why the media refuses to give black men a 'chance'

why the media refuses to give black men a 'chance'

it’s no secret but i’ll say it anyway. defamation of character and the criminalization of Black men by the media is a real thing. seldom do i come across depictions of men that look like me that aren’t one dimensional representations that show us as money loving, womanizing gangsters who make babies and don’t raise them. and to be honest, i’m low key …nah scratch that… i’m high key tired of those images being reinforced in the media time and time again because they constantly influence mass opinion about men of color. and it doesn’t matter who you are either. whether you’re willie horton, whose mugshot was used to sway public opinion during a 1989 presidential campaign, lebron james, who was pictured on the cover of vogue looking like a black brute (a hideous, terrifying predator), oscar wilde, michael brown, trayvon martin, eric garner, or philando castile, all of whom were killed by the police as a result of public opinion regarding black men; i mean the list really goes on and on. and unsurprisingly enough, not even chance the rapper is exempt from the lingering effects of the link between negative media representations and the black male.

march 6, 2017 - headlines across various news outlets read ‘chance the rapper donates $1 million to chicago public schools’.

march 8, 2017 - headlines across various news outlets read ‘child-support spat could hurt chance the rapper’s image’.

here's my main issue (among many). the headline of the second article is completely misleading and it's a blow to the (black) man's reputation. here’s why: a ‘spat’ (which is the word of choice for the headline) is defined as a ‘petty quarrel’. so, basically this headline is saying “ya’ll think chance is different cause he gave a couple dollars to chicago public schools; but he’s just like these other niggas. he’s out here in a petty fight with his baby mama and that’s going to negatively impact his image.” but if you read the article, it later says that“court filings show that he has been supporting his daughter financially, but a long term child support agreement hasn’t been reached.” #ThatsNotWhatTheHeadlineSuggestsTho

then to top it all off, this particular article (which has been picked up by other news outlets already) closes with a sentence that attacks the man’s character even more. “after all, you can’t hand out money to benefit children you don’t know and come off looking like you are being stingy when it comes to your own child.” are we serious? this was so media-like: take something good about the black man and reshape it to align with the one-dimensional stereotypes already in place.

ironically, when you read the article in it's entirety (which most people won't after their unconscious bias has already been fed by the headline), you see that chance is actually taking care of his daughter and he’s doing everything he can to make sure his daughter and ex-girlfriend can live a life comparable to what they would’ve lived had the two 'stayed' together (even though we don't even really know if they are in fact broken up. you know how that can go). and if we were gonna take the article as fact (which i'm already weary of), his ex girlfriend is the one who may or may not have a job and is low key looking for a way to live off of his money even though they "aren’t together". i mean to be honest, i wouldn’t be giving shorty any money for her own residence either until we had a detailed plan in place. what i look like? a goofy? but this isn't even about child support being paid or relationships being worked out. this is about the news outlets who constantly use the media to taint the image of the black man time after time. 

all things considered, this story is just another reason i have issues with news outlets; they reinforce stereotypes all the time and it's a problem because for some folks, they don't actually know black men so for them, all they have to go off of is the unreliable, high impression seeking, media outlets. i'm convinced that it's people's intent to keep the image of the black man negative in the media in order to validate the complete disregard for black lives and to systematically attack the legacy of the black family through the removal of the black man by death or by imprisonment.

if nothing else, i just want them (media outlets) to grasp this concept: a bullet isn’t the only way to kill the black man. how about you stop killing the black man’s image with your words. thanks. 

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