To just give you some perspective.
The size of the crowd at the protests the other night…that is if you took all the people actually protesting and had them stand side by side…was about 1/4 the size of a football field.
This group included black folk, white folk, people of all ages. I walked for a few minutes with two white women, both in their 70’s.
One of them said, “We did this back in the 60’s. You’d have thought we’d be further along.”
The second largest category of people there was the media.
Men and women with cameras and microphones were everywhere. Honestly, the majority of media folks reminded me of some kind of feeding frenzy…sharks looking to find the most dramatic, vulnerable, resistant fish. Snap that right photo…the one that will get the most hits.
It makes me kinda sick to think about it and if I sound a little bit cynical and angry about it I am. And I wonder if I sat down with individual media folks I might hear some interesting takes on the whole thing as well.
However, based on what I saw the other night in real life and what showed up on my television screen the next morning, the major media that comes across my television screen and newspapers has much to do with the division in my nation.
You can say, “Oh just don’t look at it” or “Read the most reliable media”, but after watching the interaction between the hundred or more media representatives at the protest the other night, I would say this is much harder to do now more than ever.
I have intuitively believed it prior to this experience but now having watched it firsthand (I stood with one news outlet for an entire interview), I’m seeing with my own eyes, the tremendous role the media has in creating these violent , stereotypical images we have of one another.
Building the social trust my Charlotte needs (heck our nation needs) isn’t going to happen unless people in power sit down with those who do not and listen to each other…build a shared trust and understanding.
If you are reading this and fall into either category, (but…and I write this with a big welcoming smile on my face 😀… If you are looking at MY Facebook page, it is more likely you are one of those who fall into the more privileged segment of my community) and want to do something about it…want to learn how to engage in a different way…want to examine your fear about the “other”…please reach out to me.
When I started the The Red Boot Coalition two years ago, I had no idea my city would be experiencing this trauma; but here we are and here I am with a program that opens minds, hearts and builds trust between HUMAN BEINGS…that actually teaches you HOW to engage in a way that builds trust.
if you are afraid or uncertain about coming to a meeting, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have someone meet you at a meeting.
Building trust after years and years of trauma, pain and mistrust is going to take time.
One snap shot of people hugging at the protests is just as misleading as one snapshot of people smashing windows. This issue isn’t going away unless we look at it together…not in the glaring lights of a camera or newscast but in the glaring lights of our own biases.