(image and link to video under "Read More")
The Canadian police procedural TV show "Rookie Blue" is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. Its tagline is that it's like "Grey's Anatomy" with rookie cops, and it shows the day to day lives, cases, and yes, romantic travails of 5 rookies and their superiors. This past summer, the show (in its 3rd season) had a storyline where one of the rookies, Epstein, shoots a young black man, Tyler Marks, in a convenience store because he believes that there is a robbery in progress. Tyler is wearing a hoodie and "looks suspicious" in some way to Epstein, and Epstein thinks Tyler has a gun, so he pulls out his gun and shoots, wounding Tyler fatally. In the investigation following Tyler's death, the Internal Affairs department questions Epstein's belief that Tyler was holding a weapon of any kind. This episode reminded me a lot of the Trayvon Martin case, in which a young black man was shot essentially for wearing a hoodie and being black. I had hoped that the show would address the underlying racism of Epstein's actions, and find him guilty of murdering Tyler without cause. But, instead, to make the show lighter and keep Epstein's name clean, it is decided that he was not wrong to shoot Tyler, because there was another young black man in the store who was actually robbing it, and so Epstein had "valid" concerns for his own safety.
I realize that this does not exactly fit in with the assignment to put an image to schools and prisons, but, especially given our discussion in class yesterday about media representation of criminality and race, I wanted to express my frustration that "Rookie Blue" did not address its Trayvon Martin inspired storyline with enough thought given to the criminalization of black bodies, and instead seemed to keep its aim on showing how noble its protagonist cops are.
Here's the promo for the episode http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H_Acls4u54
And a photo of a protester of Trayvon Martin's murder, a much more powerful depiction of the racism and prejudice that went into Trayvon's real murder, and Tyler Marks' fictional one.