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Polarization Led By The Media: The Eclipse, The Juice, Louis Vutton Dawn And The Double Standard of Caitlin & Angel

The complexity of race and the media. How the events of one week aligned perfectly like a solar eclipse.

By Phillip W. Dunn, Founder Of The BBFG

First things first RIP OJ Simpson. It’s not lost on me and many other Americans the irony of the events that have played out so far this week. Many of us watched the NCAA Women’s National Championship together, the very next day we lined up across the country to watch the solar eclipse together and then today many of us learned about the death of one of Americas most polarizing figures.

Sunday night Dawn Staley led the South Carolina Gamecocks Women’s Basketball Team to a national championship with a perfect season to boot and only losing 3 games in 3 seasons. To the surprise of many the focus was not dedicated to this amazing accomplishment. No, instead the cameras and commentary were trained on Iowa’s Caitlin Clark for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. Even the breaking news pieces showed images of Clark shooting three pointers and smiling. It was kind of awkward. If you didn’t watch the game you would think Iowa won.

And who can forget last year when LSU’s Bayou Barbie gave Clark the classic John Cena ”You Can’t See Me” gesture and was brutally dragged in the media while Clark did the same thing the week before and even received a nod from Cena himself. The media celebrated Clark for the gesture.

After Sunday nights game Coach Dawn Staley showed a tremendous act of class by speaking highly of Clark for elevating Women’s Basketball and Women’s sports overall. While this same time last year Coach Staley had to defend her team from media attacks calling her players ”thugs & monkeys”. Yes - the national media.

The media managed to overlook Caitlin Clark’s penchant for throwing flagrant elbows, pushing players down, tripping players and showing disregard for her coaches and teammates when she didn’t get her way. They opted instead to say “she plays with passion and is competitive” while Staley's players were called “bar room brawlers”. Yes - the national media.

Then today we learn that the family of Orenthal James Simpson announced his death from cancer. Immediately the media recalled the murder trial where he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron. During that time period the media went out of their way to put OJ on trial in the court of public opinion. They sneakily arranged for him to be handcuffed in his backyard so they could obtain video of him, they photoshopped an image of him to make him appear “Blacker” than what he really was, they even built an industry around his name and association with the tragic death of the Mother of his children - Court TV, Reality TV, Keeping Up With….and countless others.

Notice I haven’t invoked race yet. Thankfully I don’t have to do that. ”Twice as good for half the reward. Half as bad for twice the punishment.” You see the ”Black Tax” has always been understood by Black Americans. We knew the story about the championship would still highlight Clark over South Carolina. South Carolina was two times as good as any of their opponents but like the eclipse the media blocked their shine.

We knew the story about OJ upon his death would revert to his acquittal and not his Heisman winning, airport running, million watt smile self. When the system couldn’t convict him on the murder they got him on charges of stealing his own property. The second time was a charm. They found a way to punish him. OJ found out the hard way that “I’m not Black, I’m OJ” couldn’t be further from the truth.

Like the sun, the OJ Simpson case shined a bright light on how systemic racism infects our institutions and even how we view each other. The media itself is that other solar body that eclipses our vision from what is true and what is important.

For months, every major media outlet prepared us to go outside and look up at the blinding sun to witness the sky darken. They gave us maps and times down to the zip code. It’s almost symbolic of how the media directs our eyes to what they want us to see. It’s a masterful art. The really good outlets can actually make us see what we never saw. The really bad ones will tell you that you didn’t actually see what you actually saw. (No shade to my friends and family that work in media.)

Even though they possess all of this skill and mastery they have continually failed to bring us to one accord on how we are to look at the blinding truth of racism. The same skill they use to sew division can be used to build unity.

It wasn’t hard at all to tie all of these events together. Many Black folks know it to be a common theme. And depending on where people are in their politics to the left or to the right, many others won’t see it at all - just like the eclipse.

The media has an uncanny way of showing what others believe to be the worst of us and they equally have a cunning way of completely ignoring us when we are at our best.

It's our time!


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