I don’t do Twitter, but maybe I should.  There is a Twitter hashtag, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, that’s lighting up the world in response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO yesterday.  It’s in response to the media’s perceived judgement of Black victims to crime.

It happened with Trayvon Martin when photos of him with a gold grill replaced the photos that his family released of him.  It’s happening again with Michael Brown.  It seems that some media outlets and bloggers have jumped on to a photo of him throwing a peace sign as an implication that he’s a “dangerous gang banger” when the kid was about to start his freshman year in college.  In true fashion within the Black community, non-violent protest is doing something to highlight the issue that nothing else could supplant.




I’m praying that cool heads prevail in Missouri and no one else gets hurt over this.  There are conflicting stories about what actually transpired in the incident that resulted in the death of Mr. Brown.

Eyewitnesses say that he had his arms up motioning that he was surrendering when he was shot multiple times.  The police say that he shoved the officer in his car and struggled for his gun.  The officer then fired a shot from inside the car that hit him, and Brown took off running with the officer firing more shots at him.

Given the mistrust of law enforcement authority figures, I hope the investigation into this shooting is a thorough and unbiased one.  There’s already enough animosity between the races without others adding fuel to the fire.  Once again, it seems like social media will be the catalyst to highlight a shooting of an unarmed Black kid.


10 thoughts on “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown

  1. Ah, Brosephus, these stories & pictures hurt my heart, not only for the young people in such great danger, but also because I feel so helpless in the face of it. I look back over my 70+ years of life and I see things have changed, but not enough, not nearly enough.


    • This country is like a fully loaded super tanker. We can change directions, but it takes a while to turn us to a new course. I thought I had it rough growing up, but I wouldn’t trade places with this generation at all.


  2. It’s hard to see how an investigation is going to help much. From what I understand, there was no dashcam. It’s always going to be the officer’s word against that of the eyewitnesses.

    Going back to the fleeing burglar who had time to say she was pregnant before she was shot, the hole in the officer’s story, in my mind, is that the boy’s body was 35 feet from the police car. I think that pretty much proves at least some of those shots were — let’s be charitable and say unnecessary.

    You’re right, this Twitter campaign cleverly speaks to both the immediate problem — the police gunned down another unarmed black man — and the wider problem of perception as shown in media choices.


    • This case will likely rely on the SCOTUS decision from Tennessee v Garner amongst other things. The police can’t use deadly force against a fleeing suspect unless the officer can articulate the suspect poses a clear danger to the public. The kid was unarmed, so it’s going to be difficult to explain how he was a threat to the general public.


  3. Twenty two years ago a black kid was shot in the back by a white cop in a Northern New Jersey town to which we’d been considering relocating to. I suddenly had a vested interest in how the locals were going to react, and how the various backlashes-to-the-backlash would play out. I only mention this because any reactions I might have to this bit of news, today, are tempered by a feeling that this crap will NEVER end in my lifetime, and a sickening feeling that it might still be in play when my 14-year-old is my age.


  4. @brosephus, I wonder if you think black women are less at risk. I’m a young woman and a teacher and I see how my girls are slowly killed everyday when they are disrespected, belittled and begin to think is normal. May not have the sting of murder, but the effects are heavy. Anyway follow my blog youngblackmind.com


    • I think Black women are more at risk. The Black woman has been the glue that has held the Black family together since we were brought to America. There are physical hazards that Black women face, but their major threat is mental.

      I don’t know of a collective group that attracts more scorn than Black women. From the “welfare queen” image to the “baby mama” one, there are more negative stereotypes of Black women than there are positive.

      When you continuously drill young minds that you’re not going to be anything beyond a “hoochie” or “ho”, you slowly kill the potential scientist, doctor, lawyer, and even possible president inside these little girls. By the time they’re of age, they have been bombarded by so many negative stereotypes, they have no positive self-image to emulate. Nevermind the fact that we have women like Michelle Obama, Lena Horne, Mae Jemison, Oprah Winfrey, and other very successful Black women to model themselves after. Those images are never put in the spotlight. It’s always the negative image of Black women that we see plastered across billboards, tvs, and movie screens.


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