How to Create a Flawed Portrait: Focus on Celebrities or Extreme Ideas

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Jean Marie Brown
May 8, 2012

Like it or not, media coverage helps people form opinions and ideas about the world around them. That’s why it’s important to consider how people of color and their stories are portrayed in mainstream media. Celebrities, athletes and in some cases politicians live in worlds that promote extreme behaviors, therefore when they do something normal, it can seem noteworthy. News can also come when people of color move outside of the boundaries society sets for them – think about the coverage black conservatives receive versus that for moderates -- or when a white person crosses the line of what’s considered acceptable. That’s what’s being served up today. 

Consider: The firing of the Chronicle of Higher Education blogger who blasted black studies programs is still trending on The Huffington Post . . .  Also continuing to gain attention: Jesse Lee Peterson’s rant about women’s suffrage being a mistake and Peter Alliss’s and Dan Jenkins’s snarky comments about Tiger Woods . . . Other offerings from HuffPost include Terrell Owens blaming his own generosity for his child support woes . . . Aretha Franklin will be inducted into the gospel hall of fame  . . .Beyoncé wore minimal makeup and a simple dress to a children’s book launch . . .  HuffPost also does an examination of the core issues for Latino voters . . .  Pre-paid calling cards aren’t a bargain.  . . . Ozzie Guillen curses a reporter who brought up Cuba . . . Meanwhile, The Daily Beast slideshow of the Met Gala 2012 Red Carpet includes Rihanna and Beyoncé.

Another point of view . . . 

The ethnic sites go beyond these stereotypes and offer a more extended look into the lives and issues facing people of color. Topics include obesity, the destructiveness of belligerent behavior, discrimination and language.

 Let’s start at The Root, where the notion of food deserts – poor neighborhoods without grocery stores – is debated with White House senior policy advisor for healthy-food initiatives Sam Kass.

. . . And, urban farmer and author Will Allen advocates growing your own food as part of living a healthier life . . . Black women behaving badly in reality television and real life are discussed . . . Has Oprah lost her Midas touch?  . . . The Grio reports on Aretha and the gospel hall of fame . . . The Smithsonian has an exhibit heralding black art  . . .  A Burger King employee says he was fired because he’s HIV positive . . . How can the GOP get Latino members to sell the party to other Hispanics? . . . Puerto Rico is nearly bilingual . . . Connecticut now has a law against blatant racial profiling . . . And, a new cable station aimed at English speaking Latinos is being planned. 


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