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Vaughn Smith

English 115
The Injustice of African-American Men by Society
Youve most likely seen the news headlines today, either through notifications on your

phone or on the TV. When you looked at the local headlines you probably saw news about

technology, politics, the weather, and oh, dont forget about the murders, shootings, rapes, and

car chases! After youve seen all these crimes you probably feel bad for the victims, and you

should because none of these heinous acts should be occurring in the first place. While the

crimes committed are terrible, I want to address an issue that has not only victimized individuals,

but an entire people. If you look at the committed crimes that are reported by the media it isnt

hard to notice that the majority of perpetrators or suspects are African American men or men of

color. The media has misrepresented African American men by consistently headlining negative

news about them, therefore causing unjust fear and treatment from society which has led to

serious and oftentimes fatal consequences, now African American men must alter their public

persona so that they arent viewed as a threat.

African Americans, especially African American males have been severely

misrepresented by the media. If an African American man isnt an athlete, actor, or musician the

media paints them as criminals, thugs, and savages. (Insert Quote + Explanation). With so many

ways to see the local news its easy to stay in the know about crimes in your area. But what you

probably dont think about when looking at the crimes reported by the news it that there are

hundreds of other crimes that occur during the day. Since there are so many crimes every day it

means that news outlets must pick and choose which crimes to cover, and very often the crimes
reported have been committed by African American males or males of color. (insert video about

overrepresentation of African Americans in the news).

According to an official FBI stat chart there were a total of 8,421,481 arrest made in the

U.S. in 2016. The stat chart includes arrests made from crimes such as murder, robbery, and

burglary, all the way to fraud and gambling. The stat chart also includes the race of those

arrested, and provides the percentage that each race makes up of the total arrests. (insert chart).

In 2016 there were 2,263,112 African Americans arrested in the U.S., this is a large amount of

people to be arrested for one race, but if you look at the chart youll see that 5,858,330

Caucasians were arrested, over two and a half times the number of African Americans arrested.

African Americans only make up 26.9% of the total arrests in the U.S. while Caucasians make

up 69.6% of the total arrests. So why does the media show so many crimes that include African

American offenders?

The news and media have distorted the true identity of African American men by

painting them as criminals and savaged, now society has developed a common fear of African

American men. The fear that society has unjustly developed is having serious and in many cases

fatal consequences for African American men. (Insert Quote + Explanation). Due to fear, society

has begun to perceive African American men as larger and stronger than Caucasian men, even

when theyre the same size. (Insert Quote + Explanation). This research was conducted by the

American Psychological Association and published in their Journal of Personality and Social

Psychology. They also found that nonblack participants believed black men to be more capable

of physical harm than white men of the same size. The results also indicated that nonblack

observers believed that police would be more justified to use more force on these black men,

even if they were unarmed, than white male counterparts.

After numerous shootings of unarmed African American men by police many African

American men have developed a certain fear or caution when among society. African American

men are unjustly feared by society, so now many must find ways to appear less threating. (Insert

Quote + Explanation). It isnt fair that African American men are forced to change who they

really are just because people have an unjust fear. It isnt fair that African American men cant

wear a hat or a hood at night, or that they have to whistle familiar tunes in order to appear less

threatening, and cant live in a nice neighborhood without being questioned by police for

suspicion of burglary.

Even with the numerous police shootings of unarmed African Americans, some still

argue that police officers are treating white and African Americans equally. (Enter Quote +

Explanation). According to an NBC News/Marist College poll conducted in 2014 78% of whites

have confidence in their neighborhood police that they treat white and African Americans

equally, while only 12% of African Americans agree. (Insert counter argument with quote).

The way in which African American men are perceived is not only having consequences

on an individual group, it is affecting all of society. If the fear and judgment of African

American men continues then we will never be able to grow and unify as a society. There will

only be more misrepresentation, more false arrests, and more shootings of unarmed African

American men.