The Influence Of Crime

1102 Words 5 Pages
The American media portrays African-Americans to be criminals frequently, creating a disconnect between whites and blacks. With minimal knowledge on the subject, many Americans believe that African-Americans commit crimes at the highest rate of any group in the country. This is usually based on the stories that they’ve seen reported by the media. Determining the crime rates of different groups is an arduous task because of how difficult it is to pinpoint exactly how many crimes are committed and whether certain biases impacted the arrest rate. The National Report consistently reports black arrest rates to be higher than white arrest rates. Even so, this could be affected by police bias against African-Americans. Trying to account for these …show more content…
Whites who may come from high-income neighborhoods where there is a low crime rate base their perceptions of criminals based on the news. Local television only takes random incidents because it may be interesting or fear-provoking. Local news stories are not a representative sample of the actual crime rates. Consequently, crime is misrepresented by the media and results in African-Americans appearing to be criminals. With the media disproportionately representing the criminals to be African-American males and the victims to be middle-aged white women, fear of crime increased only with middle-age white women as television consumption increased (Chircos et al., 1997). This media-created sense of fear resides in many white people, stemming from affiliating themselves with the victims of crime they see on television at the hands of African-Americans. Accordingly, this, along with the black culture represented in Hollywood, creates tension between the black and white communities and the country becomes divided, including …show more content…
When a student is aware of stereotypes that surrounds his/her group, it could negatively affect test scores. This is based on a concept called stereotype threat. When a black student is surrounded by mostly white students, the black student might become more aware of the negative stereotypes that are associated with black people. This could increase fear of possibly validating this stereotype in the eyes of other students and make the test-taking process more stressful. It could also cause the student to believe that certain negative stereotypes are true, and consequently conform to what he/she believes is expected to happen. This is shown in the study conducted by Steele and Aronson (1995). In this study, white and black Americans from elite universities were given the Graduate Record Examination, an exam designed to test the performance ability of a university student. Steele and Aronson informed some students that the test was indicative of intelligence level, and told other students that it wasn’t. This attempts to have the black students believe that any stereotypes surrounding African-American intelligence were irrelevant to the results of the exam. The black students who were told that the exam wasn’t evaluating intelligence performed as well as the white students, and significantly better than the black students who were told that it was evaluating intelligence.

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