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Twitter hashtag highlights media racial bias

As community members protested the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown and police lobbed tear gas in Ferguson, Mo., recently, a hashtag grew viral on Twitter. #iftheygunnedmedown offered some biting criticism of the news media’s coverage of black Americans.

The hashtag activism showed two photos of each subject, one of the person partying, sneering, gesturing, or dressed in clothes stereotyped as “urban” or “thuggish,” and the other of the person in a setting such as a graduation or wearing professional clothing. The Twitter posts ask questions such as, “Which picture would the media choose?”


The posts illustrate the all-too-common practice of reducing a person’s life to one image.

A Tumblr also contains images from the hashtag.

What are your thoughts on media bias? What can be done to remedy the situation? Is Twitter activism an effective way to raise attention to these types of issues?

We welcome your thoughts.


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