New Study Finds News Outlets Promote False, Negative Portrayals Of Black Families

This article is originally posted on by the Blavity Team. It explains what has been said for years, but a recent study has confirmed that most American media has depicted black people, black families especially, in a bad and stereotypical light.

There’s an excerpt:

The study’s researchers reviewed over 800 local and national news pieces published or aired between January 2015 and December 2016, sampling major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC as well as major print publications such as The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The study — conducted by  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Travis L. Dixon — found that national news outlets were more likely to show black families as broken and dysfunctional while white families were depicted as possessing social stability. 

These images are not only distorted, but contradict government data.

Dixon found that black families represented 59 percent of poor people portrayed in media, but actually only make up of 27 percent of Americans living in poverty. In contrast, white families only make up 17 percent of the poor representated in media, but make up 66 percent in reality. As far as criminal depictions go, black criminals represented 37 percent of the media’s criminals while only 26 percent of those arrested on criminal charges are black in real life. White criminals represented 28 percent the criminals portrayed in the media, but make up 77 percent of real life’s crime suspects.

The report argues that constant depictions of black people living in poor, welfare-dependent and broken homes due to absentee fathers has created a negative image of black families in general.

“This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems,” said Dixon.

If you want to read the entire article, click here.

PORT SULPHUR, LA – MAY 26: Shelly Phillips holds niece Kimmore Barthelemy in the FEMA Diamond travel trailer park May 26, 2008 in Port Sulphur, Louisiana. Phillips lost her home and job in Hurricane Katrina and is raising four children. FEMA federal trailer parks that house many Hurricane Katrina victims are set to close May 31, prompting fears that people will be forced into residences they can’t afford or will be left homeless. Most residents will receive a federal subsidy to move to apartments, but affordable rental housing is scarce in some areas like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Again, this observation has been an examined and discussed for years. TheGuardian writes about how negative media portrayals of black men have real world consequences.  The Huffington Post highlights racist stereotypes of black men in popular media.

The successes and accomplishments of black women have been eclipsed by many disparaging and disheartening images of black women in the media. It has prompt black women to combat these images as they too have to struggle in a world that listens to a racist and sexist media landscape as opposed to actually meeting and talking to real black women.

The funny thing is that whenever a black person reveals something so blatantly obvious, the racism in Western media being just one example, a study has to be done. Black folks are never listened to or believed when it comes to matters of racism and discrimination unless it goes along with whiteness and its many, many defenses. A study has to be conducted to see if we’re right if it’s not what a white person says.

Black people are always assumed that we’re wrong in the case of racism. I’ve seen white-laced attitudes that reject or destroy any and everything a black person says whether it’s actual data and evidence to personal experiences. Black people try their hardest to prove the unfair case against them, but to no avail. They refuse to listen and understand. Whiteness gives them the arrogance to think they know more about racism than the actual victims of racism, the ignorance to shield them from much-needed differing views and the cruelty to insult and guilt trip them all in an effort to avoid the reality that only black people know.

So, even though this study solidifies what was said all along and when it’s evidenced by constant, uninterrupted TV viewing, the problem will still be thrown out in favor of a half-baked explanation not rooted in facts or reality concocted by a someone who claims white people are victims of racism.