St. Louis: This is My City
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Politics and Activism

St. Louis: This is My City

St. Louis: This is My City

Let me start by saying I’m not from Ferguson. Although I am from St. Louis, just miles away from the epicenter of racial tension going on in the United States, I did not have the same upbringing as those in Ferguson did. Before I start, I will say that I am not going to say anything either way regarding the case. 

I want to stress how none of us will know what was going through Darren Wilson’s or Michael Brown’s heads on that fateful day in early August, and most of us can't act like we know what is going through the heads of the protestors this has affected. To be honest, that's not even what has upset me most about this whole situation. Clearly, the loss of an human life is devastating and should be prevented unless it is absolutely unavoidable. However, in this case, we may never know what happened between those two that resulted in this horrible situation. Rather, what has me the most upset about this whole ordeal is the way in which the media has fueled this unrest in the city I love. 

Take, for instance, when the shooting first occurred. The Fox News’s and CNNs of the world were not concerned with the underlying racial tones that have clearly plagued this country for decades - or starting conversations about how to solve these problems - but rather getting the best shot of the looters stealing liquor from the corner gas station. Throughout this whole process, TV and other media outlets have attempted to do everything they can to keep the nation interested in the civil unrest in Ferguson. Now I’m not saying keeping the nation thinking about this is a bad thing, as serious conversations should take place between party leaders to bridge this gap that is clearly present. But the way in which the media has kept their focus on Ferguson has turned the city that I hold so dear to my heart into a running joke throughout this nation. 

Think about it. When you hear “Ferguson," what do you immediately think of, racial inequality or looting? Ten times out of 10, you will immediately envision the looting that major television networks spew all over their screens 24/7. I’m not saying that this situation should not be covered. It absolutely should. But for the love of God, at least try and paint St. Louis in a light that doesn't make it look like Baghdad circa 2003. The looting is not what should be focused on, not by a long shot. 

When the news broke that Darren Wilson would not be indicted on the night of November 24th, many people were understandably angry. Many people knew that there would be the large possibility of widespread riots in and around St. Louis County, which there were. This is exactly what the major TV networks wanted. While there were other peaceful protests going on in other parts of St. Louis, with individuals that truly cared and wanted to make a difference, the national news cameras instead focused elsewhere. That elsewhere happened to be in the heart of Ferguson, where people from around the country came to experience the excitement. There were thousands that came not because they truly cared about Michael Brown and what happened on that fateful day, but rather because they wanted to loot that new pair of shoes from the local sporting goods store. 

These individuals are what CNN and Fox News live on. This is how they get viewers: they make this whole situation so much worse than it ever needed to be by focusing only on the looting and mass destruction. They have unjustifiably escalated this situation to where violence is now expected. They are why entire buildings went up in flames, and why cop cars burned into small metal shells. Yes, in this case I am entirely compelled to believe that if it weren't for the media pushing this story to new heights and out-of-towners ransacking everything in sight, we would not be in the horrible place we are in today. The people who truly care about this case and Michael Brown are not the ones burning down nearly every building in North St. Louis. They are not the ones that give the rest of the community, the rest of the city, a horrible name. They are the ones crying and pleading for change. They are the ones that can separate those who care from those who are taking advantage. 

I'm angry as hell over what this situation has become and I'm not going to stand here and see it escalate to an even higher level. I’m from St. Louis. Yeah, I know we have problems. We all do, and they aren’t going to be easy to fix. But we don't need everyone from the outside coming into our city and telling us how messed up we are. We are proud, smart people and I am confident we can begin to fix these problems on our own. Times are bad, yes, but no matter how terrible the situation may look, I always remember that these are the dark days, and that the civil unrest will calm and racial tensions will begin to ease. 

But don't be mistaken, this will never be forgotten. Although times may be scary and confusing, there is one thing that I can always take solace in: I’m a St. Louisan and I’m proud, and there is no place I would rather call my hometown.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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