The only sorta-well-liked cop in Ferguson was accused of being a gang member because he was in a college fraternity.
The media. Race. Stereotypes. Reality. These four things don't mix well together. Take, for example, the story of Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson. That's a pretty serious name, "Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson," and as the man appointed to lead law enforcement's response to the unrest in Ferguson, he's been one of the few people in uniform to make a sincere connection with the protestors in Ferguson, with his speech on Sunday and my talking to people on the street. Granted, his watch has still been tumultuous at nighttime and not as peaceful as promised, but it's also clear his control over the police on the ground is limited.
But what if I told you he was black? You might think "well, OK, sure. That's probably not a bad idea." If that's what you thought, I hope you don't plan on pursuing a path in the American news media, because you will be eaten alive. What if, instead of being a career policeman who's made Captain and has now been appointed by the Governor to attempt to defuse an explosive case of social unrest, Capt. Ron Johnson was instead...a mole for a criminal gang, probably the Bloods?!
Now, the report initially came from iReport, CNN's lazy crowdsourced-news thing, so it's held to a slightly lower standard of journalism than their primetime coverage. That said, you'd think someone would be on the lookout for blatant race-baiting and wrongness. This isn't Twitter, it's still CNN, which means that the worst parts of the Internet will use it as proof for their awful causes, and none of those people will ever see the retraction (which did happen.)
Wow. So this article said Ron Johnson is throwing up “gang signs”. I’m assuming they know nothing about fraternities. pic.twitter.com/HdB9a0YJHA— True Eastwood (@true_east_) August 19, 2014
Yikes. Yes, that "sign" that looks like an upside-down OK symbol, is a sign members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, a historically African-American fraternity that was founded in 1911 at Indiana University, sometimes use to greet each other. Because they're part of the same group. Not a gang, a scholastic organization. Not from the school of hard knocks, but from college, you dicks.
My 7th grade social studies teacher and "gang" member Ron Johnson throwing up their "gang" sign pic.twitter.com/diqJzgpYmE— RandaSantana (@DearRanda) August 19, 201
Stay in school, kids—hopefully long enough that you can avoid sounding like an ignoramus on the Internet.
(by Johnny McNulty)
Sources: Washington Post