When the Romans crucified people, they would do it right at the entrance to a city or wherever the most public place was so everyone would have to walk by and see. There were two groups of people that were most often crucified, slaves that were stepping out of line and anyone who opposed the Roman state. The Romans wanted to make sure these groups of people were completely humiliated and instill it in their minds that they had no power.
Someone posted something on my timeline about pictures of lynchings being spread during Jim Crow times in our own country for a similar purpose. This inspired the thought that maybe there is something else going on behind all these videos of black people getting killed by cops, especially when the cops go free. As much as I’m glad these things are being caught on camera so people can see the injustice that’s happening, I also wonder if seeing these videos all the time is drilling into our collective subconscious that black people are the oppressed class and so they are totally powerless. How often do you see videos of any other group of people getting killed publicly? Sure, part of it is that it happens on a disproportionate level to black people, but I can’t even think of one video where another group of people was caught on video being persecuted like this, at least in America. Perhaps part of these public displays of brutality is sustaining a system set up to keep black people in their place by total humiliation. Many people probably realize that the media can greatly influence our culture, as can be clearly seen by the fear generated during the Coronavirus situation. However, I don’t know if many actually realize the power of the psychological forces behind it.
Take an imaginary example. Let’s say you are on the high school basketball team. The first game of the season your team is kind of rusty so you end up losing. Let’s say the school newspaper prints a huge front page article with the headline “Basketball Team Already On Track For a Losing Season.” The paper gets posted everywhere, and your entire team continuously hears about it. The next game you go out and lose again. The newspaper points out your loss in big, bold letters, “This Season Looking Worse Than We Thought For the Basketball Team.” If this keeps happening, by the third or fourth game of the season your entire team might start to believe you are actually a bunch of losers, and your season will likely reflect that.
Take another example, this one from real life. How often do you see suicide reported on the news? Almost never, unless it is a famous person or an extreme case like murder suicide. Do you know why? It’s because people recognized that there is something called “suicide contagion” when the media reports on suicide. When people hear about suicide on the news and details about how it happened, it actually leads to more suicides. Now that we know this, there are guidelines for the media on reporting suicide and in most cases it is greatly discouraged.
You see, there are powerful psychological forces influencing us through the media. It is important to question the things that we hear and see from them. A few major corporations own almost all of the media outlets. Do you really think that they don’t recognize the power they have to manipulate people through those very media outlets? Now I don’t know if there is a specific agenda behind these police brutality videos or if this is just something that sort of naturally developed in our society, but I think it is at least a worthy hypothesis that they are actually having a psychological effect on us and that this effect may be contributing to the system that keeps black people oppressed.
That being said, there is something else that needs to be stated. The possibility of deception and manipulation by the elite is not something to despair over. Know that there will be a time when the rich and powerful rulers of this world will be brought low, and the oppressed and lowly will be raised up. God’s righteous judgement is coming. Those who are rejected and despised will be honored and those who thought highly of themselves will be rejected and despised. When someone is unjustly persecuted they share a special bond with Yeshua Hamashiach, who was crucified though He was innocent, God taking on our human flesh in solidarity with us and offering Himself for the forgiveness of our sins. Those who weep now, will rejoice later. Blessed are the persecuted.
“Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls; for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it. But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones, and he watches over his elect.”
William Joseph Scheremet