So I had to attend an outside assignment for my JMC201 course. It was a pannel discussion about Alderman Michael McGee sponsored by some multicultural club dealio. I think what I wrote below is pretty self-explanatory. Love me, hate me, or whatevaaa.
To start, I’d like to say that the panel discussion about Michael McGee and his arrest was not very well organized. Both panelists showed up late and one of them, Mr. Sanford, couldn’t even talk about the issue as it related to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel because he had signed an agreement with the paper about two weeks prior.
Overall, the goal of the organization sponsoring the panel, and the panelists themselves, was to show the audience how the media, and individuals involved in McGee’s arrest, were all racist. I did not buy into this concept. Although it is possible that all of the individuals involved in his arrest, arraignment, bail-setting, etcetera were all white, I highly doubt that they were all racist. The same goes for every news outlet that has covered the story.
Most of the arguments made were based on emotion, rather than logic. The fact that McGee has been shown in photos in a jail jumpsuit outfit and in handcuffs, to me, is not racist. He was arrested and that is the standard operating procedure for such and event. Additionally, panelists asserted that the term “thug” has been used to describe McGee on numerous occasions. Panelist Shaw alleged that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had used the term to describe McGee several times. Panelist Sanford, who used to write for the Journal, disagreed with him outright. When all was said and done, it appeared that Mark Belling and some online bloggers were the only ones who actually used the term “thug” to describe Michael McGee.
Personally, I do not see myself as a racist person. Yet, any white person in the audience who disagreed with the panelists was told that they were just so used to seeing racism in the news media that they didn’t even realize it when it was right in front of their face. To me that is fairly ridiculous. I’ve seen both white and black men shown in orange jumpsuits on the news and in the papers: so why is it racist to show McGee in this fashion?
One final point that really astounded me came from a lady who was in the audience and enjoyed sharing her opinion every five minutes. She said that Michael McGee was a figure of authority, an elected official. The fact that he was an Alderman meant, to her, that we should never say bad things about him. We should “respect the office,” she said. I have one name to respond to that concept: George W. Bush.
Now I am not the biggest fan of our president, but I think that any person who isn’t a fan of totalitarianism would say that we should question authority and hold public figures accountable for committing crimes. I can guarantee you that at least half of the crowd in attendance had made fun of, accused, questioned, or otherwise spoken negatively about George Bush at some point in their lives. This lady must have been smoking something before she came to the event.