Killed black men portrayed negatively


“He’s no saint!”

“He was always a trouble maker.”

These phrases were thrown around constantly as the stories of slain 17-year–old Trayvon Martin and 18-year-old Michael Brown developed.

When the news got out about their murders, the families did what was told: They both handed in pictures of their sons and told the media a brief message about how they did not deserve to die.

But as the story developed, the news media took their own spin on each story. They dug into their background and tried to find any sort of dirt that made the two dead men look unclean.

Martin, killed by neighborhood watch participant George Zimmerman, was suspended from school, and Brown, killed by Ferguson police officer Darrin Wilson, had handwritten raps showing that he was a “criminal and a thug.”

The media used different pictures as well. Martin’s sweet, smiling face was replaced with him in a black hoodie, straight faced as he stared into the camera. Brown’s cap and gown picture was replaced with him in more casual, “urban” clothing, looming over a stoop and holding up a peace sign, which many thought was a gang related.

This sudden change caused the popular opinion to change. These teenagers were now “thugs” that were “up to no good” before they were murdered. Is the goal to make black victims look more like villains?  Should their murders and image not be taken as seriously as others simply because of the color of their skin?

However, it seems that the media does the opposite to non-black murders.

James Holmes, the man who took 12 peoples’ lives in Aurora, Col., in 2012, was shown in the media as a man who not only shot up a movie theater, but a man with multiple degrees in neuroscience. The media even started to use his graduation picture instead of his mug shot.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspect of the Boston bombing terrorist attacks in 2013, was made out to be a great student with a good family. Rolling Stone even made his picture the cover of their issue, with him titled as “The Bomber.” The media showed him as an exception from other American terrorists.

These examples are night and day, but clearly show media’s objective. It seems as if no one wants to hear positive aspects about an unfairly murdered black man’s past.