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Whose Life Matters?

Boo! There you are! We were wondering why no one in power had taken effective steps to stop gun violence in urban communities, gang violence plaguing urban schools. Children are children, but no one in Florida did anything but free George Zimmerman after he murdered a black teenager for no reason other than the wanna-be cop wanted to kill a black person. The greater society stopped screaming about the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York after media ratings stopping climbing. Instead, the same quiet power brokers decided to threaten athletic African Americans if they dared to insist that Black Lives Matter.

“How dare those black men kneel. They should be grateful for the large money we pay them to entertain us. They should be grateful for the flag that ALLOWS them to make any money in our country. Nobody ever said black lives don’t matter. We just don’t want them making waves over something that they are used to anyway…..police brutality and violence.”

Truth be told, Washington dragged its feet after the Sandy Hook shooting. Enter: teenage survivors of a mass murderer. They were terrified because their elders had told them they were safe, especially in a place like Parkland, Florida. But it was the teenagers who stepped up to the plate and took over the national outcry following the Parkland, Florida shootings. Guns and gunfire are part of their generation and part of ours too in the past few years. The nationwide high school walkout over gun violence became the latest and probably most effective way to get something done in Washington. Reporter after reporter had video of urban students in cities like Chicago and Washington, DC walking out in solidarity with the students from Parkland, Florida. Nearly every reporter showing the urban walkout, said guns were “an everyday occurrence” for “them”(meaning the urban students). One reporter even said the urban students were accustomed to gun violence because it’s part of their lives.

"Really? Who told you that? What is your problem? Where have you been? Who do you know? Everybody is not the same just because of their ethnicity. Dumb reporter. Turn the TV off! Most kids don't have those prejudices.....yet!"

While television panel discussions center around diversity these days; diversity in Hollywood, diversity or the lack thereof in other places, “experts” are now debating how America can finally come together and practice diversity. Excuse me, but it will never happen. As long as children are raised to have preconceived thoughts and they grow up to work in the media with those preconceived thoughts, we will never reach true diversity and fairness. It’s already obvious that much of America believes what it hears from the media without being able to decipher what’s real and what’s fake. Until media born stereotypes are eliminated from the learning process, diversity and fairness are impossible. Retired from the public newsroom today, I can say I have heard the same racist sentiments over the years from news managers and they are still employed.

My thoughts today are dominated by how fortunate I am to not have to work in the media any longer. I no longer have to hear disparaging comments and not funny jokes in the very room where I work. Some of the verbal attacks were bait. If one can antagonize you and make you strike back, one can later claim you have a “bad attitude”. It’s universal. I no longer have to bite my tongue. During these times, there are very few reporters of color covering America’s downfall and that’s a good thing. If we were there in great numbers, we would also be abused in great numbers. I can just hear the names current wh officials would call me if I had to report on them. Anyway, this is not our story. Newsrooms send ethnic reporters to bad weather stories, violence, black stories and weekend and holiday stories. From a position of being able to say whatever I want and whenever I want, don’t get upset if you hear someone insinuate the future lives of ethnic children may have been saved by the tragic deaths of mostly white children.

If this tragedy woke up people who thought the suburbs were safe, then welcome to reality. That reality is: The United States is not an island and while we may have to live like it is for another few years, this is the perfect time to look in the mirror. People can lead the way with the message that you can’t make some American lives more important than others. Hello folks! All lives matter because like it or not, all lives are inter-locked for life.