Looming debates regarding the underrepresentation

Nowlin 1
Erin Nowlin
Nancy Gong
Advance English
March 30 2021
The Way We Live
Over the past decades, there have been looming debates regarding the underrepresentation
of some individuals or groups by popular media outlets. In this case, the specific categories
believe that their grievances are not given priority. This media discrimination directly correlates
with the deeply rooted systematic racism that portrays some races as superior, whereas other
races are perceived as a minority. For an extended period, African Americans have suffered
under oppression due to the prejudice developed by the perceived superior races. It ranges from
denial of basic opportunities, human rights, and fundamental privileges as American citizens.
The opponents of racial discrimination argue that this practice is linked to adverse mental effects
like depression on the culprits (Alvarez-Galvez & Rojas-Garcia 435). For instance, individuals
exposed to racial discrimination reported an increase in negative thoughts, including suicidal
ideation. It implies that the perpetrators of these acts have no consideration of the victims’ mental
wellbeing (McNeil Smith et al. 779). Similarly, the media demonstrates the same trend whereby
the perceived minority, including the African Americans, are not fairly represented in the stories
or headlines of the national newspapers and channels. As a result, opponents of equal
representation of all races in the media argue that it promotes negative stereotypes against
specific groups. On the contrary, the proponents suggest that increased coverage of the
marginalized groups and races will boost their social status as well as capture their needs creating
attention for the federal and state governments. Even though media representation of African
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American males promotes the perception that they are physically superior, it spreads negative
attitudes among the general public regarding criminality, poverty, and violence.
Remarkably, the media spreads numerous reports involving black men in criminal
activities, which negatively portrays them in the general public. The effect of racism has an
adverse effect on how the African American offenders are treated compared to the whites. In this
case, there is a higher probability that black men will be suspected and arrested for similar
crimes than whites are never suspected. It portrays the bias within the police department whereby
more African American men are stopped for frisking to determine possession of drugs and illegal
firearms. According to Butler (2017), “if police patrolled white areas as they do poor black
neighborhoods, there would be a revolution” (par.1). As a result, the reports in the mainstream
media portray these men as the prime threat to national security since they are found in numerous
crimes ranging from drug trafficking to murder cases. On the contrary, the cases involving whites
with similar cases are not brought to the limelight. This negative media representation spreads
hatred and division among the perceived minority and superior races. The resultant legislation is
designed to tame the black men involved in similar crimes as the media portrays them as a threat
to national security. Similarly, the Criminal Justice System is likely to be affected by these
negative stereotypes that subsequently affect impartial judgments. As a result, African American
men are prone to more punitive decisions associated with their cases since the judges perceive
them as intentional perpetrators of crime.
Besides, the overrepresentation of African American men impoverished has a negative
social impact since the other races perceive them as low-class citizens. In this case, the media
reports more stories regarding black men struggling with poverty compared to the whites
(Kumah-Abiwu 4). This reporting is distorted since they paint a picture of higher dependency
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and dysfunction. Conversely, the media portrays their counterpart white men as socially and
economically stable, which adversely affects the social status of African American men.
Research holds that the news outlets consistently report negatively about African American
families (Jan par. 2). The reporters claim the source of poverty within these families is the
fathers’ irresponsibility, which is often linked with drug addiction and crime. The dominant
attitudes spread within the population demeans the African American men as bad, not only bad
husbands but also bad fathers. Society believes a typical and exemplary father should
consistently provide for the needs of his family. However, the picture painted by the media
regarding the absence of African American fathers is proof that they destabilize their families,
thereby adversely affecting social and economic prosperity. The dominant portrayal of African
American men as idle, lazy, and poor is not the true state of poverty within the United States.
Hence, the media should reduce the dominant portrayal of African American men as poor to
avoid distorting their social and economic status within American society.
Moreover, African American men are overly represented by the media as perpetrators of
violence, which adversely affects the attitudes among the security agencies and the public. The
media’s consistent reports in the mainstream media regarding assault cases involving black men
create a perception that they are violent. On the other hand, the media falsely portrays whites as
more peaceful despite the numerous cases of assault and violence associated with them. This
linkage between African American men and violence creates a negative perception among the
law enforcers. In the recent past, two concurrent events involving the “Black Lives Matter”
(BLM) and the capital hall riots represent the perception of the two races regarding violence. On
the one hand, the African American men under the BLM movement with a justifiable cause were
met with the brutal police force (Chason and Schmidt par.1). As a result, some men were injured
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and arrested following their peaceful protests while fighting police brutality against the black
race following the brutal murder of George Floyd. The Trump administration did not want to
engage in diplomacy to resolve the grievances that spark outrage across the United States. A
similar incident involving Trump supporters stormed the Capita Hall while senators were
deciding the fate of his presidential outcome. The rioters molested the legislators and forcefully
evicted as well as destroyed the building under the watch of police officers. Donald Trump did
not condemn this event at first since he felt they did the right thing. Analysts juxtaposing these
two scenarios conclude that the race factor was the determinant for the different responses from
the police. Therefore, the mainstream media outlets should reduce the overrepresentation of
African American men while portraying them as violent.
However, some mainstream media outlets positively portray African American men as
physically superior. In this case, the dominant media news confirms that African American men
are the best sportspeople due to their physical strength. For instance, a substantial portion of
athletes participating in the short and long races are African American men. Furthermore, the
news portrays the National Basketball Association as dominated by African American men. In
this case, the achievements in athletics and NBA are credited to the black men. As a result,
society perceives these races as prominent in the respective fields. Research holds that no other
race produces better athletes compared to African Americans (Kawalya-Tendo 1). The media
reports regarding their role in athletics and basketball promote a positive perception of the
physicality as well contribution to sports. Nonetheless, this portrayal of the men as physically
strong demeans their intellectual capacity. It implies that the sporting activities are an alternative
to them since they do not have the high intellectual capacity to engage in innovative activities as
well as white-collar jobs. This attitude directly correlates to their academic performance
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(Kumah-Abiwu 4). Thoughts inclined to this angle may be disastrous to the African American
men when they seek formal employment due to doubts concerning their competency since they
are perceived as less intelligent. Thus, the media should moderate the portrayal of African
American men as physically superior since it creates negative attitudes among employers in the
formal sector.
Notably, the mainstream media outlets negatively portray them through overrepresentation
in poverty, crime, and violence reports. The consistent negative reports about black men’s
involvement in criminal activities affect the attitudes of law enforcers towards them. It leads to
more stringent measures of curbing crime against black men since whites are perceived as
law-abiding. The overrepresentation of African American men as impoverished has a negative
social impact since the other races perceive them as low-class citizens. The media outlets
negatively report African families portraying the fathers as failures and irrespective due to the
poverty levels. It creates negative stereotypes among the other races, who tend to believe that
black men are minorities. African American men are overly represented by the media as
perpetrators of violence, which adversely affects the attitudes among the security agencies and
the public. The riots by whites at the capital hall and the peaceful protests by BLM blacks
demonstrate the dominant stereotype that African Americans are more violent. However, some
mainstream media outlets positively portray African American men as physically superior.
Nonetheless, this portrayal of the men as physically strong demeans their intellectual capacity.
Therefore, the mainstream media outlets across the United States should moderate their
representation of African American men to avoid spreading negative stereotypes among the
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Works Cited
Alvarez-Galvez, Javier, and Antonio Rojas-Garcia. “Measuring the Impact of Multiple
Discrimination on Depression in Europe.” BMC Public Health, vol. 19, no. 1, 25 Apr.
2019, 10.1186/s12889-019-6714-4. Accessed 7 Jan. 2020.
Butler, Paul. “US Justice Is Built to Humiliate and Oppress Black Men. It Starts with the
Chokehold…” The Guardian, The Guardian, 11 Aug. 2017,
Chason, Rachel, and Samantha Schmidt. “The Freedom to Assemble, in Two Acts.”
Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2021,
Jan, Tracy. “News Media Offers Consistently Warped Portrayals of Black Families, Study
Finds.” The Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2017,
Kawalya-Tendo, Costantine. “Media Coverage and Portrayal of Black Male Athletes;
Effects on the Athletes and Society.”
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Kumah-Abiwu, Felix. “Media Gatekeeping and Portrayal of Black Men in America.” The
Journal of Men’s Studies, 14 May 2019, p. 106082651984642,
journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1060826519846429, 10.1177/1060826519846429.
McNeil Smith, Shardé, et al. “Racial Discrimination, Racism-Specific Support, and
Self-Reported Health among African American Couples.” Journal of Social and
Personal Relationships, vol. 37, no. 3, 3 Oct. 2019, pp. 779–799,

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