The Media & the Murder of Aiyanna Jones

The Media the Murder of Aiyanna Jones

Aiyanna Jones

When a little white girl goes missing, online news, supermarket tabloids and cable network stations bombard us with up-to-the-minute dispatches on the crime, the victim, her shattered family and anguished community. When a little black girl is murdered in cold blood by a big city police department it is up to the community and those who care about social justice to ensure that the case doesn’t fade into the national obscurity that is usually reserved for the lives of people of color.

The recent execution of 7-year-old Aiyanna Jones by the Detroit Police Department during a raid while she was sleeping in her home is the kind of atrocity that makes many people of color view the police as an occupying army. According to news reports, the Detroit Police were conducting a raid that was being filmed for an A&E reality show. Neighbors notified the police that there were children in the home, but their pleas were ignored. Searching for a suspect who lived in another apartment unit, officers fired into the home from outside, then lobbed a grenade into the house, killing little Aiyanna.

By exercising a so-called “no knock” policy in poor neighborhoods, the Detroit Police’s criminal disregard for human life and the civil liberties of people of color have kept the community under siege. According to Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, the Detroit Police have been under a federal consent decree but continue to use military style raids that terrorize citizens in its poorest neighborhoods.

Deeply ingrained racist stereotypes and biases against people of color are a major factor in racial profiling and police misconduct

Of course, deeply ingrained racist stereotypes and biases against people of color are a major factor in racial profiling and police misconduct. Disturbingly, Aiyanna’s murder also comes in the wake of a recent CNN study about the impact of skin color bias on young children. CNN presented the findings of Margaret Beale Spencer, a psychologist who utilized the same “doll test” technique as that of psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark in 1947. The Clarks’ research documented the destructive impact of racism on black children’s self-image and was used in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education suit.

Spencer asked black and white children to identify the child they believed had negative traits in a drawing featuring children of different skin colors. The majority of both black and white children found the darker skinned child to be the one which possessed negative traits, while they identified the lighter children as those possessing the most desirable traits (see video below). The association of whiteness with normalcy, power, attractiveness, worth, and desirability is reinforced by mainstream media, the dominant culture, families, and children’s peers. So because there is often little in their home lives, school curricula, or peer networks to counter this message, some children of color and most white children receive the constant message that whiteness is superior.

White parents who claim that they are raising their children to be “colorblind,” and reflexively dismiss focus on racial or cultural difference as “promoting racism,” simply reinforce the dominant culture’s racist inscription of whiteness as the unspoken norm. Adults who ignore the very real and damaging overvaluation given to white or lighter skin in marketing and advertisements, as well as in film, video and TV shows with predominantly white casts (such as on the Disney Channel and the major networks), ensure that children will be ignorant of the power of white privilege.

Counter-programming children of color to believe that they are beautiful, capable, powerful, and intelligent requires specific emphasis on the cultural richness of people of color. It requires school curricula that actively incorporate the contributions of people of color to every aspect of American social history, literature, science and mathematics. It requires that conscious white parents have conversations with their children about how race does confer social advantage onto whites and not people of color. And it requires that we continue to tear down the regime of white supremacy that fetishizes little white girls as the national ideal of innocence whilst disposing of little black girls as ghetto expendables.

 

Sikivu Hutchinson

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of blackfemlens.org and the author of the forthcoming Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America.

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Comments

  1. Tyrone says

    THE WHITE CONTROL MEDIA ARE LIAR

    Is it just me that notice that all the white control media criticize any and everything President Obama does or just thinks about ??? Even when President Obama’s decision are correct! Take Egypt President Obama got all Americans out safely but the white control media and the Republicans. Criticize how he did it and that he didn’t act fast enough! Then it’s Libya President Obama and the United Nation decided the no fly zone! Well the white control media and the Republican party started saying. President Obama is weak and attacking his leadership. They also said that women in his administration encourage him to act! They where belittling all women with their disrespectful comments! Well if it is true one of the women was the Secretary of State! THAT IS HER JOB!!! These are the same idiot that let the Republican President Bush lead America into a war in Iraq. FOR NOTHING causing the needless deaths of Americans FOR NOTHING 4,400 and counting! Where was the white control media when American men and women where sent to Iraq for NOTHING?? Where were they when President G. W. Bush turn a surplus into 13 trillion dollar debt?? The worse President ever in the history of America. G W. Bush he never was criticize as much as President Obama. And his decision murdered Americans FOR NOTHING!!!!!!

  2. Tyrone says

    REPORTING THE NEWS

    America in the past selected 3 , 6 and 10 news channels to get our news! Today America has a choice of many news channels. Most of these new channel host are about spreading hate and divide and their opinion! So today 3,6 and 10 have turn into opinionated news where the pundit give opinion on the news. Either threw a right or left perspective Republican or Democrat or liberal conservative! The right under the first black President not only have become more opinionated but hateful! Lying about the President religion and his upbringing! Many times reporting on issue that is not a issue! Like the Libya incident! The right criticize President Obama handling. After his decision return American from Libya safely!!!! Where is the negative? The right found it NOTHING!! Hate seem to sell and Fox News does hate the best. They focus on the Republican base (white People) who they know. HEAR IT! BELIEVE IT! And REPEAT IT! Never investigating pass the idiot the fool the racist that inform them. Especially if the information is against minorities! John Stossel was on 20/20. Left to join Fox News and change his liberal out look to pure negative about everything! Promoting hate seem to change a person! Hannity and Beck, Palin and O’Reilly have all to the right spread hate and divide. They have made more money then in the entire careers! Sarah Palin one of the proven idiot quit her job as Governor to spread lie and make money off those lies!

  3. Tyrone says

    WHITE CHRISTIAN EXTREMIST IN AMERICA

    I was looking at “ America Live With Megyn Kelly” she was discussing Peter King hearing on Muslim Extremist in America! I immediately thought. What a hypocrite with selective memory! How could any American especially a white American. Not acknowledge the “white Christian extremist in America. Or white racist Americans that have gotten into every area of American institutions! That have murder more Americans in America then Muslim could begin to do! AND CONTINUE TO THIS DAY! Where is Mr. King hearing on the Ku Klux Klan in America??? Where is Peter King when black children in NY and Philly as young as eight! Are made to drop their trouser and take off their shoes going and coming to school! In plain view of the public! Where is Peter where in America a black unarmed American is shot in the back while handcuff! Or a 72 year old white woman is knock to the ground and taser. For not signing a ticket. Or a black pregnant woman taking her son to school. Is stop for speeding. Refuse to sign the ticket is pulled from her car and taser 4 time and punch! Where the hell is Peter King??? Or a 92 year old shot 39 times 6 bullet hitting their mark. After finding out they raided the wrong home they planet drug in her home and a gun in her hand! Where is Peter King ???? Or a 7 years old black child asleep in her Detroit home. A Detroit cop first threw a flash bomb. That burn a third of the child’s body then shot her DEAD! Where is Peter King on these issue!

  4. Tyrone says

    OK TO MURDER UNARMED AMERICAN

    I have a question to American politician. Why if a police officer shoots a unarmed American citizen and gives a reason. He or she thought the unarmed American taxpayer had a gun. Why is it that mistake in judgment. That cause death or injury DOES NOT result in that cop termination! Why if a police officer murder a child that is unarmed and innocent. Why does it not result in that police officer termination? Why is life in America especial black American life worthless in the eyes of politician? But a politician can come up with new legislation that fines and or jail people with saggy pants? But know legislation that protects or punish police officer that shoot unarmed children! Why is it that police officer are instructed to NOT shoot at a moving car? Shoot at a moving car and nothing happen to that officer or officers that break the rules! Sean Bell and many other unarmed American citizen would be alive if the officer follow their rules! America pundit and TV host of these news shows are fast to condemn Muslim treatment of their Muslim women. But don’t acknowledge in America. Many in America are just as evil or worse!

  5. Tyrone says

    NEW BILL THE BRENTON BUTLER BILL

    As of this date _______/_______/________________/ in every police department there must be two DYFS workers one male one female per shift. The DYFS worker are place in the department to over see any citizen transaction with police officers. The DYFS workers will also have power to terminate and or suspend police officers for abuse of citizen!

    The police officer that is found guilty of abuse can no longer own any type of firearm nor can they live in a resident where a firearm is own. The police officer can never work for any type of law enforcement or security company. If the abuse results in death of the citizen. The officer will be charge with murder and sentence to age of the citizen plus his age!

    No juvenile can be question by a police officer without a DYFS worker present! No Juvenile can be strip search without a DYFS worker present! Both police and DYFS worker must be the same sex of the citizen being strip search! The parent of the juvenile must be contacted immediately!

    If a citizen is taken to a site of the crime a DYFS worker must be present for the ride! No juvenile can be fingerprinted without a DYFS worker present.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    The Brenton Butler case was a 2000 murder case in Jacksonville, Florida. During the investigation of a shooting death outside of a motel, police arrested 15-year-old Brenton Butler a juvenile and charged him with the murder. Butler was subsequently force to confessed to the crime by investigating police officers, and the case went to trial. However, during the trial he testified that he had been brutalized into his confession, and he was acquitted. The case gained significant notice in the media, and became the subject of an award-winning documentary.He was totally innocent!

  6. Tyrone says

    NEW BILL THE Fenyanga Muhammad BILL

    As of this date_____/_____/_______/ any police officer that is found guilty of shooting an innocent citizen and the state or city is sued and looses the case! That officer or officers are fire and charge appropriately! The officer or officers can never work for law enforcement of a security company. The officer or officers can never own a gun nor can they live in residents of gun owners!

    No more then one officer can draw his gun on a citizen when there is clearly one citizen involve! No citizen can be order to the ground and no police officer can place their knee on the citizen head back or neck! The citizen will be order to turn from the officer and put their hands behind their back and are immediately handcuff and place in the patrol car. Not made to laid on a hot patrol car!

    No officer can put their hand or and type of instrument in the citizen mouth in order to retrieve drugs or anything! No officer can choke a citizen to gain compliance! No officer can taser a citizen that won’t stop talking! Nor can a citizen be taser for not signing a traffic ticket!

    No officer can use a night stick to silence a talkative citizen nor can they punch kick etc.. Only male officer can strip search male citizen. Only female officers can strip search female citizen. When a male is present the male will pat search a male citizen. When a female is present the female officer will pat search a female citizen.
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    From the start, Fenyanga Muhammad maintained his innocence. Shot four times by police in what was described as a drug bust gone wrong in 2007, Muhammad said he hadn’t swallowed drugs as police claimed. As for his resistance as police tried to arrest him, he claimed that was because the police officers grabbing him behind caused him to choke on a Popsicle stick that had been in his mouth and which was visible in crime scene photos. He was shot three times across his back, and once in the hand. Muhammad was totally innocent the police officers LIED!

  7. Tyrone says

    NEW BILL THE Michael McLendon BILL

    On this date _______/_____/_______/ any citizen or person that fire a weapon into a establishments! The suspect will be arrest and if convicted will serve as many years as there are people in that establishment.That could be incarceration or probation! If the suspect murder anyone during his or her rampage he or she will be executed immediately!

    The suspect whether incarcerate or place on probation. Will be sentence to a “Yellow Uniform” for the life of his or her sentencing! He or she can wear nothing but that “Yellow Uniform”! He or she will also be made to shave his or her hair bald nor facial hair and must maintain for the duration of the sentence. No jewelry of any kind can be wore the duration of the sentencing!

    If the suspect is a juvenile and the weapon he or she use belongs to the parents. The parents will be charge along with their child! Those parent can never ever own a gun nor can they live in a resident of a gun owner! If the suspect had mental issue and was sold a legal gun that gun shop will pay a fine if a mental check was not conducted! $10,000

    No more then fifteen dollars on the person at any times and his or her “DOC” Id card! The “Yellow Uniform” inmate cannot own a gun nor can they live in a resident of a gun owner! The “Yellow Uniform inmate can not purchase drink or enter a establishment that sells alcohol. The “Yellow Uniform inmate can not smoke in public nor can he or she purchase cigarette.

    If the “Yellow Uniform inmate violate while in uniform the sentence start over plus the new charge! The “Yellow Uniform will clearly state ( in big letters) the inmate number. That number can be fed into a computer and information of the inmate crime and his or her address!
    ————————————————————————————————————————–
    Michael McLendon, 28, who killed 10 people before taking his own life, had a target list that detectives found in his house in Kinston, Ala., according to Coffee County District Attorney Gary McAliley.

  8. Tyrone says

    Why does America give a ok to police officers that murder unarmed black Americans! With nothing more then the excuse “I thought he or she had a gun! Or I had to make a split second decision and my decision was wrong and cause death …but I’m a cop so TOO-BAD-SO-SAD! Or black children as young as two or seven years old unarmed and non-combative can be murder by mostly white police officer so-call accidentally OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN EVERY STATE IN THE COUNTRY!!!! And America can give the alive officer the benefit of the doubt and say well….a cop has a hard job sooo…..TOO-BAD-SO-SAD you live in a bad neighborhood! Years ago racist white cops would just plant gun in the citizen hand to justify murdering a unarmed citizen! Today they don’t need to plant guns because NOBODY cares the police officer lies are always believe over the dead person that can’t tell the other side or the truth! If that same police officer worked in a factory and accidentally cause someone death…He or she would be fire! But a officer can shoot a unarmed non-combative black citizen 41 to 50 times and be back to work before the body is out the hospital or in the ground! Today in this time racist …stupid and abusive murderous white cops are accepted as just doing a hard job! Even white cops that murder so-call accidentally black cops are accepted as just made a mistake TOO-BAD-SO-SAD…all blacks look like criminals in white cops sick minds!Black people are called crybaby if they complain and even told that they are the blame for stupid racist and murderous white cops! If blacks didn’t live in bad neighborhoods they would not have to murder them and their children. All this coward and downright disgraceful and abuse of authority behavior continue daily in America while black men and women are fighting and dying in two wars . For the same white evil coward racist low life un-American white police officers! Gutless white police officer that murder black children should be fire immediately and never be permitted to own a firearm! I bet a million dollars that if cops knew they would be fire for accidentally killing a human being or a unarmed human being. All these accidental murders and unarmed murders WILL STOP! But there is not a politician with enough guts or who give a damn about black children being murder let alone black adults! They are more concern with a racist STUPID lowlife coward murderous white cop keeping his or her JOB!

  9. Tyrone says

    NEW LAW THE Aiyana Jones BILL

    As of this date _____/_____/____________/ no American police officer can murder a unarmed American citizen and remain a police officer! Especially if he or she shoots a person in the back faces down or sleep! He or she will be fire immediately! And charge with a crime! If the American citizen is unarmed and under the age of 18 years of age! The police Officer be charge with “first degree murder”! If the unarmed American citizen is unarmed and innocent and is injure by being beaten or taser a cop that is found to use unnecessary force! That cop cannot ever have use of that equipment! He or she will be fire immediately!

    All raids that are conducted officers must investigate first that children under the age of 12 ARE NOT PRESENT! If a child or children are present under the age of 12 years old. A raid cannot be conducted! If a senior citizen is present over the age of 60 year old a raid cannot be conducted!

    A cop CANNOT taser a pregnant American citizen or senior citizen! If a pregnant citizen is injure from being taser that officer will be charge with double offences! Police can no longer place American citizen on the ground to handcuff nor can they place a knee on a American citizen back,neck or head!

    Ones a American citizen is handcuff he or she is place in the patrol car. NOT made to lay on the ground or patrol car. Also a senior citizen on oxygen CANNOT BE TASER!

    A AMERICAN CITIZEN

    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    Little Aiyana Jones is dead just 7 years old at the hands of Detroit Police Officer. They first burn the sleeping child then shot her dead in the neck. In the last ten years it seem that white cops accidentally shoot black children as young as two years old! Tasering senior citizen and pregnant black women are now the norm. Please send this Bill to your Mayor, Senators, President and all law makers! Asked them to past this bill to protect all American!

  10. says

    Keep up the good work Sikivu Hutchinson — it is with courage like yours that this nation was built and liberty was fought for but now we need freedom, justice and self determination for all people and writing like yours will help us get there.

  11. says

    I was in Detroit in 1967 or thereabouts two days after the end of the “Detroit Riots” in a neighborhood on the, if my memory is right, southwest side sort of close to Wayne State U, a very black neighborhood. My two friends and I were talking to people in a corner house, single story with a porch about 6 foot above ground level. On the porch was the grandmother of the family, a couple of grandchildren, the mom and a teenager. Other family members were in the house. All was peaceful then around the corner came cars from the STRESS unit of the Detroit PD [I don't remember what STRESS stands/stood for but the local folks said they were like the BOSS, Bureau on State Security, police in South Africa that enforced apartheid.]. One car rolled up on the front yard and two officers clad like storm troopers stormed out of the car, one with a shot gun and the other with his side arm pulled out and they charged the porch while officers from the other cars stood back guns drawn. They just yelled at everyone to get down in the yard and all the young people moved but the grandma didn’t move and said she wasn’t able to walk stairs. The cop just shoved her off the edge of the porch to fall to the ground below. She was probably in her sixties, was obviously unarmed, and had told of her disability. The cop who did this was white but his partner with the shotgun was black and that day I learned that cops are cops and the color or spots don’t make any difference. They know who they serve, the wealthy and politically powerful classes [who may be white or black or any color], and where their bread is buttered. They love hypertension about crime in low income neighborhoods and attempt to provoke it so that they can get federal and state money for better, faster, more powerful guns, electronics, cars, etc just as they like drug dealing for the same reason — it causes fear and brings them higher budgets. Killings like this one in Detroit happen every day in cities across the country but we don’t hear about it usually because no one “credible” [i.e. the white media] is there to report it or video it and police commissions and politicians make it disappear. My experience with a lot of cops, I helped train some in two cities for the National Conference of Christians and Jews, is that many are ignorant cowards who get to act tough behind a shield, a club, body armor and a gun. Now there are many, maybe most, good cops who are not like that but they don’t stay around or never get the promotions because they aren’t viewed as reliable team players because they are not violent enough. Cops don’t honor decency, non-confrontation, and the resolution of disputes without violence. They demand to be treated with respect but do not offer communities respect, the attributes of bullies. Friend MJW unfortunately buys into their manure — forgiving the killing of a little girl as unimportant collateral damage. He forgets that they are supposed to be trained to handle situations, not go around shooting children. They claim to serve and protect.

  12. harry says

    I am not sure of the facts, the police story and the mother’s story sound like two different actions that happened in two different places. I suggest poloygraphs for all.

  13. MJW says

    There was a murderer in that house. What do you expect the police to do?! Knock on the door and say “Police, may we come in?”! The MEDIA HAS BEEN all over this story. Time to take your blinders off and quit making very slanted accusations.

    The father of the child has been identified by witnesses as the driver of the vehicle that drove a murderer to kill a 17 year old just for looking cross-ways at him earlier. Where is your empathy for the mother of that child? What would you say if the police weren’t doing their job and finding the murderer of this child?

    The father of this child put her in the dangerous situation in which she lived. The child’s entire family is the the seed of this tragedy. Put on a badge and be a Cop in Detroit for a week. It would be refreshing to hear some good news come out of that cancer infested city for a change, but the media doesn’t have much to go on!

    • STACCEE says

      SO U ARE SAYING THAT THIS LITTLE GIRL DESERVED TO BE KILLED BECAUSE OF WHAT HER DAD IS SUPPOSEDLY DID??? DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY WHEN THE LITTLE WHITE KIDS ARE MURDERED? I BET NOT. I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF COPS KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE AND GETTING OFF BY LYING ABOUT IT. YEA THEY PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE DAILY, BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY CHOSE TO DO, THEY KNEW THE DANGERS WHEN THEY CHOSE THIS PROFESSION. SORRY THAT U FEEL THIS LITTLE GIRL DESERVED TO DIE BECAUSE OF THE SUPPOSEDLY SINS OF A FAMILY MEMBER.

    • Tyrone says

      MJW Why does America give a ok to police officers that murder unarmed black Americans! With nothing more then the excuse “I thought he or she had a gun! Or I had to make a split second decision and my decision was wrong and cause death …but I’m a cop so TOO-BAD-SO-SAD! Or black children as young as two or seven years old unarmed and non-combative can be murder by mostly white police officer so-call accidentally OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN EVERY STATE IN THE COUNTRY!!!! And America can give the alive officer the benefit of the doubt and say well….a cop has a hard job sooo…..TOO-BAD-SO-SAD you live in a bad neighborhood! Years ago racist white cops would just plant gun in the citizen hand to justify murdering a unarmed citizen! Today they don’t need to plant guns because NOBODY cares the police officer lies are always believe over the dead person that can’t tell the other side or the truth! If that same police officer worked in a factory and accidentally cause someone death…He or she would be fire! But a officer can shoot a unarmed non-combative black citizen 41 to 50 times and be back to work before the body is out the hospital or in the ground! Today in this time racist …stupid and abusive murderous white cops are accepted as just doing a hard job! Even white cops that murder so-call accidentally black cops are accepted as just made a mistake TOO-BAD-SO-SAD…all blacks look like criminals in white cops sick minds!Black people are called crybaby if they complain and even told that they are the blame for stupid racist and murderous white cops! If blacks didn’t live in bad neighborhoods they would not have to murder them and their children. All this coward and downright disgraceful and abuse of authority behavior continue daily in America while black men and women are fighting and dying in two wars . For the same white evil coward racist low life un-American white police officers! Gutless white police officer that murder black children should be fire immediately and never be permitted to own a firearm! I bet a million dollars that if cops knew they would be fire for accidentally killing a human being or a unarmed human being. All these accidental murders and unarmed murders WILL STOP! But there is not a politician with enough guts or who give a damn about black children being murder let alone black adults! They are more concern with a racist STUPID lowlife coward murderous white cop keeping his or her JOB!

  14. Marie R. B. says

    I realize that some would view this as an accident, the police was doing it’s duty. This story about little 7-year-old Aiyanna Jones strikes home, to many of times I have see maybe once or twice where the police would put out an amber alert for a black child and then it is as if nothing happens no family graving or giving out description pictures of our missing children, hi I live in Chicago where these thing do happened.

    Blacks here views the Police as one of them or the man, which means that this is why they do not receive the information on crime that takes places in our neighborhood. Away from cameras the police here are brutal often you can see or here an officer beating a suspect or using racial slurs not just the white cops but black as well. Yes I have witness this, I have also witness the shooting of a black man and while he laid bleeding an Officer stood over him with pistol drawn and pointed at his head.

    Blacks do not receive the same justice as the white American we are guilty until proven innocent. often time you are guilty just take a peak into the so call Correctional Systems which have become a way for most White American to keep a job. Instead of Correction most are return home with no job skill and pays for the crime for the rest of their lives, white criminals can get employment from some where but not blacks. This is how American can discriminate with out the knowledge of or any one complaining.

    The Black communities are not only afraid of the gangs but the ones who are suppose to protect them, afraid that if they give them information they would become the suspect or that they will let the gang member know who told on them. Even in jail there are gangs so where are your safety.

  15. Virginia Hoge says

    Yes, so true. The media goes nuts when a little white girl is murdered, stays silent when an African-American on is. This is so wrong!!

    “White parents who claim that they are raising their children to be “colorblind,” and reflexively dismiss focus on racial or cultural difference as “promoting racism,” simply reinforce the dominant culture’s racist inscription of whiteness as the unspoken norm.”

    This is dead-on.

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