Protected: racial profiling in the media

We need to stop with the racial stereotypes in the media


Although deeper subject matters are difficult to talk about, it is important to bring attention to these topics to encourage growth within our society.

One of the issues that I could never wrap my head around is the way media chooses to represent race.

In a communication class I am taking, we discussed a term called “Mean World Syndrome,” devised by the communication professor George Gerbner.

According to Gerbner and Mean World Syndrome, people’s perception of information is more extreme than reality. An example of this would be even though the crime rate has decreased, Americans believe it has increased. This might be in part because of seeing it in media more often.

Thinking from this perspective may hinder a person’s ability to fully enjoy their lives. On the other hand, it can allow us to be aware and possibly take safety precautions.

This method of perception is primarily negative because our assumptions tend to prevent our learning and growth by our warped reality. The way Mean World Syndrome applies to race through the media is through the way reporters and journalists present race or religion on the news.

Notice the number of times a black or Muslim person commits a crime they are labeled as violent or terrorists, but a white person committing a similar crime usually requires further investigation.

The outcome of crimes from people of color makes people of minority groups feel the need to explain themselves, as if being of the same ethnic background or religious affiliation as the criminal means that all people from the same background are violent.

It seems to only be related to the individual when a white person has committed a crime though. “Is it mental health related? and “Are the games and television shows or movies too violent for the public?” seem to be common questions asked.

Another example would be the over or underrepresentation of black people as criminals versus officers. According to Travis L. Dixon, who is an African American studies scholar and communication professor, black people are represented six times more often as criminals than officers on local news programs. White people are more likely to be presented as officers (69%) than the actual employment statistic (59%).

In comparison to black people, white people are twice as likely to appear as victims (43%) than in actual crime reports (13%). Why is it that there are these preconceived notions when it comes to minorities? Why are all people not held to the same standard? Why do certain groups get a racial pass, even when committing the same exact crime? Why is it viewed as if a white person’s life is ruined, even though they were responsible for committing the actions that they did?

Unfortunately, this applies to positive actions too. There are many examples of black men helping the community, yet having their criminal records from the past irrelevantly brought up. The takeaway from this article is to think a little deeper and try to understand other perspectives.

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