Jesse Williams: Racist police cannot be our news source

Jesse Williams continues his candid engagement with the media

Earlier this week actor and activist Jesse Williams got real on CNN where he exposed media double standard. He additionally presented the notion of journalists’ inability to start the conversation from the beginning. Instead they opt for the comfort of telling the story from some point that gives the prevailing narrative plausibility.

So was the case with the Michael Brown case. When the chief of police released the video of someone that could have been Michael Brown shoplifting cheap cigars, the narrative changed. Maybe he was no longer the innocent child laying there dead on the concrete.

Lo and behold, it turns out it was not the shop owner that called 911 to report any theft at the convenience store. Yet that narrative remains as if it is a major issue in the execution of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.

The dialogue between Joy Ann Reid and Jesse Williams was probative.

Joy Ann Reid: Jesse you know have the advantage of having been a school teacher having taught young people. How do you even explain to kids – I am struggling with this even with my kids – How do you explain what’s going on in Ferguson. Give us some idea on how you would even try to unpack and explain this particularly to young boys who are Black and Latino.

Jesse Williams: Part of it – that really is the question Joy. Part of it is where we are getting, it’s the source of our information. It is very easy to get caught down a slippery slope because if we are using the police as out news source, if we give them a little bad theater every night to get up on a pulpit and give us their version of events. Police should have nothing to do with our news source.

An overtly white racist police force over a Black community that 92% of their searches are Black folks and more of White folks that they pull over have contraband than Black folks, that can’t be our news source. And if they block off you guys from having access, that’s really what makes it really difficult to explain things from the beginning.

So it is really about where we are sourcing our news and tying it into history, learning from history. History is told by the victors as we know right? The Native Americans were savages even though you are slaughtering them. We need to retell stories as they actually happened without injecting opinion and fervor and political gain to it. It’s not easy. It’s no easy task certainly.

Your source of information on a particular subject cannot be the source that has caused systemic harm. That is the message Jesse Williams is trying to get  across to the media.