Read between the lines when consuming media


Media conquers our lives. It absorbs into our subconscious thought and affects our day-to-day activity and social interactions. In the first seconds of our day, we reach over hit off our alarm clock and start to scroll through our phones and search through the media we missed. 

The problem with this is that what you are seeing is a misrepresentation of minority groups. 

When riots or protests occur around the U.S., media coverage has two different ways of reporting them. Black protesters are labeled as the bad guys, wild animals, criminals or thugs. White rioters are claimed to be young adults dancing and getting a little out of control. 

Sixty percent of news stories were crime-related, according to Trina T. Creighton’s study in Omaha, Nebraska. Black males were the focus of 69 percent of those stories. Yet, the majority of people arrested in Omaha and the U.S. are white.

The difference affects more than just the majority’s ideas of minorities. Research shows that when black boys continually see themselves in the media as lawbreakers it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that this young boy is meant to be a criminal. 

Muslims are commonly labeled as others, violent or radicals. A study by Saifuddin Ahmed found most media stories about Muslims focus on migration, terrorism and war. As a result, Islam is known as a violent religion. 

Fox News reported on Muslim migrants relocating to Europe. The opening tagline was, “New video surfaces online showing why some are worried Europe is opening its door to potential terrorists.” The video played showing Muslims chanting, “Our God is great,” as words across the bottom of the screen read, “Terrorists inbound?” and “Terrifying chant.” 

There is more at stake here than just the misrepresentation of minority groups. This affects the entire state of how institutions are organized, how the world looks at each other and how we look at ourselves. Institutional racism effects who is elected for office, school systems, economic standings and more. It instills inequality over minority groups that lead them to have a higher likelihood to partake in criminal activities. This leads the media to report more news on the “bad guys.” 

I do not believe that the media is purposely stereotyping minority groups. The Top 6 media conglomerates are led by white males. The media is led by the majority and white culture is dominated by a hidden bias for their own race. 

Understanding how the media misrepresents minority groups is a fundamental part of our media literacy that must be taught in a school’s curriculum. 

Especially due to the fact that every day we wake up to read another horrifying incident all over the world from either natural disasters, mass shootings or racial discrimination, we need to remember the real truth behind what you are reading.

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