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Since 1609, American culture has denigrated black men with their words and actions. We were demeaned to justify the stealing and monetizing of our bodies and incarceration. American colonists viewed us as animals that were only good for servitude. And, from its inception, the media played a significant role in perpetuating this mindset. Hollywood’s first blockbuster movie, “The Birth of a Nation,” illustrated free black men as violent rapists that had to be terrorized, controlled, and suppressed by the Klu Klux Klan. It was not just a small regional film for former southern slaveholders; it was seen as an exceptional production and celebrated by President Woodrow Wilson. He said it was: “like writing history with lightning. My only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” “The Birth of a Nation” was the origin of the media. A tool to propagate explicit and implicit bias against black men.
The media degradation of blank men is widespread. The Perception Institute explained that the media systematically links black men to criminality and poverty. (perception.org). In a ThoughtCo article, Nadra Kareem Nittle discusses black actors playing drug dealers, pimps, con-artists, and other forms of criminals on television and films. Black men are predicted as submissive to whites, non-professional, buffoonish, uneducated, and at the bottom of the social-economic ladder. (Carter). Black actors are rarely cast for roles that emphasize intellectual prowess and good character. (Bogle). As husbands and parents, the media shows, black men, abandoning their children and families. Aamna Mohdin states that there is no data to support the idea that black men leave their families at higher rates than other men.
As a result of the media’s conditioning, explicit and implicit bias against black males has been perpetuated throughout the world. These biases play a major role in the criminalization, undereducation, and underemployment of black men. This must end! The undersigned demand that the media commit to the spread of positive images of black men.
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