Media Mocks Communities Where Crimes Go Unpunished and Natural Disasters Devastate
An interesting analysis of media coverage of marginalized communities in the United States appeared on Slate today. It’s hard to deny that the way some people speak to the press is amusing. But at the same time, this article shows how media organizations often interview amusing people only from low-income communities of color just for entertainment purposes, leaving the serious commentary for the mostly white “experts.” However, this type of media coverage of such events actually reveals s0mething more: how crimes and natural disasters are often handled (or not) in poor communities, as well as a tendency by media organizations to use interviewees as sound bites to fuel media attention using racial stereotypes and mockery without talking about the real issues behind these events.
In the most recent case of Amanda Berry’s rescuer, Charles Ramsey, the auto-tuned clips of his funny comments mask the reality of neglect and police inaction in certain communities in the U.S. in responding to reports of crimes or natural disasters. The Charles Ramsey internet memes feed off cheap racial profiling. They serve to distract from facts that are neither mentioned nor discussed in the mass media:
) The emergency response network at first didn’t believe him and didn’t want to respond to the call until Amanda Berry herself also called from his home phone
2) Police didn’t respond to other neighbors reporting having seen the girls being abused. One woman waited 2 hours until the police came and by that time, the incident had already happened. The girls were missing for over ten years. It seems strange that with police reports and sightings from neighbors, and with the perpetrator’s past domestic abuse record, the police never investigated the house before.
For another look at and an in-depth report on this, see: