In this moment of extreme racial division, there are examples of how the mainstream media does racism.
One example appeared in the Sunday, November 8th online edition of the Washington Post. On the Post website home page, when viewed on a laptop device, there is a headline that reads “After Biden Win, Parties Gird For Ferocious Senate Runoff In Georgia.” A photo of Biden supporters in Los Angeles accompanied that headline.
But, when I clicked the headline to read the article I was greeted with a photo of Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock wearing Kente cloth.
This Kente cloth photo of Mr. Warnock appeared on the Post home page when viewed on my mobile phone (no click required to see it).
So what?, you may ask. Well what’s racist about this choice of a photo is summed up as follows:
- A Google search for Raphael Warnock images delivered a full pages of pictures of Mr. Warnock. Only one photo matched the photo used by the Post. And, that same photo was also used by FOX News, which is known to be at best a polarizing force on racial issues in America.
- The image of Kente cloth on a Black man who is associated with a position of power will be viewed by some as “negative” and “threatening” to some. Especially in America today.
- The Washington Post and FOX News editors and writers are highly educated and experienced media professionals who are trained and fully aware of both broad and subtle impact and implications a single image can have. They deliberate extensively on the selection of imagery that accompanies their stories. And the Google search is an example of the effort and attention that was applied to choosing that image for that story at this time. There is also the question of the likelihood that two media enterprises with different ideological foundations would select precisely the same photo of Mr. Warnock for articles covering similar topics.
This is a simple example of how the mainstream media does racism. And it is the tip of a huge iceberg. It’s important that we identify this kind of distortion and take care to reduce our levels of consumption of this kind of manipulative messaging. We are in a moment of extreme change. Stay woke!