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#IfTheyGunnedMeDown: Hashtag looks at how minority deaths portrayed in the media

How are minorities represented in the media?
How are minorities represented in the media?
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Trending across multiple social media outlets over the last couple of days is the hashtag that simply states "#IfTheyGunnedMeDown." Mashable reported on Aug. 11, 2014, that the new hashtag is getting a lot of attention as it protests the depiction of minorities and how they are represented in the media as "violent thugs with gang and drug addictions."

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown especially focuses on the portrayal of African-Americans and this stems from the shooting and killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown this past Saturday.

The NY Times reports that Brown was shot and killed on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, by a police officer in Ferguson, a mostly black suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. The situation is still being investigated and details of the shooting are at the center of a major dispute.

There are reports stating that Brown, who was to start college next week, was unarmed and wrongfully shot this past weekend.

Anger has spewed across Twitter and Facebook and thus gave birth to the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, but there is one big reason in particular for it.

Some news stories used a photo in the story of Brown's death, and it showed the teenager with his fingers extended high. A number of people have looked at the symbol as one of peace, but others are looking at his hand signals as "gang signs."

Thousands upon thousands of African-American men and woman have tweeted photos of themselves in response to these disputes.

The pictures are side-by-sides with one showing the user in normal, everyday life. The other image shows them as the stereotypical thug or gangster. Included with the tweets and images was the hashtag stating #IfTheyGunnedMeDown.

Brown's death is being compared to that of Trayvon Martin who was an unarmed black teen shot by George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012. In 2013, Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder, and another racial-profiling dispute was born.

On Sunday evening, a candlelight vigil was held to honor Michael Brown, but things got ugly as close to 40 people were arrested for looting and vandalism. Some threatened reporters and berated police officers.

Many also prayed and asked for murder charges to be brought against the officer that shot Brown. An investigation is still ongoing.

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