Trayvon Martin’s Death and the Media Dialogue

The tragic death of Trayvon Martin is sparking a much-needed dialogue about racism and the plight of black men, and commentators are turning to recent reports by the Topos Partnership for the Opportunity Agenda to help make the point.  In the Huffington Post, Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal notes this new research finds “correlations between media depictions of Black males and lowered life chances”:

Specifically the reports suggest causal links between media portrayals of Black males and public attitudes directed towards them, including “general antagonisms,” “exaggerated views related to criminality and violence,” “lack of identification with or sympathy for black males,” and “public support for punitive approaches to problems” related to Black males — all dynamics that have played out in the corporate media coverage of Trayvon Martin’s murder.

We hope that more awareness of this continuing, troubling dynamic will lead to culture change.