When reporting upon the tragic and brutal death of a 15 year old kid in Chicago (the latest in a trend of great violence against youth in that city), CNN did something that America must change if we are to perfect our union. They classified the death as “minority” and from the “streets”. Who cares that the kid was a minority? Does that make his tragic death any less tragic? There should be no special classification of deaths based on race, ethnicity, gender or social economic status. A 15 year old kid is a 15 year old kid, and he/she matters!
The second thing CNN did is added the word “streets”, which implies some kind of gangster/drug trafficking connection. But upon reading about the story, we learn that this youth had no criminal background, showed no sign of being affiliated with gangs, and actually was a quiet, shy, nice kid who was just leaving his girlfriends house. What is “street” about that? Regardless of whether or not the murderers were “street”, when CNN uses that word and places it beneath the image of the victim, it implies that he too had some “street” (criminal) affiliation.
CNN’s story would read much stronger if it was titled “Kids dying weekly in Chicago“. That makes the story universally accessible. Every adult has been a kid, and many adults have kids. By saying “kids”, you make the connection that that could have been your son or your brother or your cousin or you!
CNN should have also just said “Chicago” not “Chicago’s streets”, as if implying some special ghetto gangster subcategory of Chicago that can be easily stereotyped and dismissed. No this is Chicago:
President Obama’s Chicago
The White Sox’s and Cubs Chicago
Michael Jordan’s Chicago
The Chicago Frank Sinatra was singing about
The Chicago that is hoping to host the Olympic Games Chicago
Yes, in this Chicago, kids are dying weekly. How can any city who hopes to host the Olympic Games, tolerate such unimaginable youth violence? At least 1 kid a week has been killed since the beginning of this year, some as young as 10.
One good thing that CNN did report was how this story would be covered if that many children had died due to the swine flu. We have to wake up America. The lives of our kids matter greatly, and this violence they face should not be tolerated! It should be exposed for the true tragedy that it is, something that should cause grief to all Americans.