Describe ONE specific example of a portrayal of "Racial bias" in the media (must be related to crime), and describe how this affects people's views?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Racial bias is prevalent in the media in many ways, not the least of which is the lack of people of color in any of the network news television anchor jobs - ever - and in most of the cable news shows as well.  Minorities, particularly Latinos and Asians, are very underrepresented on television outside of entertainment shows.

But perhaps a more glaring example of racial bias related to crime is the way in which crime is reported, both on television and in the newspapers.  When giving the description of a suspect, many news programs will say something like "A 25 - 30 year old male" when describing a white person.  That is, white is the default race and many times isn't mentioned, yet when the suspect is a minority, it becomes the defining characteristic.  "A 25 - 30 year old Hispanic male".

As for a specific example, take the 1992 riots in Los Angeles that followed the verdict in the Rodney King case.  Despite the fact that most of those arrested during the riots were whites or Latinos, the media portrayed the riots as stemming directly from race issues, and not the underlying poverty, social and physical decay in the inner cities, and problems within the LA police department with regards to fairly and effectively patrolling those inner cities.  In the media, we were led to believe black residents of LA were rioting all by themselves.

The link below is to a good article arguing that point.

This affects others' views by reinforcing negative stereotypes of race, especially in regards to Black America and Latino America, and strengthens the common, unspoken myth that people should fear black males.