A letter to the viewers of Fox News and other news stations alike:
Is the media a tool to promote and protect “whiteness” at the expense of black people in America? Unfortunately, it does and its effects are detrimental to the lives of black-Americans. A study conducted by civil rights organization ColorofChange.org claims, “if news stations are unfairly and inaccurately priming viewers to not expect stories about white crime, it only serves to harden the inaccurate thesis that viewers carry with them in their hearts and minds, in the form of their implicit bias- that black people are overly responsible for crime and should be treated with suspicion”. Mass media plays a key role in how white Americans understand black Americans. When one turns on their tv, reads the newspaper, or turns on the radio, they are are constantly bombarded with disproportionately negative images of blackness resulting, in the continuation of the cycle of oppression black people have experienced throughout the history of this country. Through the hyperfocus of “anti-social” behaviors within the black community such as, gang violence, crime, drug use, etc., rather than, positive aspects of blackness, it becomes a tool to reinforce black stereotypes and reifies their status as “second-class citizens”. It plays on the implicit and explicit biases of white Americans to foster greater ratings and this is problematic because it comes at the cost of black lives. As Kirsten West Savali, contributor to black news site The Root, puts it:
If institutionalized racism is the poison, then mainstream media is the hypodermic needle that pushes it deeply into the veins of society, rendering the humanity of black people invisible. And an increased awareness tells us that some media professionals don’t even realize they’re dealers. Relying on a well-worn template that frames black people as thugs and cultural malignancies by default is not news; it is propaganda that serves only to reaffirm for many Americans what they think they know about black people.
Now, I am not saying the media is completely to blame for the disproportionate policing or killing of black Americans. However, they are a part of the problem and must be held accountable for it. They must change the language they use when they are covering “black America”. Blacks are not “animals”, “thugs” , or “criminals”. However, if they insist on using such language, how about applying it to white people who commit the same crimes? It is about time for fairness in the media representation of race because, without it, the country cannot move forward toward a more racially harmonious society.