The Associated Press is usually known for its journalistic integrity, but the news outlet's framing of a murder conviction has drawn outrage on social media. And, as is common with Black Twitter, much of that criticism was funny, ironic, lightning fast, and given its own hashtag: #APHeadlines.
Theodore Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter Thursday in Detroit for the shooting death of Renisha McBride. McBride, 19, had been in an accident several hours before she died on Nov. 2. When she appeared on Wafer's porch in a Detroit suburb and banged on his door at 4:30 a.m., she was injured, highly intoxicated, unarmed and potentially looking for help. She died when Wafer shot her in the face through his locked screen door.
After the verdict was announced, the AP tweeted this update:
MORE: Suburban Detroit homeowner convicted of second-degree murder for killing woman who showed up drunk on porch: http://t.co/parUipYRxw
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 7, 2014
However, many saw emphasizing McBride's drunkenness as a unfair way to present the story.
@AP why does this sound sympathetic and victim blaming please ??
— BUTWHEREARETHEGIRLS? (@ChiMo___) August 7, 2014
The AP shared the story again, rewording the new tweet to take out reference to McBride's intoxication.
But that can't stop a hashtag. Thus, #APHeadlines was born, and plenty of other ... unexpected ways of framing news stories emerged, with tweets mocking the AP's alleged victim-blaming in reimagined views of history.
Like if Hurricane Katrina was instead thought of as a real estate opportunity for the people of New Orleans:
Or if slave traders generously gave away free vacations:
And if school shootings were kids' faults:
If Martin Luther King Jr.'s death wasn't an assassination:
If Jesus died because he wasn't in good enough shape:
Homeless blasphemer from low-income Nazarene family, low on stamina, fails to survive crucifixion. #APHeadlines
— Marissa Jackson (@LaToubabNoire) August 7, 2014
And many, many more.
Black people suffer mass delusion that they deserve basic human decency and respect. #APHeadlines
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) August 7, 2014
Beyond Twitter hashtags, McBride's death also incited conversations about race and media bias, the lack of value black women have in society and disparities in the criminal justice system. This latest Black Twitter response highlights those issues in a way the community has often done in the past like the #DangerousBlackKids that took off after the verdict in the Jordan Davis case was announced. Although the tweets may be rooted in humor, they drive home a powerful point.