5 images about being black in America shared after Walter Scott shooting – BBC WWorld News

April 9, 2015


Blog by Mike Wendling

Fresh Prince 19821982 Episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  True back then, true today even with Will Smith, Jeff’s friend in the Sitcom like Jeff, very grown men with grown kids who must have had “The Talk” with thir boys.


Here are five images that Americans online shared in big numbers, in reaction to the video of a shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

The release of the video showing a police officer shooting Walter Scott in the back prompted an immediate reaction on social media. #BlackLivesMatter, a hashtag used after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson last year and on many other occasions since, spiked once again as it was announced that the officer, Michael Slager, would face a murder charge.

Previously on this blog, we’ve covered the arguments that divided Americans over trends such as #BlackBrunch and #BlueLivesMatter. But perhaps because of the nature of the video footage – Scott was clearly seen running away from the police officer when shot – there was less debate about the incident itself and more reflection this time around.

Much of the discussion was driven by African Americans, talking about what the incident meant in the context of being black in America. Here are some of the most widely-shared images:

An African-American family is having an uncomfortable discussion with their teenage son. But this talk is not about sex education and how to handle the opposite sex – it’s about how deal with law enforcement.

It was created by writer Derrick Jaxn about a month ago but spread wildly on Wednesday.

“What started as a traffic stop for a broken tail light turned into a death sentence for a black man. A similar situation happened to a 12 year old black boy [in Cleveland, Ohio] a few months ago,” Jaxn told BBC Trending via email. “What this says to every black man in America is that no matter your age or your innocence, you are a target.”
“There is major reform to police accountability that extends beyond the random chance a bystander is running towards the altercation with a video camera and successfully presents that as evidence contradictory to police reports.”

Jaxn says the picture shows a scene that he and many others are familiar with. “‘The Talk’ of black America wasn’t directly given to me verbatim but came over a number of years in the form of ‘No, you don’t need to go outside, the police will get you’ or at speeding ticket stops with, ‘Keep your hands still and on your lap’ as a 10-year-old.”
“As a 25-year-old black man, I take no comfort in our police officers who are supposed to ‘protect and serve,'” he says.

A modified wildlife safety poster compares an encounter with police to a confrontation with a bear – artwork originally created by writer Christopher Keelty.

“Often we resort to the absurd to explain the outrageous,” says R Coleman (@GetWisdomDude), who retweeted the image to her 11,000-plus followers. “It’s so incredulous that this is still happening … How is it we’re still experiencing this rampant yee-ha, gun slinging, black man hunting, open season?”

Coleman, a supporter of President Obama who lives in Maryland, is married to a black man and says he has consistently been stopped by police, for minor infractions – driving a few miles over the speed limit for instance. “On the way to church we were stopped for a ‘rolling stop’ through a stop sign.”

“My hubby was a black Republican. He left the party because the seething hatred shown to the President was horrifying.” Still, she’s hopeful that recent events will lead to change: “I do believe that light banishes the monsters who commit mayhem in the dark.”

Another often-retweeted picture showed the man shot, Scott, in his US Coast Guard uniform. In the United States, the Coast Guard is a branch of the military and Scott was described in many news stories as a veteran.

People online “were all sharing video of his death and commenting on how outraged they were,” says Tiffany Dena Loftin, an organiser with the anti-police violence organisation Freedom Side in Washington, DC, who shared the picture. “Twitter users also were quick to use screen shots of his body laying on the ground. For the last two years, I’ve seen too many black bodies laying on the ground. I decided to share the picture of him in uniform to add character to who he is.”

“I don’t know him or the family personally, but his service picture says dedication, American, truth and service. The police have killed black dads, sons, and fathers, now they’ve killed a US veteran.”

“I was moved that the person who recorded it on video also shared it and we can have a conversation now not about what happened, but how the American justice system can respond,” she says.

Among the other images being shared was an old clip of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom, which included a darkly prescient joke about police shootings, and a photo of an anti-violence rally from the 1930s.
More images:


THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2015.  2: 55 a.m. [GMT]

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