Failing to take advantage of our free press constitutional rights in not establishing our own national news media operation with news media accountability in race and police encounters, is just part of the story of how we have overlooked a major level of advancement consisting of a layer of news media protection in race and police encounters. It’s an interesting development that goes with the successes of integration, resulting in unintended negative consequences in presuming that with integration came the end of racist practices in the two key professions of police and press.
Black Americans have made tremendous advancements economically, politically, individually and collectively. With the success of the civil rights movement political and economic opportunity opened up. The popular pre-civil rights’ sentiment among black people of “we’re all in this together” shifted to “every man for himself” and it became all about the “Benjamins.” Blacks began getting jobs and careers they never envisioned, political offices and appointments few imagined.
This should have been the ultimate fairy-tale ending if things had remained that simple. Actually, things did remain simple. Human nature kicked in. Black folk were as interested in career advancement as the next person, doing what people do on jobs when they want to progress: “go along to get along to get ahead.” A black employee in a mortgage-lending company engaged in racial redlining didn’t go screaming out the door, “I quit y’all redlining.” Racial crusading on the job was generally recognized as not a successful career path.
Keeping it real, until very recently the Muhammad Ali / Harry Belafonte model was not the current template to which black professional athletes or entertainers subscribed. It’s been close to the reverse, the more rich and famous the less likely is one to speak up on race. Rappers who were originally the most adamant against police abuse with their famous “F… the police.” Shifted to themes more about getting paid and getting laid. In the meantime, the police thing is as alive and predatory as ever. The recent welcome breakthrough regarding professional athletes showing their concern seemed to be the best source for this current stage of our fundraising campaign.
However, when we turn to the two most egregious institutional racist offenders with life and death power – law enforcement and the mainstream news media -that has proven to be a lethal combination against black Americans.
The post “George Floyd awakening” has seen an upsurge of concern and speaking up by these black professional ball players. For these black professional athletes, demonstrations and protests is what they know. It’s the non-violent Martin Luther King Jr. thing to do to show where they stand for race and social justice. It’s even gone international with Premier league soccer players in Europe taking a knee before each game, making their statement for race and social justice. The collective sense of concern among these professional athletes must be met with this awareness of the news media’s practice of supporting the police in race and police encounters.