Sunday, January 11, 2009

whatever happend to megan williams?

Although, I have my apprehensions about Roland S. Martin I came across a very relevant and necessary article by him the other day online. For the most part I usually tend to think of him only by his TV One sporadic rants but he does seem to be on point with his frustrations and news reports. He is definitely a journalist that is concerned with folk of color. Now as for this article, it was referring to Megan Williams and the lack of media attention towards her case during the whole media frenzy of Michael Vick. I mean, I have already learned not to depend on the media for my news feed but really? Does anyone even remember Megan Williams?
In the midst of discussing my issues with the study and talk of black females ( i use "black" to include all women of the African diaspora: carribean, latin american, north american etc) and the lack of in depth analysis of our traumas, faults, and abuse--Javon Johnson mentioned Williams to me the other day and I couldn't even put her name and story together. If a black female ever felt neglected or ignored ever, I am certain it is now. It's a true shame. I think Martin gets at us taking responsibilty in his concluding argument that perhaps we, as readers and listeners, do not hold the media accountable. Perhaps our interests are so far removed from each other. Real news, today, isn't news unless it involves celebrity gossip and tragedy. And even the kinds of celebrities are isolated in certain types of stories. It seems we are so desensitized by the flocks of violent, abtrusive images we've been fed its absolutely normal and okay to expect and accept it any way it comes. No one is outraged anymore, and if in fact we are outraged it is humorous to most, a mere reflection of times for others. I don't know but whatever happened to Megan Williams, whose gonna write a poem for her? Whose gonna protest for her? Where are our men, sitting in their barbershops having every opinion about Michael Vick and no discussion of Ms. Williams? Where are our women, plagued by our own abuse and competitive streak, we fail to recognize ourselves in others? (yawn) I'm tired. Until, next time we send the image that its okay to abuse our women by the lack of concern we have for them-- I'll just have to keep Megan in my prayers, devote this blog to her and women like her, hoping we never let it happen again...ahh what a life of the average American, the privilege we have to not care...Isn't it lovely?


Here take a look at the article:

(CNN) -- When federal prosecutors in Virginia released details of the dogfighting charges against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, all hell broke loose. Folks were protesting, calling for him to be immediately kicked out of the league, and demanding long jail sentences for Vick and his co-defendants. Many lawyers went on television and admitted that had Vick beat a girlfriend, shot or even murdered someone, he wouldn't have been slammed as hard as he was for the vicious acts committed against dogs. I suppose those lawyers are right. Just look at the case of Megan Williams. The 20-year-old West Virginia woman, Megan Williams, was kidnapped by six sadistic individuals and held in a mobile home. They raped her, forced her to eat rat and dog feces, made her drink from a toilet, stabbed her multiple times, and called the black woman a "nigger" every time they beat her. Thank God she lived, and may be released from the hospital in a few days.
But it still raises the question: What causes such outrage and fervor in one case involving dogs and not another?
The same thing was said about the shocking details surrounding the deaths of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. The two University of Tennessee students were on a date when they were carjacked by several men. They were taken to a house where they were held. Christopher was raped, doused with gasoline, shot and his body dumped on the side of a road. Channon? She had a household cleaner poured down her throat and was later raped. She, too, was murdered.
Although the two were white and their alleged attackers black, police say race was not an element in this case.
These two cases are heinous and despicable. But why do we respond with speed to one case and not another? Is it celebrity? Or do we not have the same compassion for human beings as we do for dogs? Was the Vick case that more important? Take, for example, the U.S. Senate floor speech of Robert Byrd, the senior senator from West Virginia. Calling the allegations sadistic, Byrd thundered: "Barbaric! Let that word resound from hill to hill, and from mountain to mountain, from valley to valley, across this broad land. Barbaric! Barbaric! May God help those poor souls who'd be so cruel. Barbaric! Hear me! Barbaric!" He later added: "I am confident the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt." So, Sen. Byrd, where is the floor speech for a woman from your own home state? Where is the outrage when a woman is viciously attacked? This is when the media gets slammed. We've determined that Vick, Paris Hilton and the shenanigans of Lindsey Lohan are far more important than the viciousness of what took place in West Virginia and Tennessee.
But maybe the problem isn't just the media. Maybe the problem is you. The reader. The viewer. Maybe you've decided that you care more about discussing a celebrity than nobodies like Megan Williams, Channon Christian or Christopher Newsom.
---Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning, multifaceted journalist and CNN contributor. He is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith."

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