On September 20 Brently Vinson delivered the fatal shot to 43-year-old, Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC. Brently and Keith are African-American men who have the potential to suffer the same fate in America today, but it just so happens that Keith is not who the “system” protects.
Although media reports and news coverage would describe Mr. Scott as the stereotypical black man, he was beyond that. The general stereotypical narrative of a black man is that he is worthless, jobless, and careless. Mr. Scott was none of these things. He was a disabled father of seven children who was simply waiting in his car for his son before the man in blue took his meaningful life. News reports says that the police officers went to the apartment complex that Keith was, looking for someone with an ‘outstanding’ warrant. Part of me wonders who the officers were really looking for. Was it just a ploy to invade another black community? Eventually, officers came across Mr. Scott. Although it is unclear whether Mr. Scott was tased at first, he was shot four times for sure because officers said he had a gun. The terrifying video from a police body cam and dashboard shows the disturbing video of another innocent black life being taken away. Family members and neighborhood friends of Scott said that he was a great and friendly guy who did not have a gun, but was reading a book while waiting for his son to return home from school. So, whose story do you believe?
Hopefully, you believe in the side that says black men do not deserve to die in general, but especially by the ones who are sworn in to protect the people. Hopefully, you believe in the side that says that (whether Scott had a gun or not) his life is just as valuable as the white men who are in possession of weapons and drugs, but still get to live and see another day. Hopefully, you believe in the side that says until these absurd deaths stop happening, police officers should have on body cams and the footage should always go public. Hopefully, you believe in the side that says that Black Lives Matter!
The killing of Keith sparked two different types of protest. The media would describe one of the protests as peaceful and the other as violent. When black people are protesting through a more controlled and organized form, the media thinks the movement is peaceful. A controlled black person is peaceful, but the minute that black person yells too loud and adds a little more movement, spunk, passion and frustration to their protesting, they are no longer deemed peaceful. Rather, they are viewed as violent. Certain acts are violent, such as when 26 year old Justin Carr was shot in the head during the protest. This act of violence is unacceptable and should not occur again. We should not be taking lives; we must form bonds with one another and fight the system that oppresses everyone except for cis-gender, heterosexual, white males. The murderer of the violent shooting was caught. Other than that, I do not think the protest, looting of merchandise from stores and vandalism are violent. They are acts that express how upset people are.
I hate to turn situations into a white versus black scenario because in all honesty, I do believe there will be equality one day. By comparing similar situations, hopefully the double standard will be noticed when it comes to violent protest. In 2011 Penn state coach Joe Paterno was fired because of the child sexual abuse scandal. Some students and fans flipped over vans out of anger. Some news articles referred to this particular situation as a riot, but most thought this form of protest was simply “unruly.” In 2014, at the Keene, NH Pumpkin Festival, the media described the behavior of the white college students who were starting fires, flipping cars, yelling and verbally attacking police officers as rowdy, unruly and disruptive. In order to disperse the crowd at the pumpkin festival, officers had to use tear gas. 2014, when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, fans were not so happy. There were a couple of shootings as well as about 40 arrests. Some fans burned furniture while others vandalized buildings, but the media did not refer to this incident as a riot. The list can go on and on. The double standard of how the media describes black compared to white protest is obvious and apparent.