The video above is satire of the very problem that I wish to address with the identity of Blacks being tarnished by White Supremacist culture. Media of all sorts have begun to take their stand in the world. The one who controls the media, controls the minds of the people and there is a large portion of media controlled by one demographic and that’s Whites. The problem with this is that media is wrongly representing the identity of Blacks and other races. This incessant misinterpretation and lack of conveyance of factual, genuine information about Blacks specifically in the US fosters stereotypes, white supremacist culture, and augments perceptions of race.
Representation of White Murders/Mass Murderers
The greatest disparity between white representation in media and Black representation is that of mass murdering criminals. When a white person is accused of a crime their are deemed mentally ill, insane, a lone wolf, or some type of psychotic behavior that pushed them to commit horrendous crimes. Background information given about white criminals are extremely favorable for the compared to Blacks; they usually include their educational history, high school portraits, and other information to bolster their credibility. Why is it that White’s are sympathized when they commit crimes but blacks are not? I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Representation of Black Murderers
When Blacks commit crimes they are considered “thugs”, a “menace to society”, or in the very least, a threat. Black criminals are portrayed as posing threat to others so that they’re prosecution or death is justified by their “definitive” wrongdoing. Background information on the individual that is given is usually malicious, or a way to extract sympathy from the individual such as stating the incidents were drug related, they were a belligerent individual in some way (had a history of it), or that they were a gang member. Blacks are typically shown with attire connected or similar to gang culture or simply just their mugshot which is RARELY utilized to show white criminals. This discrepancy between the two is called Killer Sympathy and Criminal Shaming. See how one even uses criminal instead of killer, as if the killer is not a criminal.
The media also covers unruly crowds extremely different than each other. When it comes to large crowds that are predominantly white and violence erupts, it’s often minimized and seen as a benign misunderstanding of teenagers or just people getting a little too excited for a hockey game. Police force is very scarce and military grade equipment is not visible or utilized where as in large crowds of blacks this is not the case. These riots do not have lingering effects on them, it is an individualized incident and not an indication of the race as a whole. Blacks do not enjoy this luxury.
The crowds are often call riots, individuals are all deemed thugs, criminals, looters, and gang members. Black protests, Black Lives Matter movements mostly, are discredited and shunned by the media. They are misinterpreted as malicious instead of a plea for change and amelioration to a society, government, and even a nation that doesn’t treat you as a human being, where you could be shot down any day, any time by someone who is supposed to protect you. This has to be stopped, something has to be changed and it starts with fair representation of Black culture and not a constant shaming and blaming of black culture on criminal and malicious acts.
Blacks are not the only race or ethnicity that is misrepresented in media. This problem extends to cultures that are not apart of the hegemony.
Just recently a great deal of xenophobia has plagued the United States because of the terrorist attack on Paris. The US is limiting the amount of Syrian refugees that can enter the US, as if they were letting a good amount in before. Attacks like these and extremist groups like ISIS are put upon the identity of all Muslims and that is just not the case. For more on this you can view the video: Reza Aslan Slams Bill Maher for Facile Arguments’ About Muslim Violence. Aslan does not only defend the Muslim religion but all other religions and people who experience discrimination because of a generalized idea of who they are. Whites commit mass murder attacks, hate crimes such as burning down churches, and form extremist groups based on religion such as the KKK but society does not attribute these identities to them; Whites have the privilege of individual representation. They can be their own person and do not have to carry that burden of representation of all of their ancestors and their race.
This is a pandemic and it needs to be corrected. This destroys the psyche of children, breeds discrimination and racism, and separates races even further by the growing tensions on both sides of the spectrum. The only way to truly correct this is to use objective media production. Opinions, background stories, and assumptions do not need to be included in reports. If this information was to be included then there should be a common ground for all reports no matter what race, culture, religion, or ethnicity is being reported. The problem with making this change is that a huge portion of media and news is controlled immensely by one demographic who have a certain skin color, a certain age, and a certain gender….
However, it is not impossible. One day this burden will be taken off the cultures who suffer from this identity devastation.