Thursday, August 29, 2013

Images Over A Lifetime

A writer writes!

This being the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech, I reflected on images from the past.  The first occasion of possible discrimination I can recall was when I was in Catholic school in St. Louis, Missouri.  It was around 1965 and I may have been in the 3rd grade at the time.  Our class had gone to see some type of show at a concert hall in St. Louis.  I recall our class, which was predominantly Black, was seated in the balcony area of the concert hall.  Below us on the main floor was a class of white students.  They were being addressed by someone who had asked a question for them to answer.  I recall wondering why were we up in the balcony as I could see there was room for our class to be down on the main floor.  I also wondered why wasn't the speaker talking to and looking at us to make us part of the event?

I recall my brothers and sister laughing as on television a white reporter asked a black man if he had seen anyone in regard to an event that happened.  The black man responded, "No sir, I didn't see any peoples."  It was an image that a black man wasn't versed in proper English and had to say "sir".

Then there was the image of a television news report of a black man who had shot someone being cornered.on a roof.   From a police helicopter, gunfire rained down on the man's position on the roof.  More gunfire to kill him many times over.  The image made it look like it was definitely overkill.  It was if the police were making a point.

In my teen age years I recall hearing and seeing reports on news shows that there was a good chance that most Black males would not live past their 30s due to being victimized by crime.  For a teenager of age 16-17 years, it was not good news to hear that I might be dead in another 13-14 years.

Then there were positive images of seeing Black people on television proudly wearing their Afro hairstyles.  Seeing our culture depicted in a way we wanted it depicted.  Seeing Black people in movies in positive non subservient roles. Seeing Black men become Mayors of cities and becoming Congressman.  Seeing a segment of the Richard Pryor show on television depicting the various skin tones of Black women.

In 2008 there was the ultimate positive image of seeing Barack Obama win the Presidential election to become President of the United States.

Locally I recall images of Black high school young men completing a Beautillion program that provides them scholarships to attend college.  At that event there was no press, no media to cover the positive story.  Then I go home and watch the local news report of a disturbance at a mall where a black male has shot someone. It is the lead story.  I wonder where is the media when positive actions of Black people are occurring.  I wonder why aren't positive accomplishments of Black people covered by the news media, instead of the negative events.  It's all about images and which images the media wants us to have.

Try this out.  During the week note how many positive stories you see on television about Black people versus negative stories.  What is your final count for the week?

No comments:

Post a Comment