The media’s primary goal is to inform. Its secondary aim is to analyze and commentate. We must not forget that in America, our media groups are run by the private sector. So they’re looking to get more viewers, more followers and consequently, more revenue as a result.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they are off-base with bias, but sometimes they are. James Blake was wrongly arrested and detained as many Americans are. They definitely apprehended the wrong suspect, but at least they admitted it, and he wasn’t booked.
This is the same as someone driving a legit car that the police think is stolen since it matches the make and model of the one reported stolen. Having a similar name and matching middle initial as someone who reported his or her credit card stolen would cause a situation like this to occur again under reasonable suspicion.
America — and especially the minority communities — know that police brutality is prevalent. Yet, the media is using the James Blake fiasco to instill fear and intimidation in our communities to constantly reiterate that accidents can happen to anyone. In particular, it strikes a frightening tone for dark-skinned minorities who think that if they “make it,” they’ll be treated rightly at all times.
That’s unrealistic for anyone to think, but for some people making a living is seen as total equality — that’s very irrational. Everyone in America knows about the uncertainty of life’s happenings, that’s no mystery. Being well-educated and nicely dressed is not a deterrent for people accusing you of anything or you being in a conflict.
It is inevitable for everyone to be in some type of dispute during their lifetime. It doesn’t matter about your socioeconomic class, generation, race or dress. Things get out of hand and fall apart sometimes. We are not perfect human beings and must be able to cope with the imperfections we share with each other.
Now, we have James Blake’s incident as a reminder of our ability to self-correct our system from the inside out and his chance to be a public diplomat for better community policing in America. Let’s be gracious for that.
Jordan Thomas Cooper is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina. He is the first African-American to serve in both the governor and lieutenant governor’s office as an aide in South Carolina and has worked on several Republican candidates’ national campaigns.