Media Criminalizing People of Color

The Media's Impact on Marginalized Communities

While the media is not the cause of racial injustice and police brutality, the media does not help to continue to spread false narratives of People of Color which ultimately harms them in the Criminal Justice System.

Produced and Edited by Alexandra Monteiro

The Media's Relationship with People of Color

By Alexandra Monteiro

While the media is not the cause of racial injustice and police brutality, there has been research done to examine the media's role in contributing to our country’s unrest and true colors of the United States’ racial injustice. Research at St. Cathering University allows us to realize that racial and ethnic images presented by the media have been discussed as one cause of stereotyping and discrimination.

One of the root causes is the news media and their hiring of very few Black journalists and editors to produce news content from a more balanced perspective. With few POC (People of color) a part of media management controlling projects, there is a lack of POCs creating the media that is shown. This situation creates a gap and encourages racial portrayal disparities in the media. This also opens the possibility of over-emphasizing negativity, however, it does not accurately represent the reality of those who live in these communities. Another root cause is the constant portrayal of the Black community as “criminals.” There is a clear causal story that links media representations of Black men and boys to real-world outcomes. For various reasons, media of all types collectively offer a distorted representation of the lives and reality of black males. In turn, media consumption negatively affects the public’s understanding and attitudes related to Black males (sometimes including the understandings and attitudes of Black males themselves). These distorted understandings and attitudes towards Black males often lead to negative real-world consequences for them. 

According to VICE, underrepresentation in the media has done more harm than good. Minority groups are not able to share their stories and experiences which only helps to reinforce stereotypes. With constant stories of “urban riots” and “Black-on-Black crime” there is a negative connotation within the Black community which causes negative stereotypes that feed into the main cause of racism can impact how the criminal justice system fails to serve the Black community. These reports ignite the causes and consequences of civil disorders and the underlying problems of race relations. 

One group that is looking to solve this issue in order to change the system and fix the portrayal of Black individuals in the media is the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

The purpose of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists is to advance the interests of Blacks in journalism and to serve as role models and mentors for students interested in reporting careers. The program also works to strengthen the relationship between Black individuals in all aspects of the media. Cherri Gregg, the community affairs reporter of KYW Newsradio and former president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, is working to change how the media in a sense causes racism by its choice of news coverage. Gregg addresses social justice-related issues and reports on public affairs. She is looking to have more Black representation within the newsroom to end these separations between the media and the communities it has impacted

Community programs such as the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists assist Black journalists in enhancing the media skills as well as assisting the community with understanding how the media works. Community programs and community support are essential for closing the gap between the Black community and journalism. In order to break these negative stereotypes that are extremely harmful, educating and alerting those in the area can be vital for acknowledging the problem of race within the media.

The News Industry
The Role of the Media Coveying Stereotypes

The media has played a part in conveying harmful stereotypes and images of People of Color, especially in the Criminal Justice System. News anchors, reporters, and citizens of the community have discussed why this happens and what newsrooms can do to fix the issue.

Produced and Edited by Alexandra Monteiro

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