I had originally intended to spend this post-Super Bowl morning’s blog either talking about Beyonce’s halftime performance or pitching my latest idea: an edition of the Bible inspired by NFL players. (Think: the Book of Deion Sanders aka Leon Sandcastle or the Gospel according to St. Ray Lewis.) I imagine someone else is already stoking Illuminati fires by discussing Queen Bey’s showing. And frankly, I’m still compiling my biblical canon, but I already know who Jesus is, and his name is Ed Reed (aka Django).
Instead, I’d like to take this morning as an opportunity to help black people.
As many of you know, last week the BYP reported on the latest shooting death of a Chicago black youth. 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed while standing in a park near her high school. Now, the BYP has started a petition in an effort to get President Obama to stop acting as if he only gives a shit when white youth die, among other things, and address what’s going on in his own back yard. (If you want to sign and haven’t, click here!)
In the interim, I’ve decided to provide a primer for journalists, bloggers, and writers charged with reporting these atrocities. See, those reporting on Hadiya’s death were sure to point out that she was an honor student who attended a selective enrollment high school and had no gang affiliation. Sadly, this kind of information has become boilerplate for these stories, as if a C on a report card means a black kid should’ve been shot. Since, unfortunately, there does not seem to be an end in sight, I thought I’d provide a brief list of do’s and don’t’s so journalists can stop implying that it’s only sad when “innocent” black youth die:
1. give the name, gender, and age of the victim.
2. detail the circumstances of the shooting
3. indicate if anyone has been taken into custody in relation to the case.
1. mention anything about gangs, unless the shooting was gang-related. If it were, you’d be writing a completely different story. Or not writing at all.
2. mention grades. My guess is bullets don’t discriminate based on GPA. Just a hunch.
3. discuss school record. Did George Zimmerman shoot Trayvon Martin because of a school suspension? Didn’t think so.
4. provide any information you’d leave out if the victim were white.
I hope this clarifies things and, since it can’t save lives, ensures articles that don’t appeal to our collective racist-ass empathy. In the meantime, I’ll work on tweeting Commissioner Goodell, asking if JHud was the Chicago representative for youth killed by gun violence.
And, since we can no longer bet on football, I’ll work on setting the over/under for tears the Obamas have cried over the death of Chicago youth while y’all sign and share the BYP petition.