Journalism In Black and White

America is in crisis; while my new Huffington post blog addresses the shootings in MN and LA, I’m equally sick over the assassination of innocent police officers in Dallas doing their job to protect and serve the public while they cried out for justice. We all bleed red. We all grieve for our loved ones. We all know violence is wrong. Just stop!

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Journalism in black and white

I stumbled over the printer in the rear of our newsroom, next to the reporters’ cubicles and overheard a heated discussion over the latest police involved shootings of that killed black men in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I kept my head down and my eyes on my papers so I wouldn’t be sucked into the conversation and unleash my outrage because I knew I’d be called upon to suppress my feelings and give a detached accounting of the latest updates in each case.

Initially, I looked at the rundown, and unlike yesterday when I viewed the closer angle of a hole being blown into the chest of a man in Louisiana, I was not attached to the Minnesota traffic stop incident; that was until my assignments changed. I knew for the rest of the day, I would have to behave as if wasn’t completely disgusted by inability of our states, nation to stop the slaughter of its own citizens.

I’d avoid looking at the Philando Castile video until I had to do so. I knew, just from the description, that there was simmering anger and disgust inside me. After watching what appears to be Alton Sterling’s execution, I couldn’t shake the thought that there was nothing that could be done to right this wrong; not even a conviction would change the fact that somebody’s son, brother, partner, and father had died senselessly. In one day his name and those of so many other seemingly innocent black men, left to die in the streets of the USA flooded my mind and now I was adding one more to the list. As I typed out my first draft of Mr. Castile’s story, I almost felt like I could almost substitute any of those names in my script and it would work and that scared me.

Yet, as I watched Mr. Castile clinging to life in his video, I wondered how to tell his story differently so that everyone could understand that no one, regardless of race, should be gunned down because of an inherent fear they didn’t create and can’t escape. No one should have their final moments play out on a TV screen exacerbating the anguish of their families. No one should have to defend their right to stand, drive or walk in this country.

As a journalist, I’m not allowed to inject my blackness into my stories; to provide the unique angle I’ve seen through my own eyes. I know the humiliation of being followed, questioned, ignored or unfairly hassled because of my skin color. I can’t give my opinion about how I think this epidemic should end. I can merely tell the facts. But, I can tell the stories and explain them accurately so that these atrocities aren’t hidden or forgotten. By doing so, hopefully everyone else will see the truth and demand change.

Link in Huffington Post:

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