Staff editorial: Ferguson ruling, coverage, spark need for conversation

Duke Staff

The turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri is still mounting.

On Aug. 9 Michael Brown was fatally shot by a member of the Ferguson Police Department Darren Wilson. On Nov. 24 a St. Louis grand Jury ruled not to indict Wilson. Our opinion on the ruling will not be reflected in this issue. It is so divisive that we have struggled to come to anything resembling a consensus.

To be honest, none of our members on staff are black and cannot possibly know what racism feels like to the extent of someone who has felt it. However we are journalists and can certainly address the way in which the coverage in Ferguson was handled.

The ruling sparked a spectacle to watch with the way this issue was covered. The decision was made earlier in the day but announced on primetime television later in the day. The reaction was to show the protesters reactions and the media at the very least played a part in the situation escalating.

What makes this issue so impactful and significant is the issue of race. When images of Ferguson were shown on the news it made the situation look like the justice system was at war with black people.

Trending worldwide, with news updates from anchors and reporters turned the situation into a war zone in the eyes of a viewer making a human’s life an ulterior motive.

Whether we admit it or not, we cover different races, African-American and Caucasian, differently and this only perpetuates the ideas of segregation and stereotype.

When a white man dies, the headline is not accompanied with a race implication while other minorities feature a human’s race before they even mention their name. It’s easy to pretend this issue doesn’t exist when it doesn’t feel like it applies to us. But if we let this ignorance continue, our behavior is the same as condoning it.

The way Ferguson was covered was shockingly charged with race, and it relates back to internal prejudices.

When the incident first occurred it garnered little national attention until those feeling oppressed stood up for themselves through riot and protest. If we look back through history many of our country’s greatest change has come about through these same actions such as the abolition of slavery and women’s right to vote.

It is the media’s responsibility to cover the truth. It is the reader’s to educate one’s self. It is all of ours to improve the human race, not destroy it.