Media Exploitations Of Black People

Filed in Politics, Race by on May 8, 2013 23 Comments

For decades, way before the advent of social media, the running joke in the black community has been that news reporters always seem to seek out the one black person in a crowd who possesses the most negative stereotypes. If everyone on the street where there was a local fire is dressed for work and gives eloquent commentary, except that one neighbor with rollers in her hair and a penchant for yelling, guess who’s making the 5 o’clock news?

The anger that some black people feel when folks like these are given space on the national stage is typically complex. Yes, there’s some finger-wagging at media outlets for the promotion of what they consider to be yet another hyperbolic representation of the “type” of African-American that seems to dominate TV.

This type of exploitation is rooted in Americans stereotypes of blacks as lazy, criminal and someone to fear.  Think of the taxi drivers who avoid picking up black men at night for fear they’ll be robbed, as noted in this ABC News story. Black men are too often “the wrong color and the right suspects,” as the New York Times put it in a review of a documentary about five black teenagers falsely accused and convicted of raping a Central Park jogger.  The Washington Post has called for attention to the “vast, increasing segregation of young, African American men and boys from the promise of their country.

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