He shows how the news talks about black people by talking about white people instead.

Just a heads-up: This is satire. This. Is. Satire. But that's why it's so freaking good.

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Just in case this segment left you scratching your head, let's break down what it all means. This brilliantly scathing piece was meant to show the hypocrisy in how news media talks criminal behavior in black and white communities. And the takeaway is this:

Our media is incredibly biased when it comes to covering crime involving people of color.

How do we know? Let's look at three themes that play out over and over again.


1. Victim-shaming vs. killer sympathy

2014 was full of protests and demonstrations in response to unarmed black men, women, and children killed by the police without consequence. And while these stories were all over the news, too many focused on blaming the victims for previous unrelated criminal behavior.

All three of these incidents were captured on camera and suggest gross police misconduct, yet the victims in these cases were essentially put on trial.

Meanwhile, the news media is notorious for sympathetically portraying white men and women suspected of crimes (including murder). Take James Eagan Holmes. He was responsible for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting that left 12 people dead and many more injured — and was noted as a "brilliant science student."

Elliot Rodger, who killed six people plus himself and injured 14 others in Santa Barbara, California, in 2014, was described as "soft-spoken, polite, a gentleman."

See the difference?

2. Coverage of unruly crowds

Riots are never a good thing. But here, too, the media uses a certain spin when the crowd is white.

When riots broke out after the 2011 Stanley Cup, you'd be hard-pressed to find any media blaming "white culture" for the actions of a few hundred rowdy sports fans.

"Riot in Vancouver," 2011, by Elopde


Instead, incidents of mob violence involving large groups of white people in Vancouver, New Hampshire, and Huntington Beach (featured in the Chris Hayes clip) are presented as anomalies. It's also worth noting that in these instances, law enforcement makes efforts to de-escalate the situation and avoid excessive force.

This contrasts how news media and police responded when a handful of people began damaging property during 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and April 2015 protests in Baltimore over growing frustrating with police brutality. Not only did police show up to the Ferguson and Baltimore protests in full riot gear with military equipment and tear gas, news media continued to demonize protesters and lay the blame on the black community instead of addressing the root of their growing frustrations.

Violence of any kind is wrong. But there's a serious problem when white students rioting after the annual Pumpkin Festival are described as "rowdy" and "unruly" but black protesters rioting in response to police brutality are portrayed as "violent thugs."

3. Blaming black culture

Perhaps the difference in language and coverage is the perception, a la Bill O'Reilly, that "black culture" feeds and supports criminal behavior more than other cultures.

News flash: "Black culture" doesn't cause crime. Period.

Now let's have a quick history lesson.

It's true, African-Americans do make up a disproportionate amount of the U.S. prison population.

"Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population."
— NAACP, Criminal Justice Fact Sheet


While this is no doubt upsetting, it'd be foolish to assume based on the numbers alone that black and Hispanic people are more predisposed to crime instead of examining the how and why that so many end up in prison.

It's no secret that crime tends to be more prevalent in impoverished communities. It would be nice to think that everyone has equal access to jobs, housing and education, but the reality is many people of color end up in impoverished communities with poorly funded schools as a result of systemic racism.

Throughout history, black people in the United States have been shut out of communities with good schools and jobs — starting in the 1800s with Jim Crow laws that prohibited renting property to black families, all the way up to the 1960s when the Federal Housing Committee instituted a policy that denied home loans to African-Americans and even people who lived near African-Americans (known as "redlining").

Throughout history, black people in the United States have been shut out of communities with good schools and jobs — starting in the 1800s with Jim Crow laws that prohibited renting property to black families, all the way up to the 1960s when the Federal Housing Committee instituted a policy that denied home loans to African-Americans and even people who lived near African-Americans (known as "redlining").

Sadly, the effects of the blatant discrimination African-Americans experienced more than 60 years ago can still be felt today. It's a domino effect. Think about it: If your grandmother was denied a home loan or employment in the '50s because she was black, that influenced where your parents grew up, which then affected where you grew up. Where you live determines where you go to school, and since the community's tax dollars support local schools, it's easy to see why poor neighborhoods end up with poorly funded schools.

Combine all those elements with limited job opportunities in communities of color (a common consequence of poorly funded schools) and it's no wonder many turn to crime as a means of support.

We haven't even begun to address stiffer prison sentences, racial profiling, and police aggression that are all too prevalent in communities of color! So yeah, it's way complicated.

Chris Hayes' spoof on "white culture" shines a spotlight on our media's blatant hypocrisy.

Before I continue singing Hayes' praises (whoa, that rhymed!), it's important to acknowledge that there have been tons of black activists and scholars who've pointed out our media's hypocrisy long before this segment. But I'm always happy when someone uses their platform — and, more importantly, their privilege — to talk about inequality. So cheers to Chris Hayes for this brilliant spoof!

The point is, there's no logical reason for our media to frame white suspects and criminals sympathetically and demonize black victims and suspects. It's not just painfully unfair, it's a gross display of racial bias.

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Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

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Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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