By Jeff P.
The news coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement is one that includes racialization that can have a widespread effect with multiple different outcomes. The majority of these outcomes, if not done properly, will lead to one issue, and this issue is considering the social implication that associates African Americans with the criminality that will affect their quality of life. Being that we now live in a digital world, it is vital that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter portray this movement with the respect and honor they deserve.
The media has greatly influenced how I feel about the topic of race and the Black Lives Matter movement in many different ways. When I hear about Black Lives Matter in the media, whether it be news coverage or social sites, I immediately think of an intelligent group of individuals using many different media platforms to get their point across in ways that will influence societies way of thinking for the better. In the past, I believe that the media portrayed the idea of African American protestors and movements as violent groups and this stigma has carried on from past events in history that makes it easy for the media to resort to this type of coverage. The Black Lives Matter movement has been smart in being able to portray themselves as anything but violent in the media and using social media platforms to effectively get their point across, without allowing media coverage, such as the news, to portray them in a negative light. In an article written in USA Today, author Caroline Simon stated, “the Black Lives Matter movement is a quintessential example of a movement that's found successful amplification through social media.” This movement has utilized social media in the best way they possibly can, according to a newly released Pew Study, getting the public to use the “#BlackLivesMatter” hashtag 30 million times on Twitter alone, with an average of 17,003 times per day. These actions are what have gotten the movement to be portrayed in the media in a more positive light.
This type of media portrayal has shaped our opinions of the Black Lives Matter movement in ways that have shifted societies perceptions of African American movements, from being violent to peaceful. This shifted perception not only benefits the movement but benefits the African American community as well. In a study posted on the Washington Post, by Tracy Jan, it was stated that, “Blacks represent 37 percent of criminals shown in the news, but constitute 26 percent of those arrested on criminal charges, while whites as criminals 28 percent of the time, when FBI crime reports show they make up 77 percent of crime suspects.” In the media, the African American community is being perceived as violent criminals, while the Black Lives Matter Movement has worked, as a group, to make sure that this perception is diminished.
The Black Lives Matter movement is important enough to be discussed in the media because it is a movement that is taking a stance against police brutality and racism towards the African American community and all other minorities. The media must continue to show this movement, and portray them in a positive spotlight to head in the right direction to end racism amongst all races. It was stated by the Black Lives Matter movement, “We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.” The movement works with all media platforms to “build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” The more that this movement is discussed in the media, the more attention they will gain from all people including those with the power to help end violence, stereotypes, and racism.
As a society, we should care about this issue because, since the death of Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman trial, there have been countless instances in which black people have been killed due to stereotypes and racist allegations, most at the hands of law enforcement. This movement is important in saving the lives of minorities who are not given a fair chance, and this starts through the positive portrayals through the media. The Black Lives Matter movement has become one of the most influential moments of today's society, as well as becoming a key aspect with making the larger conversation about race one of importance and clarity.
Dugger, Percell. “Why #BlackLivesMatter Should Matter To You.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/percell-dugger/why-alllivesmatter-is-dis_b_10872054.html.
Jan, Tracy. “News Media Offers Consistently Warped Portrayals of Black Families, Study Finds.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Dec. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/13/news-media-offers-consistently-warped-portrayals-of-black-families-study-finds/?utm_term=.224c3a1b1c10.
“Recent Projects.” Black Lives Matter, art.blacklivesmatter.com/.
Simon, Caroline. “How Social Media Has Shaped Black Lives Matter, Five Years Later.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 15 July 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/07/12/black-lives-matter-movement-and-social-media-after-five-years/778779002/.