The distorted mages of black individuals have swayed the public into a crisis where mainly African Americans and minorities are the lowest on the social system. With research, acknowledgement, and unification, minorities can rise against any obstruction. Through the reality and history of television, the world has misconceptions about African Americans in society. The negative perception of being black that the media portrays held African Americans back with a stigma in the world. Being “black” has continuously been a struggle to fight for civil rights and the fundamental rights of humans.
Exploring these issues of minorities leads to racial bias in the media. The media has contributed to the negative plight of African Americans and minorities by belittling the intelligence, conduct and dignity of blacks through advertising, news and entertainment. Once the media recognizes itself with racial bias minorities, there will hopefully be a better understanding for the public’s ideology. It will bring awareness to the impact that the media has on the public’s ideology, assumptions and experiences.
This study will use descriptive analysis of literature and data collected to determine whether white suspects in the media are favored more as innocence compared to African Americans who are unjustly blamed. As well as understanding the perceptions gained from the media and how it could possibly portray minorities as criminal suspects in most experiences. Concluding that African Americans are underrepresented as victims compared to white suspects in the media. Therefore, perceptions in the media portray minorities as criminal suspects where they are associated with highly negative, emotion evoking images of minorities in the media.
Statement of the Problem
In Malcom X’s words, ‘It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal.’ Media is the public’s first source for information on local, domestic and international crime, but unfortunately in which the public gains a distorted view on criminal suspects, as told in Television. Subconsciously, harboring racial bias perceptions against minorities with negative attitudes. Results from priming investigations indicate that exposure to racial/ethnic stereotypes in the media can influence real-world racial evaluations. In terms of outcomes, such as misconceptions and stereotypes regarding racial/ethnic minorities (Johnson, Adams, Hall, & Ashburn, 1997).
Additionally, Racial bias implications in the media influence public ideology, assumptions and experiences. Analyses of television news consistently indicates that black males are overrepresented as perpetrators and underrepresented as victims (Dixon & Linz, Race and the misrepresentation of victimization on local television news, 2000). This research explores the impact of the media’s racial bias implications and considers whether it reinforces misconceptions and stereotypes regarding racial/ethnic minorities.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to explore the following issues:
- Whether media crime reports express implicit criticism towards African Americans and Hispanics.
- Whether perceptions in media crime reports portray African Americans and Hispanics as criminal suspects.
- Whether African Americans are unjustly blamed as perpetrators.
- Whether media crime reports depict only Whites as victims.
- Whether media crime reports influence racism in society.
Benefit of Study
The benefits of this study is to bring awareness to a powerful impact the media has on the public’s ideology, assumptions and experiences; in hopes to minimize the media’s racial misrepresentations in news reports reinforcing misconceptions and stereotypes regarding racial/ethnic minorities in society. The media’s racial implications in news reports can affect racial evaluations towards racial/ethnic minorities. This research can decrease society’s racial perceptions on racial/ethnic minorities and the media’s use of racial misrepresentations in news reports.
Television is the source of the most broadly shared images and messages in history. It is the mainstream of the common symbolic environment into which our children are born and in which we all live out our lives. Even though new forms of media seem to sprout up weekly, television’s mass ritual shows no signs of weakening, as its consequences are increasingly felt around the globe. (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, Signorielli, & Shanahan, 2002, p. 43)
Television is a centralized system of storytelling. Its drama, commercials, news, and other programs bring a relatively coherent system of images and messages into every home. That system cultivates from infancy the predispositions and preferences that used to be acquired from other sources and that are so important in research on other media. Transcending historic barriers of literacy and mobility, television has become the primary common source of socialization and everyday information (usually cloaked in the form of entertainment) of otherwise heterogeneous populations. We have now reached an unprecedented juncture at which television brings virtually everyone into a shared national culture. (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, Signorielli, & Shanahan, 2002, p. 44)
Television as a huge influencer in society and its depictions being an essential source for messages it brings to viewers. The authors explore the evolution of television and race becoming a primary source of socialization. Using methods of cultivation analysis to understand groups of viewers and their styles of life are with reference to the world of television. Cultivation analysis is a process among messages, audiences and contents. Using recurrent patterns of media content.
Throughout history the mass media, in various forms, have tended to support the power of the dominant group by presenting to the general public highly negative, emotion- evoking images of minority groups. (Luther, Ringer Lepre, & Clark, 2012, p. 322)
In very early films, such as Birth of a Nation from 1915 (which was originally called The Clansman) and the Tarzan series from 1932, African Americans were represented in films as ‘savage, ignorant, thieves, interlopers and potential rapists’ (Luther, Ringer Lepre, & Clark, 2012, p. 59)
Past media depictions were problematic in terms of influencing institutional racism as explained in the following excerpt: “The harmful depiction of Blacks was problematic because these films were successful and often provided a segregated society the only glimpse into Black life available to White Americans”. (Luther, Ringer Lepre, & Clark, 2012, p. 59)
Research provides the history of television being used to humiliate minorities and send racial bias messages as to though the White race was more preferred. African Americans struggled with problems of their beliefs, opinions and identities because of who controlled the television (predominately white) and choose images of Blacks to portray.
Research analyzing the effects of media exposure on racial/ethnic stereotypes on viewers reveal priming substructures. Media priming refers to the process of information gained by exposure to the media depictions. Views can encounter incentives in the media and gain perceptions on suspects. (Johnson, Adams, Hall, & Ashburn, 1997) Media investigations regarding minorities indicates that whites are more likely to view a black defendant as guilty, perceive a black perpetrator more than a white perpetrator. (Dixon & Maddox, 2005) Whites are prone to misidentifying seeing a black suspect even when none is depicted (Oliver, 2003) (Dixon & Linz, 2000b).
Consider that both white democrats and African Americans house members have virtually the same voting records on civil rights issues. Yet, African American incumbents are asked regularly to comment on civil rights issues. While white democrats are rarely asked to respond to such matters (schaffner & Gadson, 2004). Researchers find stereotypes integrated into perceptions in media. Investigations from (schaffner & Gadson, 2004) suggest that news programs are not able to cover political candidates of color in the way while political candidates are covered. The research was on news coverage on local politics with regards to race, with a conclusion of political candidates of color being covered in the news in ways that portrayed them to be of a similar type or personality.
Due to prejudiced perceptions of others in the media stereotyping occurs within the journalistic content which is reinforced to viewers.
(Busselle & Crandall, 2000) research revealed television news viewers were more likely to gain perceptions about race and the differences in socioeconomic success. Viewers who watched news programs more often than others perceive African American with a lack of motivation and not lack of job opportunities.
A study on Television news targets how selected stories have been criticized for how they portray minorities and broadcast news reports regarding minorities. Television news reports in Chicago seemed to depict racial bias and violent perpetrators.
Accused Black criminals were usually illustrated by glowering mug shots or by footage of them being led around in handcuffs, their arms held by uniformed White policemen. None of the accused violent White criminals, during the week, were shown in mug shots or in physical custody. (Entman, 1990, p. 337)
Entman’s research was conducted of one week of television news in a specific county to display white victimization. This study explains how news content is allotted to African American criminals in crime reports in comparison to the total allotted coverage, which forty-one percent of allotted reports covered crime stories between three local Chicago news programs depicted African American criminals.
As a result of Entman’s research Its important to recognize the results of bias news programs. Media portrayals of crime and the worlds responses to such portrayals play an important role in creating and sustaining the stereotypes of black men as criminal and dangerous (Oliver, 2003). Research concluded that African American men were misrepresented by all news programs analyzed in this specific study as violent criminals. ‘Analysis seem to suggest that genres that feature more ‘realistic’ representations (e.g., news, reality based police shows) are the most problematic type of programming in terms of racially biased portrayals, and particularly so in terms of bias of African-American men’ (Oliver, 2003, p. 5)
Alongside their overrepresentation as criminals in the news, Blacks also are unjustly blamed as perpetrators throughout news programming. (Dixon & Linz, 2000b)
Finding reveals crime reports with prejudicial information about suspects were more likely to associate with African American defendants. This study illustrates the overrepresentation of African American males in criminal reports developing a cognitive association between African Americans and criminal activity. Studies on media priming indicated exposure to these misrepresented characterizations can influence stereotype-based responses.
In order to conduct this study, the non-experimental method was used with Secondary sources from newspaper articles, media stories and journal articles. Research from mainly Journal articles were used to address if the public gain a distorted view on criminal suspects in news reports. Newspaper articles and Media stories from sources were used to determine if racial bias implications in the media influence our public ideology, assumptions and experiences.
Research from secondary data were interpreted to analyze the issues of media crime reports on minorities and how they affected society and/or individual perceptions. Sources like (Kulaszewicz K. E., 2015) examined information available to reader and viewers of news media and how the information impacts our beliefs, emotions and behavior towards another. The main purpose of her research was to explore how media contributes to racism in explicit ways. Examine whether or not the media reinforces racism in regard to African American males.
Using an inclusion criterion to narrow the scope of research and identify a small population and time frame, to determine if the articles used met the basic criteria. Findings of the study include examples and information related to racial micro-aggressions and impacts as it relates to media exposure. Recognizing identifier word patterns such as ‘black” and “white”. Concluding that “black” is used three times more in news reporting than “white”. With this being overly used in media reports it becomes a racial micro-aggression due to it conditioning the mind to associate the word with a negative connotation. Also African American males often being criminalized and overrepresented as violent in media reports. The date collected from (Kulaszewicz K. E., 2015) will be used to help support the statistical data collected in this study to determine hypothesis.
Media influencing racism in our society is imperative though it targets minorities and contributes to racism in explicit ways. Through research it’s found that society reacts to media output in various forms. With an extensive history of negative portrayals about African Americans in the media it is critical to understand that racism is perpetuated in the media. The beginning of the television era had a population of predominately white workers in advertising, news and entertainment outputs. Where individual’s perceptions and values reflected in content produced. Understanding the history behind advertising, new and entertainment and their patterns, influence and beliefs and how it impacts culture.
Brings awareness to the powerful impact the media has on publics ideology, assumptions and experiences. Results from the study conducted concludes that minorities are unjustly blamed as perpetrators compared to white suspects. Also, media express implicit criticism towards minorities, where mainly African Americans are targeted. (Kulaszewicz K. E., 2015) examined information available to reader and viewers of news media and how the information impacts our beliefs, emotions and behavior towards another. Recognizing identifier word patterns such as ‘black” and “white”. Concluding that “black” is used three times more in news reporting than “white”.
With this being overly used in media reports it becomes a racial micro-aggression due to it conditioning the mind to associate the word with a negative connotation. Supporting hypothesis 1,2, 4, and 5 with the conclusion that African Americans are unjustly blamed as perpetrators compared to white suspects in the media. Therefore, perceptions in the media leaves a stigma on minorities as criminal suspect where they are associated with highly negative, emotion evoking images of minorities. Which the media uses to express implicit criticism towards mainly African American males and minorities
Based on the analysis I would recommend for the public not to believe everything in the media. Take precaution on the knowledge gained from the media. Also by doing your own private research on whatever advertising, news or entertainment the media puts out. This will help with their experiences and perceptions on others and reveal the impact media has on others that do not use precaution when gaining knowledge from the media. Individuals will notice when precaution is taken and do their private research from the information sought.
Then interpret how others react to this information when only being exposed to the media output. It will help you understand how others perceive the information gained from the media. Eventually it would reveal whether or not the media information was used as an implicit criticism towards minorities. Therefore, I’d recommend after reading the study to educate the public on how they interpret and perceive the knowledge gained from media outputs. Educating the public will minimize how information gained from the media is perceived giving insight for the public to conduct their own research on information gained from television.
The conclusion drawn from the analysis will be that African Americans are unjustly blamed as perpetrators compared to white suspects in the media. Therefore, perceptions in the media leaves a stigma on minorities as criminal suspect where they are associated with highly negative, emotion evoking images of minorities. Which the media uses to express implicit criticism towards mainly African American males and minorities. First, the study may be constrained failing to include literature on racial prejudice, level of racial and gender identification and overall television news consumption. Although, (Kulaszewicz K. E., 2015) study include examples and information related to racial micro-aggressions and impacts as it relates to media exposure.
Recognizing identifier word patterns such as ‘black” and “white”. Concluding that “black” is used three times more in news reporting than “white”. Secondly, providing more criminal reports on minorities and interpret how they were put out into the media. Although most research indicates that overall news consumption may influence racial evaluations. Without the measurement of these evaluations this study hardly supported the experiences of criminal suspects. Lastly, the research expectations were not carried out as expected due to the lack of timing, sample size and methods of analysis. This type of research consumes adequate amount of time for gaining knowledge from research to help analyze your hypothesis. Also, it will need a fair proportion of Race to provide results on whether or not television impacts its viewer’s perceptions and experiences. The methods of analysis could also help determine and find more in depth results from research, which would allow a better understanding of how media affects the public’s ideology.
- Busselle, R., & Crandall, H. (2000). Television Viewing and Perceptions About Race Differences in Socioeconomic Success.
- Dixon, T. L., & Linz, D. (2000). Race and the misrepresentation of victimization on local television news. Communication Research, 547-573.
- Dixon, T. L., & Maddox, K. B. (2005). Skin tone, crime news, and social reality judgments: Priming the stereotype of the dark and dangerous black criminal. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
- Dixon, T., & Linz, D. (2000b). Race and Misrepresentation of victimization on loval television news. Communication Research.
- Entman, R. M. (1990). Modern Racism and the Images of Blacs in Local Television News. Critical Studies in Mass Communications, 337.
- Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., Signorielli, N., & Shanahan, J. (2002). Growing up with televison: Cultivation process. Media Effects:Advances of theory and research, 43.
- James Johnson, M. A. (1997). Race,Media, and Violence:Differential racial effects of exposure to violent news stories. basic and applied social psychology, 81-90.
- Johnson, J. D., Adams, M. S., Hall, W., & Ashburn, L. (1997). Race,Media,and Violence:Differential racial effects of exposure to violent news stories. Basic and Apllied Social Psychology , 81-90.
- Kulaszewicz, K. E. (2015). Racism and the media:A textual analysis. MSW clinical research paper.
- Luther, C. A., Ringer Lepre, C., & Clark, N. (2012). Diversity in U.S. Mass Media. Malden: Wiley – Blackwell.
- Oliver, M. B. (2003). African American Men as ‘Criminal and Dangerous’: Implications of Media portrayals Of Crime On The ‘Criminalization’ of African American Men. Journal of African American Studies, 4.
- schaffner, B. F., & Gadson, M. (2004). Reinforcing Stereotypes? Race and Local Television News Coverage of Congress. Social Science Quaterly, 608.