Media tagged News & Documentary

Bias in Mainstream News

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Published in June 2015, this two and a half minute video shows systemic bias in the news when reporters describe the actions of Black people as compared to how they describe the actions of White people. The video features news clips reporting on social unrest from outlets such as ABC, FOX, and CNN and points out biases like when reporters use racially charged words like “thugs,” “wild looting,” “criminals,” and “the bad guys” when describing groups of Black people vs. “young people,” “passionate,” and “fans” to describe groups of White people.

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Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity

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This trailer comes from the 2010 documentary, "Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity", produced by filmmaker and professor Robert Clift. As described in the film's promotional materials, "The film presents a diverse group of white rap fans (often referred to by derogatory terms such as “wannabe” or “wigger”) and performers with very different ways of expressing their relationship to Hip-Hop music and culture." With contributions from amateurs, professionals like Vanilla Ice, and African American scholars Amiri Baraka, the film investigates key questions about whites and the world of hip-hop: "When is it adoration, and when is it mockery?" the narrator ponders. "When is it fun and when is it blacking up?"

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CNN: Debate on the N-Word

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In this segment, CNN host Don Lemon leads a panel discussion on the use of the "n-word" by talk radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger."Dr. Laura," as she is known on the air, gives advice to callers about relationships and other social problems.  On August 10, 2010, a caller who self-identified as a black woman married to a white man, criticized Schlessinger for her use of the "n-word." Schlessinger responded that the caller had "too much sensitivity...and not enough sense of humor" and defended her use of the term by comparing herself to "black comedians." Lemon's guests include Jill Merritt, founder of the Abolish the N-Word Project, John Ridley, writer and commentator, and Tim Wise, a white anti-racism activist. All three guests agree that the problem of racism in the U.S. goes far beyond simply using the "n-word." Lemon speculates that discussion of the term--who can say it, when, and where--may actually distract people from the systemic forms of racism that persist in society. Wise observes that whether or not the term should be used is something for black people to sort out and that white people should not be involved. Merritt rejects all uses of the word, arguing that it is fundamentally racist and cannot be recuperated or stripped of its associations with history and violence.

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Dark Girls trailer

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This trailer from the 2011 documentary filmDark Girls,directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, raises issues of racism within the black community. The clip features interviews with several women who recount feelings and experiences connected with prejudices toward their own dark skin color. Notions that lighter skin tones are associated with beauty, intelligence, and respectability while darker skin tones are associated with ugliness, stupidity, and exoticized sexuality are explored and linked to divisions among black people stemming from slavery in the United States.

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Ellen DeGeneres Speaks About 15-year Old Boy, Killed for Being Gay

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On February 12, 2008, 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King was murdered by a fellow eight grader at his school in Oxnard, California. Larry was murdered because he had asked his murderer to be his Valentine. In this video, one of America's most prominent lesbian woman, Ellen Degeneres, takes time on her popular daytime talk show to discuss the matter. Ellen, clearly very emotional, makes the statement that she and this boy are not second-class citizens, and that it is okay to be gay. She also calls attention to humor directed at gayness and how it creates the context that allowed for such a murder.  

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