When a black man in the United States gets shot and killed, how does the mainstream media decide what picture to use when talking about the victim’s death? And on a more personal note, which of your headshots would the media use if you were shot and killed?
That’s the morbid question posed by the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, which has been trending on Twitter since Sunday evening, after 18-year-old Mike Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9.
Mostly African American are tweeting the hashtag to protest the perceived media bias toward black men by posting two different photos of themselves—one that appears menacing and the other as an upstanding citizen— along with the question: which photo of me would be used if I were killed?
The hashtag, which has been used 118,000 times in the past 24 hours, according to Twitter metrics site Topsy, aims to expose how a victim’s race determines how he or she is portrayed by the media.
Here are a few posted in the past 24 hours.