Punctuation Matters, Period.

Punctuation Matters, Period.

Breaking news: Ben Carson is NOT the only Black doctor in the United States. I repeat, Ben Carson is not the only Black doctor in the United States.

If you’ve been following the story of Tamika Cross, a Black doctor who was rejected upon attempting to administer medical aid on a Delta flight last Sunday, you know the basics. If you missed it, here’s the gist.

Continue reading “Punctuation Matters, Period.”

Hilarious Racism is, in Fact, Not Hilarious

In other news, water is wet.

On Monday, The O’Reilly Factor ran a “satirical” segment known as Watters’ World, in which Jesse Watters conducts Man on the Street interviews in New York’s Chinatown to ask residents what they think of Donald Trump. Fox Nation, the opinion branch of Fox News called the segment “hilarious”, hilarious because Asians can’t speak Engrish good.

Continue reading “Hilarious Racism is, in Fact, Not Hilarious”

Building the Beat: 10 Folks to Follow on Twitter

Walk into any intro journalism class anywhere in the country and one of the first questions posed is, “Where do you get your news?” The reality is that today, while most folks still get their news from television sources, a great deal of it (especially in that coveted 18-24 bracket) is digital, and more specifically, mobile. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of Twitter accounts I follow that help to shape my beat of Media and Race in America.

  1. Charles Blow, New York Times columnist and author of the (haunting and powerful) memoir Fire Shut Up In My Bones. Lately, Blow has been focusing a lot on politics, and has been writing some great pieces on Trump’s relationship with Black America.
  2. Yamiche Alcindor, another New York Times writer who covers national politics and social justice issues. I met her during my time at MSNBC, but she garnered a bit of attention when asking Senator Bernie Sanders a question.
  3. Jose-Antonio Vargas is an undocumented, gay, Filipino activist who tweets a great deal about immigration and intersectional identities. He’s also the director and producer of two films: MTV’s White People and Documented.
  4. Arthur Chu, who many know as the Asian Guy on Jeopardy, has since used his fame to address issues of sexism, racism and homophobia, particularly in nerd culture.
  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of The Atlantic’s national correspondent and the author of Between the World and Me and more recently the Marvel Comic series Black Panther. Between the World and Me was written to be an updated version of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time,” a response to today’s racial unrest, and practically all of Coates work reflects his reality as a Black man in America.
  6. Liz Plank, of Vox, was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2015. She used to be with Mic and formerly was a correspondent on MSNBC’s Krystal Clear, and while she mainly covers the 2016 election for Vox, her twitter account is a great source of commentary on all things race, feminism, and fact checking.
  7. Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and the author of Adnan’s Story, the New York Times’ best-seller that follows up on the case of Adnan Syed. (If the name doesn’t ring a bell, go binge the first season of Serial–this case is one of the most important ones of 2014.) Chaudry uses her twitter account to talk about the rampant Islamophobia in our country.
  8. Ijeoma Oluo is an editor at the online weekly The Establishment. As with many folks in the journalism industry, Oluo’s feed is a mix of professional and personal, and she unapologetically tweets on police brutality and anti-Black racism on a daily basis.
  9. Jeff Yang, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, is now with CNN, but his real strength are his twitter rants, especially those directed at celebrities.
  10. Trymaine Lee is a national reporter for NBC and MSNBC, and as of right now, he’s covering the Charlotte Riots. If you want live updates right now, go to his page. He recently wrote a powerful feature on the Dakota Access Pipeline–a timely reminder that race issues in America are broader than just Black and White.

Keep in mind, I’m currently following close to a thousand accounts on Twitter, but these 10 are first and foremost the ones I recommend when it comes to covering race on our favorite 140-character platform. Is there anyone I missed? Who do you follow?

WTH, LAMESTREAM MEDIA! Media Bias pt 1

In my last post, I briefly mentioned the idea of the “hostile media effect” in regards to media bias. And as our favorite beauty queen-turned-politician-turned-reality tv star loves to remind us, the mainstream media is often called out by viewers across the political spectrum as untrustworthy and unfair. Is this totally deserved?

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The simple answer is…not entirely. Of course, there are screw ups that lead the public to lose trust in an organization, like Brian Williams’ scandal in 2015 or CBS’s 2012 coverage of Benghazi. But mainstream (or LAMEstream, if you know what’s up) doesn’t necessarily deserve all the scrutiny it receives, thanks to the hostile media effect (HME). In a nutshell, HME refers to the phenomena of audiences perceiving a bias that doesn’t exist.

For example, a liberal student reads an article and comes away believing the article was conservative-leaning, perhaps due to their own far-left stance–even though the article in question wasn’t biased. The kicker to HME is that the bias may exist in favor of the slighted party–so in the above case, the article itself is left-leaning, yet due to HME, the liberal reader comes away believing the article is right-leaning and thus, biased.

HME isn’t a new concept but it’s certainly been exacerbated by the speed at which we produce and consumer content, thanks to social media. A number of researchers have examined HME, most notably Lee Ross, Mark Lepper and Robert Vallone studying the effect of media bias and HME in coverage of the Beirut Massacre. Researchers concluded that both pro-Israeli and pro-Arab viewers found the news coverage to be biased against them, even while watching the exact same newscasts of the massacre. (It’s an informative though lengthy read, and if you want to know about the Beirut Massacre itself, I suggest the New York Times’ The Beirut Massacre: The Four Days.) When we extrapolate perceived biases into race-related issues in America (which are still some of the most controversial issues at play), it’s easy to see how perceived and actual biases can be hard to untangle and even harder to navigate, especially as a person of color in America.

While HME does effect audiences, it is still critical to understand where bias comes into play when we report content. Next week, we’ll address some common causes of bias and dive into how language itself plays a role.