on what society deems important. The plight of minorities or the less fortunate in our society has never been of major interest in the media. On the contrary, only negative ideals such as racial profiling and stereotyping of Blacks and other people of Color and those who poor are on the forefront of the media here in America.


The media denies its own racism so how can it see racism in its followers. One has to only look at how news is reported. Black residents of New Orleans were looting the city after Hurricane Katrina, while its white residents were salvaging and gathering supplies for survival. Black residents leaving the city were refugees, while White residents were being rescued.


The Israelis can kill nine month old Palestinian babies and the media will shrug it off. Palestinians can be used as target practice while picnicking on a beach and the media will see it as a justified defense of Israel. While an Israeli soldier killed while assaulting another nation is seen as the crime of the century.


In the 1980’s, Michael Reich developed the Segmentation Theory or the Divide and Rule. This theory works wonderfully for the elite. The media is simply one tool for the divide and rule corporate interests. Keeping stereotypes and prejudices alive, ensures underprivileged second class citizens.
Blacks have always been considered along with other minorities unimportant members of this society. And because of that, the media is going to ignore stories that may upset the social structure - based on economic benefits for the elite class of citizens.


Racism is an industry, which manufactures the suppression of the rights. This means that media racism, and stereotypes will continue to be employed so that those elites can be sure of their continuing economic stability.

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