Monday, May 12, 2014

Images Presented to African American Males

A writer writes!

Yesterday I saw a "news" report regarding the NFL draft.  The report covered the St. Louis Rams drafting the first openly gay player being drafted.  The report included a video of the player kissing his male partner twice.  The images of two men kissing was reminiscent of a scene in an R or NC-17 rated movie.  My immediate thought was yes the player has the human being right to be "gay" and live his life as he chooses. Whether his lifestyle is in line with God's plan for how a man should be is another story.

My second reaction was why was this intimate image of two men kissing being advertised for the world to see?  The image being presented could have been cut short of the scene where the men are kissing.  But, instead the video purposely showed the images of the men kissing, not once, but twice.  I do wonder what was the rationale of the news report to include these intimate scenes?

For some reason I thought, maybe because the player was an African American male was a reason for the prolonged kissing scene being shown.  Was the news outlet purposely attempting to display an image of an African American male being gay and kissing his Caucasian partner?  Was the news outlet thinking that these scenes might influence young African American males to copy such behavior?  The media must be aware that images presented to youth can influence our youth to copy what they see.

On the local news almost daily are reports of people being murdered through black on black crime.  These images are displayed in micro bursts to the community influencing the thoughts of the community.  The images often reinforce thoughts that African American people are violent and should be avoided.  On a recent airline flight, a Caucasian gentlemen sitting behind me was relaying the tale from his wife about how some "black guy" had gone on a high speed flight from police.  The fact that the person was black was not essential to the story.  But, the man for some reason felt compelled to say it was a "black guy".

The media needs to be more responsible in displaying images to the public.  I rarely see images that feature African American males overcoming odds to obtain a job, graduate from college, or performing charitable acts for others.  Are not those accomplishments newsworthy?  Especially in an environment where African American male lag behind others in employment, and college attendance.  Yes, an African American gay male college football player was drafted. Good for him and hopefully if he makes the team's final roster he will do charitable acts not limited to the gay community.  But, don't ignore the struggles of "straight" African American males who like the gay black player already have to deal with negative stereotypes.

The media needs to think about the images it presents to the world and how those images influence our youth.  In the meantime, parents of African American males need to take more control over what images are presented to your sons.  Present the images that you feel are positive.  You are the parent, not the media.  Instruct your child as you would want them instructed.

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