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Critical Race Theory in the Media

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Manuel Padro

on 4 December 2015

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Transcript of Critical Race Theory in the Media

Critical Race Theory in the Media
(kind of) Uncharted Territory
Critical Race Theory
A critical examination of race, law and power inside the United States (and more recently abroad.)
Began in the 1980s in the lawschools of the California University system.
Now taught in 20 U.S. and 3 International Law Schools.
Recently adopted by the fields of education, political science, women's studies, ethnic studies, sociology, anthropology, and American Studies.
Very little work in media studies.

Primary Argument
1. CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society.

2.The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture.

3. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color
Primary Components
White Supremacy: Western society was constructed in a way which guaranteed that the interests of white people would be met at the expense of non-white people through racism, marginalization, and colonialism. Western society either explicitly or implicitly maintains this relationship through personal prejudice or in the absence of personal prejudice institutionalized racism.

White Privilege: the unearned, inherited benefits that accrue from being a white person in a euro-centric society.

Institutional Racism
Racism that exists independent of the personal prejudices of people (explicit or implicit.)

1.Differences in inherited capital and access to capital between white and non-white people.

2. Land ownership between native americans and white people.

3. Access to political representation (Puerto Rico and the territories)

4. Poverty as a consequence of imperialism.
Colorblindness fights individual prejudice but blinds people to the existence and effects of institutionalized racism.

It creates the image of an even playing field where one does not exist.

It is used as a weapon against the tools that would correct institutional racism.
Stories are told to reinforce the relationship between the dominant and marginalized groups. Marginalized groups internalize these stories and adopt racist views towards themselves.

Counter-storytelling is owning your own story and telling it in a way that fights against the relationship of oppressor and oppressed.
Representations of minorities in the media will demonstrate the primary tenants of critical race theory.

This will demonstrate that Critical Race Theory is a viable theory inside of media studies.

Highly testable
Highly falsifiable
Very parsimonious
Large Scope

How strong is the predictive power of the theory?
How strong is the theory's explanatory power?

Race: Biology or Cultural Construct?
Race is a cultural construct that is inconsistent across cultures and within the same culture over time.

Race as it is used in western civilization developed with naturalism and the biological sciences as a justification for European Imperialism and the Atlantic Slave Trade. It's primary use has been as a disinhibitory trigger for violence against non-europeans and marginalized groups within European society.

AAA, 2015; Dant, 2011; Sussman, 2014a; Sussman, 2014b; Ladson-Billings, 1998; Solórzano et al, 2001; Cooper, 2015; Yosso, 2005.
White Supremacy and White Privilege
White (and whiter) characters and individuals were more often than not presented in a positive fashion.

Presentation of non-white individuals before the twentieth century was often used to justify European Imperial expansion.

Presentation of non-white individuals during the twentieth century often consisted of cultural baggage inherited from previous centuries.

More recently developed representations of non-whites in the media served to frame racial inequality as a product of personal failure, not historical injustices and social injustice.

Representations of the middle east framed the middle east as largely homogenous and in terms that served as possible disinhibitory triggers that would justify Western political and economic colonialism in the region.

Delgado & Stefancic, 1993; Davis-Lett, 1978; Gilman, 1985; Cook-Lynn, 2004; Pearce, 1947; Mason, 2011; Fluhman, 2012; Hoschild, 1999; Levine, 1999; Braxton, 1986; Yellin, 1981; Yetman, 1967; Pointdexter et al, 2003; Etman, 1990; Littlefield, 2008.; Ismael & Meaner, 2003; Dunn et al, 2007; Poynting & Mason, 2007; Domke et al, 1999; Dixon et al, 2003.
Institutional Racism
Minorities are underrepresented in the media as anchors, reporters, editors, and interviewees.

Racist schemata are activated in stories associated with race even when race was deliberately excluded from the conversation.

Many racist concepts that appeared in content analysis can trace their origins to slavery and imperial expansion.

Dixon et al, 2003; Domke et al, 1999; Poynting & Mason, 2007; Ismael & Meaner, 2003; Hoschild, 1999; Littlefield, 2008; Pointdexter et al, 2003; Entman, 1990.
Although none of the authors cited critical race theory, or used the term colorblindness, two authors argued that the use of race in the media served to undermine the recognition of institutional racism among a white majority audience.

Littlefield, 2008; Entman, 1990.

Storytelling and Counter-storytelling
This was the component of critical race theory that was most strongly supported by the literature.

Storytelling and counter-storytelling could be found throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Nearly every author whose work was incorporated into this paper used storytelling and counter-storytelling as the primary means to spreading and confronting racist beliefs.
Bonus Level!
Full transcript