Double task to end racism, mass shootings
Again, we have a mass shooting targeting Blacks. This time it's at a TOPS Supermarket in Buffalo, NY.
Again, most media turn their focus onto the perpetrator to highlight who he is and why he did it, giving undue attention to his racist ideas and fears that people of other cultures, races and religions will "replace" white people as our country becomes more multicultural.
Again, media follow a shooter to court, giving him more attention.
Again, the victims become mostly lost in a number and a brief mention of their names, who they were and the tragedy of the everyday reason they were in the supermarket.
The definitions for "news" again leave journalists stuck in the "normal" modes of coverage that foment conflict and violence, feed extremism and fear, and inspire more acts of hate.
Why should the "normal" choices for "play" of news further stoke white supremacy? Why should journalists use of "infotainment" rules that purportedly boost profits be what decides this coverage?
We see the pain and grief of the Black community for whom the TOPS Market was an oasis in what was once a food desert. We learn of the structural biases that cut the East Buffalo community with a freeway, and the investments made in outlying communities.
That's important, but how does someone in the Inland Northwest respond to these injustices on the other side of the country—except to see them mimicked right here with our freeway and investments, gun violence and growing fears?
There are responses right here: gatherings, conversations, panels, commissions, elections and actions that can make a difference even in our own communities.
The white supremacy that was evident and "driven out" of North Idaho, still arises, so the watchdog efforts for human rights persevere.
Our responsibility with The Fig Tree is to continue to challenge media biases that promote violence, hate, divisions, inequality, exclusion and fear of the beauty of diversity.
Some people of faith hate and fear the beauty of the diversity God created, be it skin color/tone, gender, culture, religion or opinions.
Media need to see more than black and white in diversity, more than left and right, more than one extreme and the other. The old journalism of the 1960s and 1970s taught journalists to pursue the two perspectives to the point they helped create and continue the divisions that lead people to feel helpless and hopeless.
There are, in reality, a myriad of skin colors, cultural nuances, religious beliefs, political opinions, which if given respect and voice can help shape a vibrant multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-political society, a society with nuances rather than opposites and enemies, nuances that invite relationships, exploration, sharing and learning. Nuances that may provide avenues for reparations, but even more for reconciliation and relationships that build beloved community, a diverse inclusive equitable society.
To those who maintain power by either-or scenarios, the idea of alternatives to "my way" may be a threat to power. The ultra-rich do not want to give up their luxurious living, their control of politicians, their manipulation of media that keep the status quo of their wealth and power in place.
Faith communities, at least, should be raising challenges to the people and systems that prevent God's beautiful community from coming into being.
Faith communities need to look at their roots as the family of God and be just that. Yes, they may disagree, but they can work toward mutual understanding and respect that bring true new life to blossom everywhere.
Mary Stamp – Editor