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What if a youthful Bill Gates had a Trayvon Martin moment?. . . The media have a way of labeling everyone, neatly and cruelly compartmentalizing all into boxes of convenience. Because of myriad plots from thousands of movies produced since the advent of the motion picture, the mind is programmed to typecast everyone in a millisecond. Individuals are sorted by race, clothing, body-piercings, hair style, swagger, you name it. With it comes prepackaged profiling, prejudged conclusions. (Ever think how the word television “program” carries a double entendre?)
For starters, Google the word “thug.” Of the hundreds of images that instantaneously jump on the screen, more than 98 percent portray African American males.
Who in America, if they are honest, can deny that they can identify with the following scenario:
Walking down the street toward you is a young black man outfitted in baggy pants, earring(s), backward baseball/stocking cap. His hands are hidden inside the hoodie kangaroo pouch. Perhaps he is keeping his fingers warm on a crisp winter day. But notice your reaction: underarms shed moisture . . . eyes dart across landscape . . . mind races . . . panic ensues. . . . Is he going to pull out a knife, no, a gun and rob me? The overpowering impulse is to bolt across the street, or just run, period, anywhere . . . !
The alert reader will recognize that the “who in America” rhetorical lead-in a few paragraphs above does not exempt blacks. Why? Because, blacks, too, are victims of this smothering media campaign. There is an engrained, conditioned-reflex action similar to Pavlov’s dog salivating when he heard the bell ring, because he was programmed to associate the noise with dinnertime. For people, media have conditioned us to stereotype the black man in a notoriously negative light. A bell goes off in our subconscious, and the accompanying image is neither pretty nor positive.

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