Thursday, September 8, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

CNN ran this opinion piece this week. On the surface, we should celebrate its premise. Black kids aren't living up to the messages the media is sending them and are also looking down on the shows/music that isn't representing them well.

But I have a problem with it. The author didn't write with cruel intentions, yet I have to ask why this article is worth writing on a major news site with nothing to prompt it besides a study. To be honest, I wouldn't have even written this as a news story because I figure people wouldn't even care outside of the Black community or sociologists who would use this data appropriately. I question the author 1st for even thinking this was writing about,

I'm also disturbed because from reading this, it's almost supposed to be shocking that Black kids - wait for it - don't want to be like the rappers they see, don't act like the Basketball "Wives" and have baby mama drama. The first paragraph says it all.

"If you got your ideas about young black people just from the entertainment industry, you'd think they were all players and baby mamas -- and you'd be sorely mistaken."

My reaction via Jason Terry (shouts to @jose3030 for the GIF)
That, of course, assumes that's audience has preconceived ideas about what Black people are like based on the media and is stupid enough to assume that all of us are like that. It reminds of me of someone I learned about in my Communications classes.

George Gerbner said that the more people watch TV, the more it shapes how they see the outside world. The fact that this article is being run as an opinion is disturbing because it implies that it needs to be on a major news site instead of dissected on alternative one. It assumes that it needs to be run because the audience can't tell the difference.

It's really just another byproduct of the era where there's little diversity of how minorities look on TV and through the media and CNN has to allow this article as if it's a surprise that some of us are different than how we appear.

(Really? We aren't all thugs with baby mammas? Some of us are actually educated with goals? We aren't fooled by what music videos tell us to do? Oh, glory be. Somebody alert America to the truth so we can be free! *plays Praise Break music and dances a jig*)

I don't mind folks praising kids for defying stereotypes. I was a kid who did it all the time, as did several of my peers. But it's the undertones of it becoming a national story that bothers me. Then again, this is the same country that has made "The Help" gross over $125 million and remain the No. 1 movie for 3 straight weeks.


  1. It's all by design. Put certain images in front of us, do "studies" on the homo negro/negressa...

    All poppycock.

  2. Can't say it any better. We're still case studies in unusual behavior to the mainstream.

  3. Well put! Especially this: "That, of course, assumes that's audience has preconceived ideas about what Black people are like"

    Cultural Studies theorist Stuart Hall talks about "guarantees" built into how difference is constructed. And it works both ways - through negative stereotypes as well as through "progressive" articulations of difference. Here' by CNN reporting on this study, they end up reproducing stereotypes about Black folks by saying, "see - they're not really hoods." I agree that its alarming the story ran, and how the study was conducted...