Influence and Reinforcement
Unfortunately, we cannot fix the mindset of the people who insist on negative thinking. The only person you can change is yourself. Racism and prejudice have existed as long as people felt the need to put others down to lift themselves up. Everyone doesn’t do it for the same reasons but you have to make a conscious decision to do it. It’s your choice.
I think we can fix ourselves though. To do that you have to think of racism and prejudice as lower elements of the human psyche and sociology. It something done as a response to frustration, anger, and hate. It is practiced and rewarded to raise esteem. It is a scapegoat. It is a coping mechanism. It is socially acceptable in some settings. It is understandable, natural, “normal” but none of that makes it right. It is used to manipulate. It is used to control people. The media often is allowed to fuel it. (I saw it on TV it must be true)
Though the origins of such cultural beliefs are quite complex, we cannot ignore the media influence reinforcing such values. In the case of the shooting of Michael Brown, the coverage made by certain media channels represent very well the view of white elitists masses over the issues of race. Fox News, who is often involved in polemic racist and polarizing statement released during the first weeks of Wilson’s trial a report, made by an unnamed source, that Wilson had been brutally beaten and had a fractured eye socket. The report was also made by ABC, however CNN reported exactly the opposite, that results of X-Ray tests came back negative for such lesions.
During the protests, the channel made a strong emphasis on the series of looting events of the Ferguson’s Unrest and of course, strongly associating it to the protesters of the demonstrations against Brown’s killing.
The coverage performed by the channel ended up being about looting performed by African Americans instead of the series of several scenarios related to the protests. The channel was extremely criticized, journalists like Jon Stewart made rampant statements against their unethical coverage. The damage however was already done and the issue often happens again.
That was not the first time this station was acting demure on their beliefs. Their editorial views are such they already were responsible for comments like Bill O’Reilly’s statement that some Asian cultures are naturally lazy talking about the Hawaiians, or Megyn Kelly’s embarrassing affirmations that Santa Claus and God are white, in detriment to a black Santa Claus during the Christmas coverage in 2013.
Also, when the media tries to address racism it might not always end well, which is not a big surprise either. NBC was warned by Zimmerman’s lawyer in 2013 about their coverage of his case as a racist crime as they would be sued due to false affirmations. However, is important to mention NBC also slipped ethically exploiting the race issue when they did release the tapes of the 911 calls, since they edited tracks where Zimmerman is pictured in a way he is clearly and admittedly racist when he says Martin is a “black guy”, though he was only answering a question made by the police officer on the phone with him, which was juxtaposed to his sight description that Martins was wandering around.
Though the pun is not intended, surely the media coverage is not either black or white, but for sure old stereotypes and archaic values easily win the spot. On the other hand, there are always sane and ethical journalists to turn the spot back to the issue of race when it really is mandatory on coverages, however, the fight is still happening in the streets, everyday, with or without misleading or accurate coverage.
(to be continued)