For various reasons, media of all types offer a distorted representation of the lives of young Black men. This representation negatively affects the public’s understanding of and attitudes related to young Black men, which leads to negative real-world consequences for young Black males. In a wide range of ways, the overall presentation of young Black men in the media is distorted, exaggerating some dimensions while omitting others.
The often-used footage of young Black males in handcuffs is so embedded in the mind’s psyche that it makes you wonder if handcuffs only fit the wrists of Black folks.
The stereotypes held, consciously or unconsciously, about the criminality and dangerousness of young Black men influence society’s overall perception. How often do you see or read about the positive impact young Black males are having in the community and society as a whole? If you think that positive impacts, achievements or heroic efforts cannot be synonymous with the character of young Black males, not only are you naive but also part of the media’s overall stereotypical scope casted down upon young Black males. If you’re feeling uneasy about this subject matter you should.
I’m quite sure that in your recent routine of watching the local evening news there was at least one story coupled with a cinematic shot of a Black male in handcuffs. Yet, however, did you see how a young Black man, U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Marcus Santana of Flanders, dashed to perform CPR on an ailing woman whom had collapsed in the middle of the street, right in your own community backyard? No — this doesn’t sell!
This portrayal of young Black male heroes is not as prevalent as young Black male criminals — well, don’t believe the hype. Acts like these are prevalent, however they go unnoticed and uncovered by the local news stations.
This young Black man, Marcus Santana, chose to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps to serve his country, to fight for a freedom and equality because of what’s in his heart, yet he isn’t afforded this same freedom and equality because of what’s in his skin melanin.
Marcus ran to the aid of this woman and would not stop performing CPR until the medics and police arrived, just as he was trained to do. He put into action the life-saving skills he was taught. He didn’t hesitate to see what ethnicity she was, he didn’t care about if she was a stranger — all he pictured was another human being.
Meanwhile, society entertains the ever-present picture of young Black males like Marcus in handcuffs. Well, sorry to disappoint you.
Carnal Hobson Jr.
Mr. Hobson is a Riverhead native — Ed.
To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.
We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.
One fine body…