This semester I’m taking a class titled “Women and Minorities in the Media” and it has been very enlightening.
I’m currently studying how African Americans have been portrayed in the media throughout history. The findings have been thought-provoking.
Black men are typically represented in the news in a negative manner. Personally, when I read a positive story on a black man I get shocked and surprised, but if it’s negative it’s more normal and I accept it easier. It’s like I’m expecting a negative story.
We would all be surprised at how much the media shapes our thinking. If we continuously see certain reports on a certain group of people, we’ll begin to believe that everyone in that group behaves the same way. Why wouldn’t we? If that’s all we see, we’ll begin to base our beliefs on it. We do this subconsciously.
What we continually see begins to become our reality, whether it is real or not. That’s why it’s critical that the news presents a more balanced view of reality.
Today as I was pondering over this topic, I asked my 8 year old daughter- “When you see black men on the news, why are they normally showing them?” Her immediate reply was “Because they are going to jail.”
Studies support this. Research has shown that blacks are portrayed more negatively on television than whites. “A 1992 study found that African Americans tend to appear as criminals on television news more than other racial/ethnic groups, whereas Whites are shown as the victims”, according to a college textbook.
This is a problem. If black men are continually portrayed on television in a negative manner, how will this affect their job opportunities? Or their relationships? How can this affect their lives?
I’m not saying that black men are perfect; no one is. I’m not saying that black men need handouts; I believe we all need to work hard to progress in life.
What I am saying is that there needs to be more news reporting that focuses on covering black men in a positive light. So, I am excited to start a new category on this website titled: Positive Black Men.
I will devote time to cover black men that are accomplished, hard-working, and positive. We all need to be reminded that there are positive black men in the world.