“Around 44 percent of U.S. consumers cited some sort of online publication as their main source of news in 2017, and although digital newspapers and websites have experienced growing popularity in recent years, perhaps the most widespread source of online news is social media platforms,” says Watson, evaluating on statistics in the news industry. “Today around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves” states Pews Research Center on the demographics of social media in the United States. Speaking of such wide availability individuals has online, this gives the media the advantage of presenting information to them in many different formats.
Imagine one day you’re going through your Instagram feed and you find a video post describing police who’ve shot and killed an unarmed black man; clicking on the post and exploring more, you find the user who’ve posted the content voicing out the wrongness of every aspect of the incident and the police’s actions thoroughly. In less than a month, you find another posted video related to the one you’ve seen last week, only this time, it’s on Facebook, with several other related reposts and shares. Not even a week from then, you get a notification from your news app revealing the released tape from a serious still being held at the time (Robinson 2019). As an individual, think of viewing this pattern over a one year span. How would you react to seeing these different medias presenting such a new thing? How would people in a country; the United States, for example, would react? Given today’s media presentation of examples of racial violence, one might believe this is a new trend.
In one way or another, the media influences a major part of the population in the US. With technology advancing, the impacts of the wide media are profound. Most people utilize some form of media in their everyday lives. Media impacts our beliefs, assumptions, public ideology, as well as our experiences (Kulaszewicz 4). The increase of available videos and photos of racial violence distorts the current understandings of the history of racial violence in America. Racism has long existed in America as far as the period of slavery dated back to 1619, where these brutal forms of racial violence were almost seen as a norm (National Geographic Society). These racial violence presentations to society, which are the audience; some individuals might think that this is a new trend, when in fact, racial violence has still been existing before the media came to be. In the age of rapidly advancing technology, we are now having more visual evidence in these issues.
Believe it or not, the increased access to technology has influenced the way we consume information about racial violence. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this. The advantage is the fact that there’s visual evidence that everyone can see; the images, the videos, and the dialogues are presented to us which makes the presentation clear to us of what is happening. Another advantage is the ability of an individual to spread the news in various ways through the web for others to view and react. On the disadvantage side
The connection media display on racial violence relies on the characteristics of the message given and the audience that receives it, whether it’s positive or negative. The increased availability of coverage of racial violence influences the modern social construction of race. For example – the revealing of a video showing police using more force in arresting an African American male than a caucasian male. The racial crime portrayed on the media is significantly between an African American man and police is more violent, harsh, and hostile. The viewers that internalize these images and/or videos and dialogues develop a ‘prejudice world view’ or a scary image of what reality really is. This view is characterized by mainly and perceptions of higher levels of threat from a police authority to an African American male in society. The image of black men as brutes in society has a long legacy that begins with the social construction of race and brings us to the current period of mass incarceration. Black men are nearly six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men, and federal courts imposed prison sentences on black men that were 19% longer than those imposed on similarly situated white men between 2011 and 2016 (‘Who’s in Prison in America?”). This disproportionate and unequal number indicates the skewed representation of Black men in U.S. prisons.
Access to the media is widespread and bearly escapable. For this reason, these news most certainly has a significant impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. The media is continuing to contribute to those attributes such as racial violence. A beneficial attribute to this is that individuals and organizations are working to promote racial, cultural and ethnic awareness and social justice in practice. Awareness is also about knowing where bias comes from as well as promoting change when needed. The media has a very large social impact. Promoting change and understanding of what needs to be addressed or changed is the key to fostering social change and promoting equality.