My friend and colleague in the struggle, T.F. Charlton, has been hot on the trail of biased media narrative that emerged from mass media’s coverage of the Olympics. At the head of the pack were the many stories that seemed unable to come to grips with Gabby Douglas, the talented mini-dynamo who now has several medals, being a superstar.
In her piece on how one particular media narrative about black women hating on Gabby Douglas’ hair became a mainstream non-story (it made CNN, for God’s sake!), Charlton is kind enough to cite a conversation we have had several times.
No, you should read it because it is a solid deconstruction of the new P.R.E.A.M. culture where page views trumps integrity, relevance, or even accuracy.
I have talked here before about the institutional logic that breeds structural violence against marginalized people but it bears repeating. Race card currency, as I call it, is the cheap money that greases the creaking wheels of institutional change. And few entities are undergoing more massive change right now than media. In a race for content to fill the gaping void that is the Internet, content producers will use whatever arrow is in their quiver to drive traffic to their sites.
That so many of those quivers are aimed at marginalized people and bodies is a function of the greater culture.
For more on how this kind of false neutrality of business practices becomes racialized see my discussion here.
And join people like me and Charlton and others as we try to hold new media accountable for the same ol’ B.S.