Black Male Athletes being stereotyped by the media. Or are they?
In my pursuit of finding an article that depicts stereotyping as reported by the media. I stumbled across a very interesting article written by a contributor of Science Daily (an online news source). About the research study conducted by Cynthia Frisby an associate professor of strategic communications; Journalism College at the University of Missouri.
She has uncovered that the media has portrayed African American athletes in an unfavorable light as compared to white athletes. Her findings have determined that the stories about African American athletes hone in on their criminal actions, whereas stories about white athletes are remarkably positive and do not focus on their criminal history.
First step in her study was to read one hundred and fifty five articles about male athletes in which she determined that 43% of them were written about the Caucasian athlete compared to only 39% were written about the African American athlete and over 70% focused on the violent criminal background of the black athlete as opposed to only 17% were reported about the white athlete. Also 53% of the articles about the black athlete had negative tones while only twenty seven percent of the articles about white male athletes were negative.
Cynthia Frisby was reported saying that “This study, while only a first step sets the stage for future research examining negative portrayals of black athletes in the media.” She continued by saying “This study provides quantitative evidence of disparities in how media cover and stereotype black male athletes. “This serves as an important exploratory study that sets the framework for extensive future investigations into the way media portray and cover athletes from different ethnic backgrounds.”
But in all honesty is this really considered stereotyping in every aspect of the word or could it be interpreted as truth in certain circles. That maybe there is a difference between the races and could be attributed to how black athletes and white athletes are portrayed.
Black athletes tend to be subjected to unfair advantages in child hood as in, be part of the gang or play ball and somewhere between the cradle and adult hood they may get caught up in certain less favorable situations. Or could it be that society really is filled with uncomfortable xenophobic, bigoted, white people who tend to view white male athletes as less threatening then their black counter parts. Or maybe white athletes are indeed privileged and bailed out by their upper crusted families.
We could go on all day with hypothesis in trying to determine the reasons behind the above claims of media stereotyping of athletes in regards to color, But where would that get us? An end result that would consist of nothing more than racial profiling at its worst case scenario.
It has been determined that the white male dominates the news, media and how it is reported and portrayed, and in knowing this, one can get a better understanding of actual stereotyping vs media hype. Thus determining your own conclusion of whether or not black male athletes have actually been portrayed in a negative light while white male athletes not so much.
My personal opinion love it or hate it, is that this is not stereotyping at all at least not in my understanding of the word. M.S Frisby apparently has Stereotyping confused with Statistics because that is what I am seeing with her findings. First of all she is using percentages and hasn’t ruled out that violent crimes have not been reported against the white male athlete she has them at 17%.
Now, from what I know about stereotyping it is a blatant comment regarding race or gender which could be based on truth but without any true research. Such as: ” Black athletes are much better athletes then whites.” ” White men can’t jump.” ” Once you go black you never go back.” How come none of these stereotypes are not being addressed by M.S Frisby?
Just saying, but what do I know I am just a first year Digital Communications Major.