This Blog Has Nothing To Do With Sex But You Should Read It Anyway
In 1989, five teenage boys were falsely accused of the brutal attack of Trisha Meili in Central Park, New York City. More than ten years later, another man admitted to the crime. All the DNA was matched to this man but regretfully, all five boys had already spent 6-12 years in prison. I read an article in the New York Times recently stating that The Central Park Five, as they have been called, may be rewarded $40 million by the state of New York. As stated by the article, they are not being rewarded this money because they were wrongly convicted but rather because they were coerced and manipulated by the detectives to admit guilt to the crime. The underlying truth throughout this trial was that everyone believed what they wanted to believe. The detectives, prosecutors, jurors, media outlets and much of the public wanted to believe that five young, black, poor delinquents were the perpetrators, and therefore made it so, despite a total lack of evidence. Groupthink at its best.
In America, we have the freedom to express our opinions. However, this freedom has come with a price. The price is propaganda, false information, and manipulation. We should ask ourselves, “How much are we REALLY thinking on our own?” We are constantly being tricked and manipulated by the world around us. It’s important that we learn to recognize when we are being compelled to think certain ways by the sources around us. Unfortunately, recognizing this can be challenging because, more than ever, we are bombarded with information about everything from every direction. In this day, we have to be extra diligent in choosing the sources we trust. We are so blessed to have the freedom of information at our finger tips, but on another hand, our world has become so saturated with propaganda that it feels as if our progress is moving significantly slower than it could be.
As far as The Central Park Five case goes, many might say that we have progressed, and we are passed the age of the intense racial tension that plagued New York and many other cities at that time, but we haven’t necessarily progressed. Believing what we want to believe does not apply to only race but everything around us, and there is plenty going on around us right now that, in say, 10 years we could look back and wonder how we could ever have thought that way. Not everything you have a point of view on today could come with repercussions in the future, but in the case of the Central Park Five boys, there were heavy repercussions. Had people thought differently during that time, these kids may have never spent a portion of their lives in prison.
Our mind is so powerful, and it’s amazing how much our thoughts and opinions can affect the people around us. Fortunately, as powerfully as our mind can work against us, it can just as greatly work for us. If the majority of us were capable of committing such an injustice to these boys by convincing ourselves they were guilty, think about how much we are capable of doing that could actually propel our society forward.