Thug or Saint: Which Profile Photo Would Media Choose?


If you were shot by police, what sort of profile photo would the media choose? The Root, Mashable and more traditional media outlets are reporting that thousands of young African-Americans are posting twin photos of themselves–one looking good, one looking bad–under the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. The Root says the campaign began as a protest of the media “depicting us as violent thugs with gang and drug affiliations.”

A much-used photo of Michael Brown, the Ferguson, Mo., teenager killed by a police officer, shows him standing on a porch flashing a peace sign, which some in the media have called a gang sign. The New York Times says social media “has helped propel and transform a local shooting into a national cause, as African-American commenters draw attention to continued episodes of violence directed at African-Americans and the media portrayals of young black men.”

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