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Michael Brown Media Attention May Reinforce Stereotypes, Says Cornell Professor of Africana Studies

Released: 11-Aug-2014 1:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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Travis Gosa is a professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University focusing on social inequality. He speculates how media coverage of actions taken after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American man in Missouri, will affect public perception of the shooting and the African American community.

He says:

“In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting by police, protests and online activism (#IfTheyGunnedMeDown) provide black Americans with an outlet for expressing anger and distrust towards law enforcement, and hope that increased media attention on the killings of unarmed black boys will prevent future tragedies.

“Unfortunately, research suggests that media coverage of these tragedies may actually cause white Americans to be more afraid of young black men and to support harsher policing, such as stop-and-frisk. Awareness of racial inequality doesn’t seem to motivate white Americans to support policies that address police violence – it can have the opposite effect, while media reports of blacks rioting and looting can reinforce stereotypes of black criminality.”

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