Effects of the Media
Effects of the Media
“African-American missing children amounted to a shockingly low 7% of media
references, they accounted for 35% of the National Crime Information Center’s cases.”*
From the start media and people of color have never gone hand in hand. When it comes to the missing people epidemic that riddles the US, the implicit bias of American pop culture continues to put a spotlight on white Americans, more specifically white women. In a 2010 study done by Seong-Jae Min and John C. Feaster, they found racial bias proceeds to disproportionately represent white women more because they can produce more revenue. From their research they concluded that black people “were significantly underrepresented when compared to national statistics…the frequent reporting of black perpetrators may be a case of media reflecting dominant groups’ views through delegitimizing blacks by portraying them as criminals..”The media shows Black people as criminals when we only make up 28.3% of federal arrest. The news is only a crutch for the implicit biases that Americans have against minorities. It aids people to see us as criminals and threats, regardless of our age. It aids people to see us as less than. It makes it so that when children who look like me don’t make it onto the news.
“TV: y(minutes of media coverage)= Family Income x Abductee Cuteness ÷ Skin Color) +Length of Abduction x Media Savvy of Grieving Parents”
But skin color isn’t the only thing that blocks missing black and brown children from being put on the news.The amount of money that your family has or how your family comes across influences the amount of police action taken. The 2010 study by Min and Feaster also showed that police would look into cases that have donations or connections. If there were promotions around the case whether that be social media or television, the police will be more probable. It’s also shown that if we focused on minorities missing victims and we’d see a decline in the amount of people of color being targeted.
Which leads to one of the main media terms that have been recently created, Missing White Woman Syndrome. As published in Will and Mary Journal of race, “Missing White Woman Syndrome also refers to the media’s tunnel-vision-like focus on “young, white, attractive . . . rich females.” Some have characterized the phenomenon as “round-the-clock coverage of disappeared young females who qualify as ‘damsels in distress’ by race, class, and other relevant social variables.” This is a real problem with a name on it. We must defuse this bias and help all that are in need of it. Put out the names of those young kids of color along with those that are white. We must defuse the implicit bias and continue to educate others on the media misrepresentation.