GUEST EDITORIAL : RACISM AND THE MEDIA, IN LIGHT OF THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE

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By Curtis Atchison, house music DJ and track producer

“We’re all blitzed with the same images, propaganda and distorted information wherever we turn. Mainstream media (regardless of ideological leanings) tends to be nothing more than overgeneralized information, watered down for the lowest common denominator to ingest.
“I know when I was growing up, I saw much of the same gripes and complaints people are voicing today. But I did have a mother who was willing to explain things to me the best way she knew how, without trying to make it about “white people” or “black people”. She wanted to make sure things were as objective as possible so I could form my own opinions, but kept me in line to make sure at the very least I wouldn’t physically act out on any discriminations or bigotries I developed. That’s the best she could do, and because of my love for my mother that’s the best I can try to live up to.

“Case in point… right now I’m helping to raise four nieces and nephews in my family. They all know I’m in a committed relationship with another man of a different skin color. My family has opened their arms to him, and out of respect for me they have the kids refer to him as “Uncle” even though we’re not married. They run up to him, give him hugs & kisses and show him love that only another family member could give. But once in a while they do come in with conflicting messages about how life is “supposed to be”. I know they hear many negative things about “white people”. But then they see my partner and the love he bestows and they aren’t able to make the connection between their newly “acquired knowledge” and the man they see in front of them. Even though he’s white, they grew up thinking that he was “Italian” and not “white”.

Same thing on an LGBT level. The kids have no problem jumping into our arms and always want to stay with “the Uncles”. But I know they hear messages from other outside sources about how the LGBT lifestyle is a sin and all that other stuff. And occasionally, those thoughts come into the home whenever they see me kiss my partner. The six year old on rare occasions will go, “Ewww! You two kissed!” But in the next five minutes, he’s asking us when we get married how would they know who the bride is?

IMO, media and outside forces can only do so much to mold minds. If that was your only connection to learning about society, I could see how that could affect you negatively. Beyond that, one needs to be surrounded by loving people who can help them see things through the headlines and the generalizations. OK, now I’m babbling and I have a new mix show to work on…”

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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