Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Racism in the Media and How Eminem Comes Out Smelling Like a Rose
by Joanna (JuJuBe)
On several occasions over the past week, I have had to sit and reflect on the media brainwashing that reinforces white supremacist ideology. Note the above photos, from the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The captions that accompany the pictures both reflect AND influence the way people perceive racial differences.
Note that the photo of the young Black man uses the term "looting", while the text printed next to the white couple reads "finding". They are doing the EXACT SAME THING... carrying bags of food that they liberated from the ruins of a drowning city. But, the Black man is criminalized, while the white couple is made to look "enterprising".
The difference in the way these two pictures are described is just one example of the programming that the media reinforces in order to perpetuate a system of white supremacy.
On to my second piece of evidence. Earlier this week, Eminem was interviewed by Anderson Cooper. He made the off the wall claim that he was treated more harshly by the media and the general public as a result of his race. His claim was that Black artists have said worse things than him in their lyrics without being called to the carpet. First of all, this is utter bullshit, because Black rappers are CONSTANTLY scrutinized and excoriated for their lyrical content.
Second of all, Eminem has benefited IMMENSELY from his skin color, much of his popularity is based on the fact that he is a white man in the rap game. Yet he has NEVER acknowleged the BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES his skin color has bestowed upon him. Rather, he chooses to play the victim in the new "white men are oppressed" game.
I guess Eminem was not paying any attention to the controversy involving tweets made by 50 Cent just a few days earlier. He made a comment about about oral sex which was (mis)interpreted by many members of the media and of the public as being anti-gay. Meanwhile, his comments did not make any allusions to homosexuality at all. The "homophobic" intent of the message was invented by a media bent on destroying the career of a successful Black man.
I can only assume that Eminem also chose to ignore the work of C. Delores Tucker, and other activists who attacked Black rap artists based on their lyrical content. After all, it more convenient for him to play the "poor little white boy" who just can't catch a break!
The final incident that proved the malicious intent of the media in reinforcing racist ideology came on an episode of Bones. Bones and her partner were sent to investigate a case of murder on the Jersey Shore, where they encountered a subset of the Italian-American population known as "guidos". Despite the fact that Italians are known to support criminal enterprises by elevating notorious Mafia members to celebrity status and have glorified murder and other crimes in numerous movies focused on "the Mob", the show chose to paint the ONLY BLACK MAN IN THE EPISODE as the murderer.
As soon as they introduced the Black character, who was a hardworking young man who delivered ice to various bars and clubs where the "guidos" were busy partying, I knew that they would portray him as the criminal element. It is a tried and true formula in crime and forensic dramas. Introduce a Black character and assign him the role of "criminal" preying on innocent white folks. It is standard operating procedure to cast Black men and women as violent felons, drug dealers/users or prostitutes. And when the media does show a Black man or woman who is "successful" by traditional (white) societal standards, they are almost always the only Black individual in a sea of white faces. Their friendships and romantic entanglements invariably involve white folks.
The media has becoming skilled at refining the racist programming that we receive. With the overwhelming amount of images portraying Black criminality and inferiority, is there question as to the agenda that is being supported and furthered? A public bombarded with negative images of Black people will adopt the white supremacist ideology without question.
It is no longer required that politicians and other public figures stand up and make blatantly racist statements. The media is doing its job of brainwashing the masses to believe in the inherent inferiority of Black men and women. White and Black individuals are encouraged by the media to support the degradation and destruction of the images of Black men and women. Traditional weapons are not required when the media is able to penetrate the minds of all people and shape their opinions, thoughts and actions.
Note: When I posted this in another forum, almost every comment was in defense of Eminem and how hard he had it as a white rapper trying to break into the business. When I tried to point out this article was about RACISM in the media, I was ignored and told I know nothing about rap music and should leave poor Eminem alone!