Dear Media, Your Coverage Of Hate Crimes Is Problematic

Grief is a sleek devil. Just when you think you’re okay, another blow blindsides you. Suddenly an eruption of intense rage overwhelms and destabilizes the fragile foundation that can’t afford to be further cracked.

The cold-blooded killing of George Floyd, 46, has ignited pained fury across the nation, as we are presented with fiery images of rioting in Minneapolis and other parts of the country in response to the heartrending footage of ruthless thugs-in-uniform, relishing the last minutes that were snuffed out of a Black body, sprawled on a street in America.

As expected, major news organizations are fixated on the exploitation of Black pain and Black death with blaring headlines that promise the click worthy content that we’ve been trained to receive with traitorous familiarity and desensitized reception.

The graphic death video is a viral sensation for ambitious anchors and expert bloggers at big-named brands, who have perfected the tricks of refreshing recycled articles that were breaking news an hour ago.

As much as CNN and similarly recognized news outlets are committed to the preferred default of “auto-play” for the horrific display of white supremacy, that occurred in broad daylight, there’s also a more sinister approach attached to the problematic coverage of these crimes that are indisputably motivated by hate.

Almost a year ago, a Black teen, Elijah Al-Amin was murdered by a white man who had just been released from the Arizona State Prison Complex in Yuma.

According to reports, this dude was triggered by the rap music playing in the parked car that the 17-year-old existed, as he walked towards a convenient store. And this somehow warranted slashing Al-Amin’s throat because hearing that genre of music made Michael Adams feel threatened enough to attack and kill a complete stranger.

Adams was clear that he wasn’t in any way provoked to commit his crime. He was convinced that people who listen to rap music are considered a threat to him and his community.

It doesn’t take a renowned genius to assess the fact that Michael Adams is a white supremacist with a criminal record and nothing to lose, because his defense team will take no time in drafting the generic excuse that relies heavily on the killers “mental instability.”

And of course it doesn’t help that so-called “truth-tellers” who get paid the big bucks to tell it like it is, predictably make devastating choices to cowardly refrain from the blatant truth of the matter.

Sure, we understand that using the label hate crime before it’s been officially established by designated institutions that make those calls isn’t exactly part of the journalistic code of ethics.

But there are other ways to provide the coverage that doesn’t make a mockery of tragic situations that are unjustified and downright ornery.

The headlines that echoed the breaking news of Elijah Al-Amin’s murder, were terrifically bad, and definitely in poor taste when you consider how they all unequivocally united in the inexplicable themes of how “rap music” was directly responsible for the fatal stabbing by a murderous racist.

There’s plenty more from where that came from, and it was appalling to witness the travesty of not only the media’s willingness to cosign the stereotypes of rap music by validating the ridiculous testimony of Al-Amin’s killer, but also the betrayal of humanizing the psychopath who was certainly not “mentally stable” when he determined the race of his victim.

This was a hate crime, and not being able to spell that out doesn’t give mass media the authority to allege that a Black teenager was murdered because of his taste in music, as if white kids don’t pump up the volume to the hottest rap artists on the charts.

How about:

Black Teen Elijah Al-Amin Stabbed To Death by a White Man With Criminal Record

Elijah Al-Amin Was a Victim of Racial Profiling By His White Killer

White Man Targeted Elijah Al-Amin Based On His Bigoted Views of Black People

Those mock headlines aren’t perfect, but they at the very least make it clear that the Black teen didn’t die because he offended the peace and quiet of a racist bastard, who used “rap music” as the silly metaphor for “black people.”

This destructive element to news reporting is particularly unbearable when Black lives are destroyed by rogue cops who are empowered by victories of former and present colleagues, who’ve all gotten away with murder because of our criminalized judicial system.

It’s disingenuous to claim empathy and the fight for justice for all as the unwavering call to duty, and yet actions of seasoned journalists at fancy-lit studios don’t match that pledge.

George Floyd has been a staple for cable news networks and for good reason; a Black man enduring the minutes of absolute horror that send reminders of Eric Garner, who also begged to breathe while he was being choked by a killer cop makes it hard not to be consumed with this latest felony.

But once again, the headlines woefully fail to convey the truth of the matter as it pertains to the killer cops who callously watched an unarmed Black man, who was not a threat to society, loudly suffocate under the pressure from the knee planted on his neck.

It’s bullshit, that the headlines we see, always begin with:
“George Floyd’s Death…”

Instead of:


We are aware that he has died. The whole world has viewed the heartbreaking evidence of the crime that implicate the thugs-in-uniform who have since been fired, but there’s no justice until the day they’re escorted to their grimy cells.

The media is complicit in devaluing Black lives when reporters and pampered anchors avoid describing the full scale of this national emergency that will never be defeated if assigned “truth-tellers” willfully refuse to tell the damn truth!

It’s a problematic feature that must be addressed moving forward. And the best place to start is to begin the editing process so that it reflects why:

George Floyd was murdered while screaming for the life that sadly didn’t matter.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store