Here’s a snapshot of some of the contrasting language that is used to describe victims of police brutality and the sweet, sensitive young men who go onto take the lives of innocents because they’re just plain misunderstood.

Media Blog

There is no misunderstanding here. Whether we like it or not, the media has the power to decide who is a victim and who “had it coming.” It’s great that we as college students are often reminded to view everything through a critical lens, but the fact of the matter is that most average people are unaware that this is such a pervasive problem, and just do not have the time or inclination to “question everything” they see on TV, especially after a hard day’s work.

The only solution I can perhaps see is for projects highlighting these shocking contradictions, such as many of the ones being attempted by this class, to become so numerous and powerful that they simply cannot be ignored by the media. Then we may see some interesting collisions. How would you react, for example, if you were to come home from a stressful day at work, turn on the TV and be greeted by a special newscast on the “hidden effects of the racist and biased language at work in today’s media?”

Would news channels and large media entities ever admit to being part of the problem? Would the issue still remain “hidden” even if they did? How else can we really begin to change people’s perspectives, if not by small-scale activist action that eventually grows (but only slowly) in volume and intensity?

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2 responses »

  1. nlredmond says:

    I really like the questions you pose here, and I agree that change will most likely begin on a small activist scale and eventually grow to something larger. I think the big corporations and media institutions behind the biased reports and language will have no reason/desire to change the way black people are portrayed in the media if it continues to garner them a profit. I think the change will have to begin in consumers’ minds and perspectives, so that the tropes and stereotypes that are currently relied on to sell hip hop albums, for example, no longer work and have to be changed.

  2. jonesa0913 says:

    I am not entirely sure if we will ever reconstruct how mainstream media portrays Black people or other victims of police brutality because popular media outlets always have ulterior motives. I agree with Nadja. I wonder if there is a way we can incentivize large networks to change how we are portrayed.

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