#IfTheyGunnedMeDown was a successful movement that went viral after starting on Twitter and making it’s way through The New York Times, Washington Post, Time Inc., and other popular news outlets. The hashtag was in response to how the media portrayed Michael Brown, an 18 year old African-American male who was shot by police in Missouri. Instead of using peaceful pictures of Michael, for example in his football jersey, or in his graduation cap and gown, after all, he was going to be graduating very soon, the media used negative images. Images that would make it seem as if Michael was a thug and pictures of him flashing gang signs. Images that would show Michael Brown as a bad person. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first case of this happening. It has become a trend to see news outlets portray African-American victims with unpleasing photos.
As you can see in the tweets mentioned below, people on Twitter got very involved with this hashtag. Users began to tweet the hashtag, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown along with two images of their selves. One being a positive picture of them, for example, a picture of them doing something positive, along with a picture that can portray them in a negative way, such as a picture of them dressed in inappropriate clothing, drinking, throwing gang signs, etc.
Of course, with every viral content that spreads on social media, there is always controversy. Some users felt like the hashtag was “stupid” and wasn’t making a point. Users felt that people shouldn’t have any picture of them selves on the web that can portray them a negative way. They felt that people who were posting these type of pictures with the hashtag wasn’t helping the cause, but instead, possibly digging their selves in a hole.
The #IfTheyGunnedMeDown movement had many people talking on social media, even Ethan Z. Below are some tweets including the hashtag:
— Alex Howard (@digiphile) October 20, 2015
— Scru Face (@King_Ghidorah5) August 11, 2014
— Luke Richardson (@onestrattoomany) February 5, 2015
— Velvet R0pe of LOTNS (@_bennythejet) August 10, 2014
— Rell from Statefarm (@Assheart_Rell) August 10, 2014
— ari$potle (@nathanriveraaa) December 29, 2014
— Kyrie Curving™ (@cdiddy513) August 10, 2014
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown is a stupid hashtag. It's true but y'all are contradicting yourselves by posting vulgar pics if you don't want them used
— Taylor Huff (@DaaaddyTaaay) June 17, 2015
— Shelby Biddle (@littttle_biddle) June 15, 2015
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown was started for a reason. We ALWAYS have to protect our image from the media. Media automatically protect the cops.
— Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) December 21, 2014