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#IfIWasGunnedDown is a Twitter hashtag campaign started in light of the death of Mike Brown, an unarmed African American teenager fatally shot by police. After a news station used a picture of Brown which could be perceived as negative African American Twitter users tweeted out two pictures of themselves, one with positive connotations and one with negative using the hashtag to suggest the negative photo would be used in news reports if they were killed.
On August 10th, 2014, Twitter user CJ_musick_lawya introduced the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, which African American twitter users can use to post to pictures of themselves, one featuring a very positive, accomplished image and one that could be perceived as negative based on negative racial stereotypes. The hashtag implies if they were killed, news coverage would use the negative image to report on their death.
The hashtag was meant to criticize a picture of Mike Brown, the African American teenager who was shot and killed by police on August 9th, in Ferguson, Missouri, NBC News tweeted earlier on August 10th, which seems to portray Brown negatively based on racial stereotypes.
CJ_musick_lawya’s original tweet gained over 1,000 retweets within 24 hours, and the hashtag was retweeted out over 110,000 times.
On August 11th, the LA Times published an article titled “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown ponders portrayal of minorities killed by police” which featured a roundup of tweets using the hashtag. The hashtag was covered by several other sites the same day including The Huffington Post and TIME Magazine. On August 12th, the New York Times published an article titled “Shooting Spurs Hashtag Effort on Stereotypes” which cites one Twitter user attributing the popularity of the hashtag to black twitter.
TIME Magazine – #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and What Hashtag Activism Does Right
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