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OPINION | By Orisabiyi Williams
If I can control what you see, I can control what you think. If I can control what you think I can define who you think you are, I can create the conversations that you talk about, and I can keep your mind in a slumber state. That is the power of propaganda, and that is the job of the main stream media, it is the main stream media propaganda machine.
When you look at the news or read the newspapers, it’s rare that you will find Africans in America who are presented in a positive light or hear the news that informs us with information for our betterment.
Main stream media is a propaganda machine designed to only show Africans in America in a negative light by displaying negative stereotypes which are why local news affiliates will only report on crimes in the black community. These negative stereotypes set the narrative in the minds of people who are not black that we are less than or subhuman.
Often times here in Tulsa our local media propaganda machine will fabricate the location of crimes that happened in South Tulsa and pin them to North Tulsa – the predominately black side of town. This is what propaganda does. Propaganda is misleading information. If you do not have all of the facts and you are presented with misleading information you cannot possibly make an informed decision.
Propaganda is a direct attack to your intellect and to your subconscious.
If you only hear and see negative stereotypes about black people on a consistent bases you will start to believe them. That is why it is important to monitor what we allow our children to hear and see. I know parents who say that they will not hide music or movies from their children because they want to keep it real and let their kids see the truth about the world. See the deception? What is real, is the main stream media propaganda machine.
Hitler was successful in his propaganda campaign to exterminate the Jews. Hitler used radio, books, magazines, music, and television to spread false propaganda about the Jewish population. Then came the Holocaust.
Don’t get me wrong, every now and then the main stream media propaganda machine will produce a feel good story about black people during Black History Month but the main stream media propaganda machine will never shine a light upon a black man or woman who is wanting to empower their community.
Malcolm X once said, “When we see a black man who is constantly being praised by the Americans, begin to suspect him. When we see a black man get honors and all sorts of decorations and the United States flatters him with fine words and phrases, immediately suspect that person. Because our experience has taught us that the Americans do not exalt any black man that is really working for the benefit of the black man.”
We have to tell our own stories and set the narrative to breaking stories that come out of our community. Jet Magazine proved the power that black media possess. On September 15, 1955, Jet Magazine displayed the brutalized body of Emmett Till on its cover. That cover went to many homes in black communities across the nation and sparked an awakening and mobilization of many.
Today we as a people have a lack of interest in the news because it doesn’t reflect who we are as a people.
Lately, I have seen memes, gifs and remixed songs of Senator Maxine Waters now famous line, “I’m reclaiming my time!” Somehow we have become more entertained by these types of spectacles and less upset about the conditions of our communities and people.
Our radio stations, newspapers and television stations do not give us the news we need to know. If you listen to most black radio stations, all you hear is music that glorifies murder, drugs and the degradation of black women. Black radio stations do not inform its listeners when the next city council meeting is, what laws are going to pass and other important news. That is all by design, and if you research, you will find that most of these black stations are owned by white media companies and are under contract to only play what they are told.
How do we change this?
We change this by investing in our own media outlet platforms. Support local black media companies, churches should pool money together to purchase satellites and television stations. More importantly, be seekers of information that is going to help the well-being of our communities. We have to stop focusing on entertainment and focus on creating solutions that will build healthy communities. Black media would be a beacon of information that would deliver solutions, encourage community involvement, enlightenment, economic development, shared resources, political strategy, health information and promote black businesses.
If we see positive images of ourselves and hear how to be financially literate imagine what happens to our psyche. Imagine that! People of African descent in America have $1.3 trillion dollars of buying power; we make everyone else rich but us. Imagine how that statistic would flip from $1.3 trillion dollars purchasing power to $1.3 trillion dollars of net worth.
It’s critical to understand the power of propaganda. It has played a huge role in our demise and continues to do so. Black media is such a crucial component to our survival, and it’s about time we understand that and put ourselves in a position to build. To do that we have to be able to communicate to the masses. It is a must that we have a platform to do so.