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Is Going BatShit Crazy And Screaming At Reporters A Bad Look For Black Lives Matter?

On Saturday night, some 300 Black Lives Matter protesters, responding to the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, shut down traffic for hours on Interstate 94, one of the main highways running between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Dozens were arrested around 11:00 pm when police began pushing a wall of protesters off the Interstate after giving the sixteenth order to vacate the area.

Video taken earlier in the evening shows a local reporter (for Fox News affiliate KMSP as identified by Reddit) trying to interview protesters at the scene. Their response isn’t exactly congenial.

Many people’s reaction to this video would be to criticize the protesters. Here you have a reporter asking why protesters are here, giving them the opportunity to spread their message, and their response is to shout him down with a megaphone and demand he leave. How does this help the BLM cause? Why are the protesters responding so angrily?

If you’re asking why they are so angry, ask yourself if you’ve been seriously paying attention to what’s happening to black people in this country. The idea that people who are literally being killed in the street by the state shouldn’t respond with anger or aggression — that their cause and method of protest are only legitimate if they are docile — is at best erroneous and at worst indicatively racist.

Protesters aren’t viewing this reporter as a neutral party looking to signal boost their message, much less an ally. The media doesn’t have the best track record of reporting on police violence or protest movements without a narrative heavily favoring the state and white supremacy. This goes double for Fox News (if this is, in fact, a reporter for KMSP). You can hear this alluded to by protesters when they counter the reporter’s questions with “Why are youhere?” and “You’re with them.”

BLM has become a social and political force in this country because of its own groundwork and organizing. It’s understandably not a top priority for all of its members to work with a mainstream media that often reports on the movement disingenuously. The media is, after all, primarily interested in the story. Black Lives Matter is paramountly interested in the complete and total liberation of black people. The story will be reported on regardless. Protesters may feel they have better things to spend their time and energy on than facilitating a narrative they ultimately will not have any control over. It’s not a novel or terribly misguided position to take. Indeed, KMSP’s eventual coverage of the protest did heavily favor the police perspective. You could argue this is because of protesters’ caustic reactions to the reporter, but if his work was so easily swayed by having his feelings hurt, his commitment to journalistic integrity is tenuous.

There is a true risk with combative tactics that you end up alienating people. Many will look at this young woman screaming in the face of a seemingly calm and innocent reporter and respond with disgust. It will confirm their worst notions and feelings about BLM. You can see as much in the comments accompanying the video on Reddit and YouTube. Instead of focusing on the protesters’ “bad manners,” I focus on the words of the people turned off by them.

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Source    I Am Bored

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