I must say, after reading the article, I had a lot of thoughts about many issues, but wanted to address the largest issue that I saw in the article, which really has nothing to do with race, but instead culture, and the way this country operates: Capitalism.
I’ll start by saying that I probably fit your white aunt’s profile. I am from Charleston, and was one of the “white” people joining the unity bridge in Charleston for the victims, and also one of the white people at the vigils for the disgusting terrorist act that you described above. I generally have compassion for anyone going through difficult times, and try to relate, but as mentioned, there are certain aspects of “cultures”, not “race - there is a distinct difference — that I will never be able to fully relate to or understand.
But I did want to correct you. You described an issue of culture, not race. It is easy to throw the word “race” around today because it elicits emotions from people, and is certainly a hot topic. For instance, there are many cultures within the Caucasian race. There are many cultures within the African American race. There are many cultures within the Asian race, etc.
Implying that these issues are simply black and white is ignorant. For instance, implying that all white people fit the same cultural mode is crazy, and a complete lack of understanding of white culture. It’s just as bad as lumping all black people together when you see violent act from an African American. There are distinct cultures within each race of people. It is certainly the case with African American’s as well. It is not some united front that you are innately born with because your skin tone happened to be black. Culture is learned, not innate.
The issue I wanted to discuss was the media, and specifically this bias that they skew towards white people. Can we discuss the real reason why the media is skewed toward a white world?
Let’s first acknowledge the inaccuracy in that statement. We are discussing “cultures” and “socio-economic segments”, not “race”. Let’s get specific. The media is skewed to the middle class — upper middle class. IE your white picket fence, $100,000 house hold annual income, 2.5 kids, and a dog, which in our society, happens to be predominately white. However this is one culture within many races that happens to be predominately white.
But look what cultures within white society are ignored and not targeted. Your average country “redneck”, the extremeley poor, the uber wealthy. Everything is geared and displayed through the eyes and culture of the middle to upper middle class, which happens to predominately white. If you paid attention to the depiction of white people outside the target demographic, you would have noticed that an extremely wealthy white man is almost always depicted as snotty, slightly racist, self-centered, somewhat wimpy in physical stature, but powerful due to money. Now look at the extremely poor white person. They are depicted as panhandlers, meth addicts, bums on street corners, etc. When was the last time you saw a white person that was in the extremely poor demographic portrayed to have 3 jobs, hard working, and a positive person in society? It doesn’t happen.
So let’s get that straight. There have been cultural depictions about white people in mainstream media that are just as off base. You use the example of the black person doing drugs being labeled the criminal or thug. How about the countless depictions of the white meth head missing teeth in the alley? When was the last time you saw a black meth head in a television show or commercial? Do you assume that only white people do meth?
So if the point isn’t driven home yet that the media speaks to certain cultures, and alienates other cultures, let’s move forward and discuss just race. That is what this article wants to discuss.
Here are the demographics in the US as of 2010:
African American 12.2%
Let’s talk Capitalism.
I have already shown how the media is broadcasting from the cultural viewpoint of the largest target socio-economic demographic, which includes other races as well, but is still predominately white. Let’s instead now focus just on race. I have seen this argument many times before, and always wondered how this wasn’t obvious to anyone that is a minority complaining about air time and cultural representations.
Television shows and movies are a business venture. They are created to make money. They are paid with advertisements. And advertisers spend millions of dollars trying to figure out how to reach their largest demographic so that they see a return on investment.
So when discussing media portrayal of anything, how can you not see that it has nothing to do with “racism”, but is in fact geared at a culture of people that are spending the money and most representative of the whole?
12.2%. That is roughly 1 out of every 10 Americans. That means roughly 9 out of every 10 shows are not geared toward African Americans. Thus the created feeling that 9 out of every 10 shows really don’t pertain to an African American interest. That means 9 out of every 10 shows are geared toward other races.
Let’s look at the Hispanic population. 16.4%. That number is actually much larger based on the number of Hispanics living in this country that aren’t listed in the census for various reasons. I have seen numbers suggesting 25–30% of the total population, and rising every day. Where is their representation, if we are looking specifically at race, and percentage of shows shown through the eyes of their race and cutlure? They have FAR less representation than African Americans, and experience 10 times the racism and bias by the media. I remember a movie in the early 2000s where a white character was pretending to be a Hispanic gardener, whose name was “Taquito”. This happens all the time! No public outcry, no NAACP, no nothing.
So why is this a black and white issue? Hispanics in recent decades have been treated far worse with bias and racism than African American’s in the media, yet not a blip on TV about the racial issues in this country regarding a population segment that is growing triple that of the African American community. And where is the public outcry for the Hispanic from the African American who feels that this country is filled with a naturally racist society? Do Hispanic lives not matter? Or do only black lives matter? Why is this ALWAYS made a black and white issue?
The main issue that I see for the lack of coverage for a culture that represents much less than 12.2% of the population comes strictly down to numbers. This is a CAPITALIST country we live in. The media is going to target the most amount of eyeballs, without losing focus or channel flips from their largest target market. Therefore, white middle to upper-middle class culture will always be the vantage point of the media until the population demographics change, because they represent the target consumer. This segment is where the media profits. This segment pays the bills of the cable companies, and the movies, and the news. At the end of the day, it’s supply and demand. Not racism. Supply and demand. And it will be always skewed to that culture that represents the majority of the advertising dollars that are brought in.
Said another way, the Gay / Lesbian community has been the target of bigotry for decades. However, you are seeing more commercials, more television programming, more advertising, etc to the GBLT community. Why is that? Because they have money. They are in the middle to upper middle class segment, and advertisers have figured out, that they are watching. So in turn, the media (tv shows, news, etc) reacts, and broadcasts more their point of view.
At the end of the day, what you appear to be voicing, comes from a position of SOCIALISM. You are advocating equal representation for the African American despite being a minority population percentage. You have done it from an ethnocentric viewpoint that your culture is more important than that of the Hispanic culture, or the Asian culture, because your view point was done from an African American level up, without acknowledging or caring about any of the peripherals. You ultimately are frustrated with the system, and dislike that everything centers around the largest cultural population in this country. But your issue isn’t race. It’s cultural. And the main thing that I have noticed frustrates many is that they want a country that speaks equally to every culture, despite population skews. I imagine this is more an argument for the haves vs have nots, than this really is about race. And let me tell you, there are more than one race that fit into the pocket of the haves, and there are more than one race that fit into the category of the have nots. Where the real racism occurs, is assuming that only one race experiences the downfalls of their culture not being represented. To assume that all white people are lumped together, or all black people are lumped together, in one tight nit culture that all thinks alike because of the color of their skin.
I think at the end of the day, you should have likely titled this article “I, SOCIALIST”. I just think the overwhelming lack of support for that would have killed a much more provoking line of thought in making this an issue of strictly race. But at the end of the day, your frustration of the world we live in revolves around culture, the middle to upper middle class view point, and the struggle to achieve that level of success — which hits more races than just the African American community. Tell a poor white person growing up in Toledo OH that it’s easy for them to get out because of their skin tone and you will be laughed off the block. It’s hard for anyone, and the media certainly doesn’t speak to the have nots. That, I emphathize with.