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Blog 7 Response to Kapp0081

The O.J. Simpson trial was exactly what came to my mind, as well. I think you do a much better job articulating what I wanted to say in my blog; it's interesting to see your take on it. I think you're definitely right about the Simpson case being sensationalized due to Simpson's famous, wealthy, black status, and the fact that his victims were both white and beautiful.

You brought up a fantastic point about the wrongfully accused black man, and how wealthy, black males pose a threat to whites, which is something I hadn't considered in my own blog. I was only thinking that we, as a society, tend to pin murder on poor, uneducated blacks. Your idea digs a little deeper. I don't recall hearing that people who didn't believe that O.J. was framed were against powerful blacks. Interesting. Good thinking!

You also have a good point about class and the idea that O.J. could "afford to get away with murder." That it had nothing to do with him being black. On the other hand, you mention that some people sided with Simpson purely because he was black; as if finding him not guilty would prove that he wasn't accused of murder based on his race. You're absolutely right in claiming that Simpson was either viewed as a dangerous black man, or as the exception to it.

Race and class were highly emphasized in this case, for obvious reasons. Gender and location also were also factors in this case; they just didn't seem to be as important. Gender played a role just because we typically think of males as more capable, both physically and mentally of committing violent crimes. And location was a slight factor because Simpson was living in an upscale, Hollywood area- which brings us back to class and race.

 

Comment to dahlm038 Blog #7

I agree with your response about it being "a form of discrimination" and  "people's fear of something different." I think that they should look beyond the point of race, class, gender, and location instead of looking right into it because it causes the families to think negatively and fear those factors. It is a good thing that the Hopkins school district allows the school to bus students from inner-city to the suburbans. This is similar to my blogging in saying that there are more minorities in Hopkins. To make Hopkins more diversified will allow minorities to attend schools in the suburbs ans not just the cities. Even though the suburbs and cities have a different way of constructing their communities, it should be constructed in a way to possibly adapt to everyone's needs. I think that people's fear of something different, which I agree with you, puts them in a different place where they won't face it and change things but instead they try to avoid it and keep it the same. I just wonder if it has occurred to any other suburban schools besides Hopkins.

Blog Post #7

After reading Kenny's article, the first example I could think of was actually the OJ Simpson murder trial. My recollections are largely of what a production it was, how seemingly important this trial was, and what people said in the aftermath of the not guilty verdict. Obviously, being a celebrity influenced the media attention on this case, but I also think him being a wealthy black man and the victim being a white woman lead to the media taking an even greater interest in the trial. Due to the increased media attention OJ Simpson stopped being an athlete in the public eye and and more of a representative figure. To different circles he meant different things. For one circle he became a symbol of the wrongfully accused black man. His class, race and gender meant that he was a target for someone to pin murder on, because wealthy black males were resented by whites and therefore needed to be taken down. I remember certain arguments at the time where people were saying that if you didn't believe that OJ was framed, you were racist, because you didn't like powerful black people.

In other circles OJ Simpson was the perfect example of what money could buy; a white wife, a good lawyer and a not guilty verdict. These arguments for his guilt were not race based, but class based. Nevermind that he was black, it was because he was rich and famous that meant he was guilty, that he afford to get away with murder. Race became a way of excusing why people thought he was innocent; it was because he was black that people sided with him.

In both cases race was used as a way to argue your point as to why he was or was not guilty. Class and location was a way to call attention to either injustices that money and Hollywood-area aroused, or a reason for media fixation and national attention that presumably a similarly accused poor black guy in Queens wouldn't have. Gender is taken into account in "dangerous black man" stereotype that the media strengthened by either saying OJ was, or was the exception to that stereotype. Either way, the media conflated the trial to a point where the trial wasn't about a guy accused of killing his wife, but a trial about race, class, gender and location, and why some combination of these either exempted him or didn't.  

Looks can be deceiving...

The O.J. Simpson case is a good example of a very public ordeal involving a well-spoken and well-liked black celebrity who was tried for the murder of his beautiful, white ex-wife and her white, male friend. The Simpson case is intriguing because O.J. was not the stereotypical lower class gang member that we often associate with murderers. Though he had one strike against him because he was black, he was a successful, college-educated football player and actor.  It was difficult for people to view him as a murderer because he did not (initially) come across as one.

 

I think O.J. is comparable to Scott Peterson, who was accused of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, along with his unborn child (Connor). The two major differences include their skin colors and the fact that O.J. was famous beforehand, whereas Scott was not. Being both black [inferior] and famous [superior] at the same time, O.J. can be compared to a man like Scott Peterson, who is white [superior] and ordinary [inferior- in relation to someone famous]. They each had something going for them, but also something that hindered them.


They both seemed to be "normal" guys who were incredibly smooth and adored by everyone who knew them. We tend to empathize with them right away because they appear to be innocent; their stories incredibly convincing. In the Peterson case, Scott was not identified as the prime suspect for the first month after Laci's disappearance. His family members maintained their faith in his innocence, and I am sure that the police saw Scott as an ordinary guy, as opposed to a murderer. In Simpson's case, O.J. was determined not guilty of murder, though it is now a generally accepted belief that Simpson did, in fact, kill Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.

 

The fear that came about from these cases stemmed from the "unknown." Whereas gang members, for example, are fairly visible and typically hang out in specific inner city neighborhoods, sociopaths like Simpson and Peterson could be anyone, located anywhere.  The media  brought  attention to our inability to look at someone and determine who they are based on their physical appearance, and that terrifies us. We no longer know who we can trust.

week 7 blog

For this blog post I found an article on a controversial issue that occurred in 2006 and has just recently reached a settlement. There were six Imams who were returning to Arizona after attending a conference in Minneapolis for the North American Imams Federation, who were asked to leave a plane due to suspicious activity. This activity consisted of saying their evening prayers in Arabic, their conduct on the plane, and making critical comments on the Iraq war. They were asked to leave the plane and were then questioned for several hours; once they were released they flew home via different airline. Ever since 9/11 some Americans have placed a stigma on all Middle Easterners that they are terrorists and should not be in our country.

In my opinion this whole situation could have been avoided if we were not ignorant to the customs of other cultures. Simply because another passenger didn't understand their language, disagreed with their stand point on the war, and thought it was odd that they pray in the evening, these men were categorized as terrorists.

A stronger example of how location is connected with race, class, and gender is the demographics of Lake St. in Minneapolis. I was raised in the suburbs but went to a private school in the cities, so I spent a lot of time in the Minneapolis area. My parents always cautioned me about not heading to far down Lake St. when I would go to uptown because it was a "dangerous" area.  Lake St. is home to numerous cultures, mainly Hispanic, and is known for its high amount of crime related to drugs and prostitution. Because of the crime taking place on Lake St, we tend to look at these cultures as un-educated and impoverished. Because of the stories we here about the crime occurring in those areas, we perceive people of different ethnicities, class, and gender to be dangerous.   

Week 7 blog

For this week's blog assignment, I'd like to focus on the 9/11 attacks on America and the negativity towards Muslims in America. Not only were Muslims in America looked "down" upon, but it seemed that anyone from the Middle East was suspicious. American flags were everywhere after the attacks and I'm sure people not American felt extremely out of place, especially Muslims. You heard and saw it everywhere- media coverage on tv, newspapers, internet, you name it. For months and months it made headlines everywhere. I chose to use this event because I have a Muslim friend who felt EXTREMELY out of place after the attacks. Of course he and his family had nothing to do with these attacks, but they definitely felt the cold shoulder from people in my predominately white community. It was not something we talked about much, but when it was brought up, he felt very uncomfortable.

I'm reading a book for an English class I'm taking right now, called The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid. Like the author himself, the protagonist Changez is a Pakistani man living in America. He attended Princeton, has a high paying "American figure" salary at a prestigious New York financial firm, is in love with an American woman, etc. But of course right after the attacks, he felt very out of place. People he didn't know and people he even knew made him feel out of place, or guilty. Before the attacks, living in New York was a very cosmopolitan place, very diverse, liberal, welcoming of others. It was New York City, not necessarily a place in America. In itself it had its own name. Once the attacks happened, it became an entirely "American"place, and all the non-Americans living there faced hardship from their fellow Big Appleians.Needless to say, Americans were so afraid of this other "RACE" that they almost denied their citizenship and friendship from these other people.

http://mohsinhamid.com/interviewforeignpolicy2007.html

Blog #7

One recent event that reflects and reinforces fear about race, class, gender, and location would be about how there have been more minorities in the Hopkins High School in the last couple of years. I volunteer with Hmong Thai students who have come to America in the last 5 years or so and some of these students attend school at Hopkins and some at Wayzata. They talk to me about how they go to a school that is more challenging for their level of education and how they don't blend in with the other students at Hopkins. Most of these students live in North Minneapolis and to go to a school out in the suburbs was different for them.


Since the Hmong Thai students live in the cities, students from the suburbs seem to not welcome them in the school. They tell me that their homework and class assignments are hard and it takes time to understand the materials. Students tease them and push them around in the hallway which makes them uncomfortable, but they have to deal with it. Looking at this situation with the students, it focuses on the fact that race, class, gender, and location does reinforce fear of being surrounded by people different then you. These Hmong Thai students are of a lower class, different race and location and gender based on who's able to adapt to suburban school style. Any person can attend the school they want to go to as long as they don't do anything wrong and you can't always look at the fact that they are different. Since the Hmong Thai students are able to adapt to a suburban school, why wouldn't the suburban student be able to adapt to a new environment that includes students from different race, class, gender and location. Not everything will be the same and will stay that way because things change and more minorities are starting to go to suburban schools besides staying in the city schools.

Blog 7

 

After this week's readings discussing the connection between race, class, gender and location, I don't know how one can't think of the attacks on 9/11. On September 11th 2001 the media swarmed New York City where the Twin Towers of World Trade Centers were located. Within minutes later the media was quick to recognize that the terrorist that hijacked the airplanes were middle-eastern males belonging to Al- Qaeda an Islamic group. Less than a year later my family and I paid a visit to New York City. We spent a fair amount of time reflecting at Ground Zero. On the plane ride there I couldn't help but to look around and classify any dark male, middle-eastern, or Muslim decent as a possible terrorist. The media put so much emphasis on middle-eastern men that the race, gender, and the location of New York City only shaped my perception of being in danger. I also noticed that many small shops on the streets were selling items such at pursers, clothing, or even food. These were mainly owned and operated by middle-eastern men and families.  Racial profiling was becoming a huge problem because people stopped shopping at their store out of fear. These men were losing jobs and would no longer be able to support their families.

Since 9/11 Arab and Muslim Americans endured a wave of hate crimes, been criticized by the mass media and has been singled out by the government by newly- introduced " homeland security" measures.  When looking at an intersectional perspective of race, class, gender and location the media played an important roll of ones perception of fear in this situation. 

Blog 7

What resonated with me throughout these past readings was largely Amy Fisher's story. I believe this to be because I come from a small conservative town, largely upper-middle class and white, in Wisconsin. Last year there was a Heroin ring drug bust that consisted of about 11 students that I went to elementary, middle, and high school with, as well as dealers and people from Milwaukee and Chicago. It got a lot of coverage in both my small town, and throughout Milwaukee. Though I was up at school, I was being e-mailed and messaged constantly about the horrors of this drug ring. Many people I knew were trying to make sense of the fact that kids they had seen grow up, kids that their children had been friends with, were now being charged with felonies.

However, it's interesting to me that within my town, so many people tried to "other" these kids. While generally speaking, many of them had gotten into trouble with the law and school before, suddenly their socioeconomic status was notable. They were largely lower middle class kids (and the kids that were part of upper-middle class families were suddenly not spoken of as frequently), who had, relatively speaking, had more monetary concerns than did the majority of my town. The drug bust seemed to be this black mark on our town's otherwise 'spotless' record. How could kids from such a decent town go so bad? I can see much of what Kenny spoke about in this event. All of these kids became "Somebody else's kid." They are the kids from the other side of the tracks, they didn't have the affluent, morally superior upbringing that you gave your kids. The "Everybody's kid" label seemed to be given to the boys that were the football stars in their high school hey-day, and someone had led them off the right track. It was difficult to put them in the "Nobody's kid" category, as my town is so small that everyone knew some or all of the kids involved. It was difficult to write them off, or to ignore the situation. But they definitely weren't your kids, and this certainly wasn't a reflection of the values that Pewaukee had instilled in them.

Blog 7

Considering local news, one that I can still recall was a drug bust. "On June 30, search warrants for several Twin Cities locations help seize more than 3,300 marijuana plants worth more than $6 million". Locations included Coon Rapids, Elk River, Lake St. Croix Beach, Ramsey, Savage and Shakopee.  These are some pretty well known suburbs in the Twin Cities and many would find it rather shocking that such an operation had existed for such a long period of time. The article also included all 18 names of the people charged in the account, a whole paragraph was dedicated to provide age, location, and full names. (Example from the article: " Thai Van Ngo, 34, Savage; and Phuong The Cong, 28, Shakopee").  An officer stated, "Buying homes in the nice neighborhoods is all part of the plan. Dealers want to do everything they can to blend in". A neighbor said, "They never really came out...and they had weird hours".  But in the end "Neighborhoods are safer now that this major marijuana grow operation has been dismantled".

 

This story ties into the traditional myth that Lorraine Delia Kenny was talking about in her essay, the idea that that a suburb is this place of "presumed stability and security as opposed to the urban public arena of conflict" (76).  These dealers took advantage of that perception and were able to operate $6 million dollars worth of marijuana plants. But as one reads into the article, apparently they did not fit into the "normal suburban family".  The fact that race is never mentioned in the article is not necessarily true, the list of names provided is evident as to who these people are and what to look out for. A name like " Vinh Xuan Hoang" is obviously not a western name, and can be associated with Asians, a non-white suburban. The neighbor indicated that they "had weird hours" and those were indeed red flags. They were not like the normal suburban family, due to irregular hours and the lack of socialization with the community, in the end, the article reinforces the myth of safe suburbia with a minor disturbance of the "other".  The officiar said that with this bust, "neighborhoods are now safe". But Kenny would argue that, "class positioning makes it possible for the white middle class to feel protected" (72).

 

Source:

"Massive Pot Bust In Twin Cities Suburbs, 18 Charged" WCCO News.

Liz Collin, July 2, 2009. WCCO. Com

Blog 7

As I was doing my homework on the weekend, my older sister turned on the television, and on the 48 hours Mystery channel, it about the murder of the Orlando toddler name Caylee Anothony. To a surprise that the mother supposedly murder her own daughter, last year in the summer of 2008. It is to a shock because as this murder case is reflected with the gender, race, class, and the location, the mother was a white female women and lived in the suburban area. The mother name Casey was arrested for murdering her daughter. Evidences said that Casey didn't report to police and her parents that her daughter was missing. She waited one month to report to the police and her parents. During the one month period, she was seen going clubbing and partying. Police and other neighbor believed that Casey is guilty of murdering her daughter because why would it take her one month to report her missing daughter, yet go party while she's missing.

It's so sad because the Casey is a women, a white women who has a child of her own. People thought differently about Casey being a white women, in terms of a mother who was not a responsible mother, and reluctantly not do anything to find her daughter. In people's mind, they think that a mother should be concern about the whereabout of their child. Casey's action didn't do anything to search for her daughter. However, Casey's parent were more concern about Caylee's disappearance. A mother going out to party, her child not the biological child of  her husband is hard to believe what kind of a women she is. It is a bad image for white women living in a suburban area supposedly since Casey is looked upon as a white female mother murdering their own daughter. 


Blog 7

When I think of widespread media coverage and Lifetime movies, I think of all the beautiful young white women who have gone missing. There have been many, the most recent one I can think of is Natalee Holloway, who disappeared in Aruba, and I remember clearly Jeanna North and Dru Sjodin from North Dakota. I looked back at some of the articles about Dru Sjodin for this post.

 

Dru's story is obviously different from Amy's, because Dru is the victim and Amy is the perpetrator, but coverage of both events reinforced fears based on race, class and gender. The media was right on the case when Dru first went missing. Her picture was everywhere. She was described as "beautiful and vibrant." There were huge search parties out looking for her. We received constant updates during the trial. Coverage of Dru would fit her into the category 'Everybody's Daughter' from the Kenny chapter. She was a fun, outgoing college student. She could have been your roommate. And it was such a tragedy that senseless crime could take her away from her family, friends and community.

 

This tends to be the treatment young, female, middle class, white victims of crime receive from the media. They get tons of attention because their stories are so tragic, their loss is an outrage. I don't disagree with that, but I wonder about the older, male, poor, or non-white victims whose stories are no less tragic, but seem to be less of an outrage. I think the media bias toward covering one type of victim is another example of the positive/negative space Kenny talks about (p. 179). By making such a big deal about women like Dru, and barely mentioning other, less loveable victims, the media shows us who we value. It reinforces our views that losing women like Dru is unacceptable, while losing others is accepted.  

week 7 blog

A recent event in the media that came to mind was the Chai Vang case that took place in 2004 in Wisconsin.  Vang was convicted of killing 6 hunters and injuring two others.  Vang was a hmong immigrant that lived in St. Paul, MN.  The cause of the shootings was apparently over a dispute over hunting land and trespassing.  In the aftermath after this case people in this state were very discriminatory over the hmong population in the twin cities area. This type of media coverege featured immigrants and especially hmongs as a dangerous population that would have no problem killing innocent citizens.  This happened to be one isolated case, but it reflected on the Hmong community in St. Paul.  Now minnesotan's were supposed to fear muslims, black people, and hmongs.  I remember when this event happened and the local twin cities news actually interviewed people in the st. paul area (white people of course) and asked them if they were afraid of their hmong neighbors (especiall the men), and unfortunately many said yes.  The media made this story not into an unfortunate murder but a story of the hmong people as a whole and that they should be feared because of what happened even though many white people commit murders every year.  It became a story and a fear narrative of a community based on a single incident.

Week 7 Blog

Recently, I have heard a great deal of the news and reporters covering the Annie Le case. Le was a female Yale graduate student who was last seen entering a laboratory on campus. Her remains were found five days later shoved in a wall in the lab that was meant for hiding electrical wires and pluming. This story provides examples as to how perceptions of danger are shaped by the intersections of race, class, gender, and location.

 

The first connection I drew included class and location. Being that Yale University is an expensive Ivy League school; I think it is common for many people to believe that only the rich attend the University. Or that everyone that attends Yale is brilliant and determined to succeed, therefore, something this tragic just simply would never occur on the campus of Yale. News coverage seems to center a lot of there reporting time on stories like these, as if it is so much more heartrending and unexpected because the homicide occurred in a high-class, well educated community while stories of lower class and lower education murders are left in the dust.

 

The second connection I drew included gender. Annie was a 4'11, 90 pound female which was clearly stated in many of the news reports and they stressed how simple it would be for Annie to be victimized. When it comes to gender and the media, stories like these receive much more coverage when a female is killed assuming that the female is always the victim. When men are killed, it often seems to be more accepted and receives little coverage.

Blog 7

I started thinking about what events I remembered and the Matthew Shepard crime came to mind.  I started looking through old news clippings about the killing and they describe him as a nice, middle class white kid who was beaten and left for dead at his college campus because of a hate crime as he was gay.  The interesting thing is that there were news reporters who said they knew this was gonna become a hit news story and he would probably now become the "poster boy for gays." I was astounded when I read that, they turned a ridiculously awful event into a "poster boy" instead of seeing the victim for himself.  As I read through more articles they constantly mentioned him as coming from a good home in a small town, and that nothing like this had ever happened before.  One article quoted a woman saying it really hit home for her because the midwest was not a place where hate exists.  It is incredibly sad that they took this boy and set him as the example of how no place can be safe, especially white suburbia college campuses.

Blog Entry # 7

There are undoubtedly plenty an example of media hype surrounding urban crime, particularly as it pertains to and involves people of color.  It's what sells because it captures people's attention.  The media plays on the stereotypes white Americans have of inner city depravity.  The fear and paranoia is that "colored people" will bring down property values as Patricia J. Williams experienced when buying her house.  She wrote so eloquently in her article, Of Race and Risk that, "It is a dispiriting message: that some in society apparently not only devalue black people but devalue themselves and their homes just for having us as part of their landscape." (p.169 CP)  Speaking as someone who lived on 32nd and Chicago Avenue in South Central Minneapolis for eight years as a homeowner I can speak with confidence how people from the "outside" viewed my neighbors and neighborhood.  Yes, we had problems like all neighborhoods do, but there was a commitment and solidarity by most everyone who lived there to improve their lives along with the vitality, and safety of their community.  We were in it together.  You can't bury your head in the sand and pretend bad things don't happen or that there are injustices in the world.  And yes, living on Chicago Avenue I was confronted with the disparities in our society but I would argue that it makes you a better citizen.  In the city you have to stay connected.  There is energy and a passion that I would guess you don't find in the suburbs. I agree with Lorraine Delia Kenny on some level in her article Daughter of Suburbia: Growing Up White, Middle Class, and Female that there is a false sense of normalcy and a twisted view of superiority when looking in from a culturally white, "middle class" (the meaning of which being a whole other topic of discussion) glass house.  Ms. Kenny talks about the "Insider-Other" whom live insulated lives within the suburbs, and about the false sense of emotional, and physical security by those who live there.  

 

Contrast this to the perception people have of people of color who no doubt get more media attention when they are involved in a crime. They are also targeted to a greater degree.  And when they enter the criminal or civil "justice" system are treated disproportionally more harshly.

 

I'm sure we've all heard the term, Driving While Black (DWB) as a reason that African-Americans are pulled over in higher numbers then whites by the police for minor infractions or simply as an excuse to check someone out that they deem as suspect.

 

When I was online looking for a news article that highlights this weeks reading I was struck by the fact that the United States has the largest prison population in the world.  There is no clearer example of our institutionalized racism, and classism.

With regard to men who are incarcerated here in the United States according to a 2002 report by the Justice Policy Institute, 10.4% of the African-American male population ages 25-29 are in prison, more then are in college.  Then compare this to 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men within the same age group.

 

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0881455.html

 

I found this at the Huffington Post online, which I thought, was perfect too.

 

"Then there's the feminization of poverty and racial stereotyping. More than one out of three black women jailed did not complete high school, were unemployed, or had incomes below the poverty level at the time of their arrest. More than half of them were single parents.

While black men are typed as violent, drug dealing "gangstas," black women are typed as sexually loose, conniving, untrustworthy, welfare queens. Many of the mostly middle-class judges and jurors believe that black women offenders are menaces to society too."

 

"There is little sign that this will change. The public and policy makers are deeply rapped in the damaging cycle of myths, misconceptions and crime fear hysteria about crime-on-the-loose women. They are loath to ramp up funds and programs for job and skills training, drug treatment, education, childcare and health, and parenting skills. Yet, this is still the best way to keep more women from winding up behind bars."

 

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/why-so-many-black-women-a_b_35409.html

 

~Ardis

Blog Post #7

There is a very recent story that's gotten slot of press and publicity is the story of 16 year old Derrion Albert who was beaten to death. The media begins with describing Derrion  as great kid with hopes and dreams, he was a wrestler, basket ball player and even a grandmas boy. This normalizes Derrion to make him seem like you average normal well behaved 16 year old.
Then the focus switches in the articles, and there is constant repetition of where the crime took place on the Southside of Chicago.  Along with who committed the crime kids. This reinforces the idea that one the south side, where it's already known specifically for the crime that takes place there, is where horrible crimes happen to innocent normal good people. To top it off the continuously focusing  on the fact that the people that beat Derrion to death were kids, placing another stereotype of the kids that live and grew up in this area are violent and capable of murder.
This story in a sense uses this tragic event to bash this community and paint a picture that says this Southside community is dangerous with inhuman destructive kids.. As the issue grows it suggests that the communities are the problem. A lot of communities like the one Derrion was in are committing these horrible crimes and are full of violence. The people that usually live in these communities are one mostly African American and low income, so they don't have a choice but to live there. So the media is thriving off of this tragic story and still reinforcing the stereotypical nature of society that places violence directly in the center of low income areas where the majority of the people are African American, which results in no one having an interests in the areas soothe African American are the only people that continuously occupy the area.

Blog #7: race, class, gender, and location

There was a very high profile news story from 1989 in Boston that came to mind for me. Charles Stuart and his pregnant wife, Carol, were on their way home from a child birthing class. Stuart drove her into a predominately African-American neighborhood, shot her, and removed her jewelry. Stuart had planned the crime ahead of time and had his brother meet him at the spot he had chosen to kill his wife. The brother did not know he had planned to kill her until he arrived and saw her bleeding in the car (he thought he was going to hide the jewelry to help his brother commit insurance fraud). Stuart gave his brother the jewelry and the gun and told his brother to hide them; he discarded them in a nearby river. After his brother had left, he shot himself in the abdomen and called 911. When the police came he told them he and his wife and had been robbed "by a black man." Stuart's wife died less than 24 hours after being shot, and their son, delivered via caesarean section, died a little more than 2 weeks after the shooting.

Although the only other description he could give the police was that he "had a raspy voice," the police scoured the neighborhood for weeks looking for a suspect. Eventually a black man with a criminal record who was picked up on other charges in the same area the shooting had occurred, became the prime suspect. Eventually Stuart's brother came forward and confessed his part in the murder, and that Stuart was responsible.  Before police could question him, Stuart committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.

This story demonstrates on so many levels how fears of class, gender, race and location are exhibited in our society. Stuart's recounting of a black man shooting a nice, white, suburban couple in the course of a robbery was taken at face value. A black man was in custody and police never considered Stuart a suspect (largely because of the extent of his injuries, which were greater than he had meant to inflict), even though police are aware that a large percentage of murdered women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Stuart was able to play on stereotypes of race, class, and gender, pointing the finger at the proverbial black man with a gun, which he knew he could make more believable by committing the crime in a neighborhood of poor, African-Americans.

  Time Magazine perhaps sums up the intersection of race, class, gender, and location best, saying,

A stunned city is left to wonder which is worse: the ease with which it embraced Stuart's lie that a black mugger murdered his wife for a bit of jewelry, or the knowledge that evil can wear an expensive suit, hold a respectable job, own a house in a pleasant suburb?[1]



[1] Margret Carlson. "Presumed Innocent." Time Magazine. 21 June 2004. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,153650,00.html>

Week 7 Blog

While reading Daughters of Suburbia, I was reminded of the media's enthrallment with Casey Anthony (http://bit.ly/nJevx has a timeline of events for anyone unfamiliar with the case).  Since the disappearance of her daughter Caylee in 2008, the media has closely followed and scrutinized every detail of Casey's life (here's an article about how she's gained weight in prison: http://bit.ly/Z79It ), in the process creating a crime narrative not unlike Amy Fisher's.  What makes Casey's case and narrative unique, however, is the relationship and cultural juxtaposition between her and her Caylee.

 

While Casey embodies the term "unlovable" in many ways--she is the unlovable insider Kenny describes due to her sexual deviance and single motherhood, while also deviating from the social norm through the alleged murder and cover-up-- the sweet and young Caylee was the apple of white, middle-class suburbia's eye. This comparison begs the question of when the transformation from "insider" to "insider-Other" occurs. After all, according to Strathern's cultural greenhouse theory, Caylee was just not-yet-matured replica of Casey; "in a replicating system, children are their parents" (p. 73).

 

Sure enough, the fascination with the relationship between Casey and her daughter came to define her narrative; the media began to refer to Casey almost exclusively as "Tot-mom".  The title, however, was never followed with ways in which Casey was a good, caring mother, but with accusations of neglect and mother. Instead of defining a traditional, conservative mother, this narrative projected an image of unstable mother, reinforcing fears of young, single mothers and their inability to provide for their children.  

Blog 7

When reading the Kenny article, I couldn't help but think of the Elizabeth Smart abduction controversy that has received media attention since 2002.  Like Amy Fisher, Elizabeth was a white girl who lived in a suburban neighborhood, therefore nothing "bad" could ever happen to her.

 

To make a long story short, Elizabeth was kidnapped in 2002 and was held captive a few miles from her Salt Lake City home. During her nine month detainment, she was subjected to horrible treatment including assault and rape. She was eventually discovered and returned to her family. 

 

Although Amy committed a crime, and Elizabeth was the victim of one, there are similarities in their respective situations.  As mentioned before, both women were white and lived in suburban neighborhoods.  Both were of middle class stature (though Elizabeth could be considered upper-middle class).  Both of their crimes occurred near their hometowns (Long Island and Salt Lake City, respectively.  Both homes also carry certain stereotypes, such as "Lawn Guyland" and those associated with the Mormon faith that is prevalent in Utah, that affect the way that the people of those cities are perceived.  Furthermore, it goes without saying that both women witnessed horrible things, regardless of whether she committed the acts herself or was merely affected by them.

Interestingly, both women's stories were made into made-for-tv films.

 

To conclude, the reason that these stories captured such media attention is because of the gender, class, race, and location which surrounded the central figures.  In both cases, females, middle class upbringing, being of the Caucasian race, and from a suburban neighborhood set the circumstances in order. Or rather, out of order. The fact that such occurrences could happen to suburban white girls was so unbelievable, that it caused media frenzy.        

blog #7

This weeks reading told some stories about how race, class and gender are related to location. The main argument was that fear of these aspects were related to the location they live in. While I was looking at local stories on Startribune.com I found a lot of stories involving crime in Riverside Minneapolis. The story I will mention is one about a set of robberies that they police has a suspect for. The suspect is a black man between 25 and 40 years old. He is between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches with a medium build and wears a hat when robbing. He has been a suspect for 14 robberies all over the Riverside area. This is a typical (though a little more severe) police story about crime in Minneapolis; it always seems to include a black male between 25 and 35 years old. The police are still looking for him, but have constructed a drawing of him in order to help people identify him.
    This is an example of how fears are reinforced by gender, class, as well as location. There is a common stereotype that black men who live in the city are dangerous. This is reinforced by the socioeconomic status, because this man would not be stealing if he didn't absolutely need to. Although this is not the case all the time, most people who resort to stealing are in dire need of money. This is in great contrast with Kenny's article of white suburban girls, because this is a black man who does not have privileges like some people living in suburban homes. The intersectional aspects of this story is that because the suspect is black, male, and living in the city makes people more fearful than if the suspect was white, female and living in the suburbs.

Blog 7

The Abu Bakr as-Siddique mosque, and a female community activist, Abia Ali, has  been under suspicion by the FBI of being supportive of recruiting terrorists. Some of the young Somalian men who have been missing since 2007 and are suspected as being recruited to become terrorists also belonged to this mosque.  Ali collects donations at the mosque to send over to Somalia for the sponsorship of children who are in Somalia and in the need of medical care.  This has lead to many in the community being afraid to contribute donations for fear of being targeted as Ali has been. The mosque is the center of the Muslim community and provides outreach services to teens who are involved in gang violence.
Many Muslim Americans, when they return from overseas describe being treated as Ali was. She was subpoenaed, questioned for two days and had to appear in front of a grand jury.  All of whom were white.  This group of people are being targeted because of their race, class, and location are tied together.  Gender is not regarded as much as their being Muslim Americans.  Our fears since 9/11 and terrorism have caused many to be unable to see that these people are honest and good citizens, just as we are. 

Red Lake Indian Reservation Shooting

The event that I immediately thought of was the shooting at the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota that occurred while I was in high school in Minneapolis. Ten were killed in the shooting; a headline from Fox News reads, "Red Lake Indian Reservation Rife with Poverty," suggesting that the shooting was connected to the poverty on the reservation. That particular article then goes on to talk only about poverty, with a random mention of the shooting at the high school seemingly disconnected with the story on poverty on the reservation. With the mention of high school, the article finishes up with a paragraph on how poor the school is doing regarding its performance and ability to pass standard Minnesota tests. In this article, race, class, and location are tied together as affecting each other without any connection as to how they affect each other. It is assumed that the reader will know that being Native American and being on an Indian Reservation makes you poor, which therefore makes you uneducated, and these all add up to making you more susceptible to shooting up your high school.

            Other articles discuss possible motives, based on the shooter, Jeffrey Weise, and his social activity in school. He was deemed an "outcast" by classmates, often got in fistfights, and was expelled from public school after a supposed threat to shoot up the school over a year prior to the actual shooting. Given these possibilities, Jeffrey's reason for killing nine people, injuring more, and committing suicide, cannot be simplified to his race, class, gender, location, and socio-economic status. Many other stories open new possibilities, including Jeffrey's family life, as his father was killed in a shooting against the police on the reservation. After living in the Twin Cities with his alcoholic mother, she suffered brain damage and went into a nursing home, so he had to go back to the reservation. Jeffrey had many similarities to Kenny's story of Amy. He was an unlovable, maybe not in the same way that Amy was an unlovable, but he was ignored and considered a loner at school. He was another high school student who fell through the cracks.

Week 7 Blog

After reading these articles I thought of the presidential campaign from last year.  There was much discrimination from voters and other candidates towards Barak Obama.  Race was an issue because no other president had been half black, however the media failed to report that he was half white too.  Another issue was his religious background and people thinking that he practiced Islam, which is false.  I think both of these ideas scared people because here we never had a president who wasn't fully white or a president who was not Christian.  From personal experience, my former roommate said she wouldn't vote for Obama because he was Muslim and was going to hell.  This rumor along with others, for instance the whole birth certificate issue, created a lot of fear among some people who fit that white-middleclass-suburban idea.  Even now as our President, Obama faces a lot of unnecessary criticism, I believe more than any president so far.  He also faces a lot criticism from voters, who were hoping to see change right after his election.

Week 7 Blog Assignment

When I first read the prompt, I too automatically thought of 9/11.  After some careful searching afterward, I found a different example that seemed perfect for an intersectional analysis regarding our fears about race, class, and gender; "octo-mom". Nadya Suleman, termed by the media as "octo-mom", is a 33 year old woman who used fertility drugs and ended up giving birth to octuplets, the second set to be born in the United States to date. She was publicly scrutinized and condemned because not only did she give birth to eight children, all whilst being a single mom, but she also already had six children at home at the time, bringing her child total to a whopping fourteen children.  Oddly enough, her having this many children was not the main grunt people had about octo-mom, it was that she has these children while she was unemployed and on financial assistance.

 

So, not only is Nadya a minority woman (her father stated publicly he was from Iraqi decent), but she is also lower/working class, on welfare, and a single mom on top of that.  The reason that this news frenzy embodied our fears about race, gender, and class, is because it gave people an open forum to condemn ALL welfare recipients and single mothers, based solely off of Nadya's story.  It reinforces our middle-class fear of our tax dollars being spent on single minority women who abuse the welfare system, a story that is far too familiar in the mass media.  Sadly, Octo-mom sort of media whored herself in regards to her situation doing various talk shows, radio interviews etc, but had I been condemned by not only the media, but society in general if I were in her situation, I might have done the same thing.  Octo-mom most definitely embodies the "unlovable" as discussed in Kenny's piece.

Week 7 Blog

After reading through Kenny's article about Amy Fisher and being reminded about the Columbine incident, the Von Maur shooting in Omaha back in December 2007 came to mind. Although I haven't thought about this incident for a while, I realize the event made quite an impression on me. Similar to the Columbine shooters, the Von Maur shooting concluded with a middle-class, troubled white teen committing suicide after first terrorizing shoppers in an upscale department store in a popular shopping center in quiet Omaha, Nebraska.  The media coverage of the incident while it was occurring, the aftermath of the shooting and the weeks to come as pieces of the planned event was discovered and revealed reinforced to the citizens of Omaha that while Omaha may be small in comparison to other large U.S. cities, Omaha is not immune to random, senseless shootings. It also revealed that not all senseless random shootings are gang or race related, or will occur in North Omaha or South Omaha (higher poverty and crime areas of the city). What was once a popular shopping mall with several upscale department stores literally turned into a morgue for eight innocent holiday shoppers and employees and a hall of terror for many others. The media's coverage of this incident served only to carry on the fear of that dreadful day.

 

Robert Hawkins was a white male, 19 years old. He walked unnoticed (as he would since he was "white" in a "white" part of town in an up-scale department store) into the Von Maur store at the Westroad Shopping Center on December 5, 2007. He killed eight innocent people and injured a number of others before turning the gun on himself. There was no motive as to why Hawkins walked into this large elegant department store and opened fire. What was left behind was a suicide note from Hawkins stating that he wanted to go out in style and be famous for it. Here we have a young white man, in his late teens, which had "seemed" to be depressed to his friends. He had quit school several years earlier, had recently broken up with his girlfriend, lost his job at McDonalds, and was not getting along with his family. He lived with a family in a middle-class neighborhood. He was offered help to turn his life around by his friend's family. He was not perceived as a person who would simply drive to the shopping center, walk in with a gun under his coat and begin unloading the gun on others. This is not what a white, male teenager in Omaha Nebraska would do. For that very reason, that very perception, the local and national news media instilled a sense of fear and mistrust in the citizens of the city. "Why didn't anyone notice this young man walking in the mall with a long black coat (it was in December in Omaha Nebraska)?" "How was it his friends and family had no idea that Hawkins was planning this?" Question after question was asked by the news media attempting to link drugs or gangs or a bad home life to the reason for the shooting. The media coverage stirred up fear in those who lived around the Westroad Shopping Center, those completing their holiday shopping at other shopping centers in Lincoln and Omaha Nebraska, and in the neighborhood where the young man lived. Unfortunately, there were no answers. In this particular case, this particular incident, the citizens of the state could not connect the dots with race, class, gender, or location as the scapegoat for the killings. What we have grown to be so accustomed to in terms of justifying an incident in Omaha just did not fit this case.

What came to my mind was the murder and aftermath of Jon Benet Ramsey.  This case involves disgusting, almost inhuman individuals. It is terrifying to know people like this exist and yet the media and some of the population feed off this fear, whether to make profit, have something to talk about or even derive a sense of excitement or something to be passionate about. I make a point to not buy these magazines or watch these shows yet somehow, I have managed to hear the whole story. Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store I always end up right next to the sensationalized newsstand. I don't want to hear about. It is not that I don't care about the actual situation or other fellow human beings but it seems these are all publicity stunts to provoke fear and suspicions (stereotypes) and, I readily will tell you that it has worked! The classic "good, white, male neighbor" who never bothers anyone is actually a violent, malicious, sexual deviant who will hurt any woman or child if given the chance and, experience absolutely no regret. Intellectually, I know there are decent men out there yet when I am honest with myself I have to admit that there is a part of me that believes every last bit of it. Males who are white, young or middle adult are harmful and NEVER to be trusted. If I don't want to be a victim myself then I have to remain informed (medias selected information designed to make money, not the actual truth) and the only way I can get this info is through watching T.V. shows like Inside story and reading magazines like People and yes, Newsweek. Yes, I said Newsweek and I would venture to say most all media is situated to make money off of fear. They can tell us who to trust and who not to trust, any question? The solutions in the next article. I realize this is a very broad accusation and there are many fine details not discussed. All I know is that I have a lot of people to be scared of white men, black men, middle-class, upper, lower class the list goes on and on. Who can I trust? Well to be honest I don't think I really trust anyone. How do the employees that stand to make profit in instilling immense fear in the public regarding (insert anything here) sleep at night. I hope its worth the 1.99 plus tax.

Angry Blog #7

Blog 7

            The number one person that comes to mind when thinking of an event that reflects and reinforces the fears about how race, class, gender, and location are tied together is Ed Gein. He was a man that grew up with his brother, mom, and dad in a farm house in Plainfield, Wisconsin on the outskirts of town. His father was an abusive drunk (died soon after they moved to the farm house) and as a result, his mother made sure that her sons were protected by the outside world. She did this by making sure that they had no friends or that they were able to do anything but work outside of the farm house. During a brush fire his brother was killed, but the investigators later noted that Ed brought them right to his body, which had been severely bruised and there were no signs of fire on the ground. There were no formal charges against Ed and the speculations of foul play were dropped. Soon after this incident, his mother passed and his world came crashing down. He lost his one and only friend and person that he felt truly loved him.

            Formal charges were filed in 1957 against Ed after he was suspected of a local hardware store employee's death; that was later found hung up-side-down in his shed, cut open, and "dressed" like a deer. He later confessed to her death along with having unburied the bodies of women that resembled his mother from the local grave in order to make a "woman suit". The rest of his life was spent in a mental institute because he was deemed legally insane and unfit to serve his sentence in a normal cell.

            Ed's story has been exploited within the media and reenacted in various horror films (Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc). The now classic horror story involves a person (usually a woman) that gets stranded in some secluded part of town (in farm country) and has to go for help. She then finds trouble leering around the corner and ends up getting chased by some huge figure (usually a man) holding a knife seeking fresh blood for one reason or another. These types of ideas about men of lower class in a secluded place mark them as someone that appears to be threatening and anything less than a normal individual and more of someone to be exploited and stereotyped. It is stories like Ed's that make people think that the towns along with the people that are located on the outskirts of what we deem as society as something to fear, even though they are some of the safest places to be. It is the perpetuation of this fearful stereotype that instills thoughts into people that would otherwise feel perfectly fine in said circumstances. It would bring light and peace of mind to these types of places and the people that inhabit them if society were to look at and re-shape this default and feared figure.  

Blog 7

When talking about fear of inner cities, I think of the shooting of Tyesha Edwards.   If you recall, she is the 11 year old girl from Minneapolis that was shot while doing her homework at the dining room table in 2002.  A stray bullet hit her while Myon Burrel was shooting at a rival gang member.  Myon Burrel is a young Black male, and he was automatically categorized as being a gang member.  There was not an article or media coverage of this event that didn't state "gang member".   Yet nobody commented on the evidence to prove that Myon Burrel was in a gang.  

This type of media coverage is all too familiar to the American public, "Young Black males harming our society".  It also stereotypes inner cities being dangerous and unstable.  "That image is largely perpetuated by media's portrayal of street violence as non-white, poor, and male" commented Lorraine Delia Kenny.  This media coverage makes our society ignorant and influences fears of minorities being "dangerous".   It also makes our society believe that minorities commit more crimes than whites.  This media coverage, as in most media accounts about our young Black males harming America, is ridiculously filled with discrimination and an absurd fear that inner cities are dangerous.      

Blog 7 Assignment


For this weeks blog post I would like to focus on an event that happened forty-five miles away from my hometown in a smaller city called Grand Forks, North Dakota. The town's population is roughly 65,000. It was always considered to be a safe place to live up until the fall of 2003.  Dru Sjodin was abducted on November 22, 2003 as she was leaving her job in the local mall.   She was twenty-two years old and a student at the University of North Dakota. The man that abducted and killed her was a level 3-sex offender named Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. who later was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty.  This is a very sad and tragic accident, but it is also something that happens frequently. However, what was unusual about this case was where she abducted at; in the middle of the day in a public parking lot in a city that has never had any serious crime problems like murder. This story got tons of local coverage, however, it also became a national issue. The story was featured in the StarTribune, People, and on TruTV Crime Library to name a few. It also prompted the creation of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry.  

I think this event reinforces fears about how naïve small town people can be. Growing up where I did, I never ever worried about being abducted or anything like that. However, after this happened everything changed. People realized that something like this could happen anywhere during anytime of the day. The fact that she was a white female who lived in a smaller city and attended college had a lot to do with why this story got as much attention as it did. Like Kenny stated, "Would the three major television networks really have produced three movies-of-the-week devoted to Amy if she had been, for example, an African American girl from New York City or a Latina from South Texas? I think not." This quote directly ties in with the Dru Sjodin's story.  She like Amy was not considered the norm person for an abduction and murder to happen to. However, it did happen to her and the story got a lot more media attention then the hundreds of other people who had very similar things happen, but perhaps because of their race, class, and/or location it didn't end up on the cover of People magazine.  I personally think that the media needs to focus more on stories like Dru Sjodin's despite race, class, and location and less on which celebrity got liposuction. That's the only way we'll ever find these people.  


Blog 7 Assignment

For this blog post, I want to focus on a subject that has affected my school district and many others in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  Many suburban school districts in the last couple years have passed statues in the school board that allows schools to bus inner-city students into suburban schools.  For example, I attended Hopkins High School in Minnetonka and the year after I graduated the school started a program that bused students from North Minneapolis to and from the school everyday.  This greatly increased the number of minority students at Hopkins while raising the number of students per class and lowering the average G.P.A., which at one time was the highest in the state. 


Many local families were upset with the new program happening at Hopkins because of their fears about race, class, and location.  This was very upsetting to me as a Hopkins graduate because I think this program is a great idea.  Like many new things, the program needs time/effort/support and tweaking to be completely successful but I applaud the idea of making Hopkins more diversified.  I think it is imperative for students to be around other people that are different from them in regards to class, religion, race, etc.  In the real world, not everyone has the same type of family, same life experiences, same amount of money, etc. and students need to recognize that (in fact, the earlier they do, the better).  In my opinion, parents who have a problem with the program are ignorant.  Now because "poor minority kids" are attending the school the parents worry about the safety of their children as well as the school's curriculum.  To me, that is absurd and a form of discrimination.  I blame it on people's fears, fears of something different, fears that allow people to stereotype others.

Week 7

When talking about media coverage and  how it affects the way that people think and creates fear, the September 11 attacks popped up in my mind. I remember that when 911 attacks happened, I was in my home country watching drama on the TV and the horrifying new suddenly popped up on the screen. All of us know the seriousness and disgracefulness of this attack. Because of the advanced technology, the media had obsessively used repetitive image of the 911 attack to illustrate the horror of the event. Also, the media always focus on the identity of the terror group and that had gradually indoctrinated us to associate Middle East and Muslim with terrorist because of this attack. Obviously, this created anxiety feeling among the American Very often.

Also, I remember that my teacher in high school told us that the media focus of 911 gradually shifted to wars, such as WWII and religious wars, after a certain time. I think this has also reinforced public fear as they started to relate the attack with wars. The hostile attitude that the media had toward the middle east had deepened by all the news which talked about the conflict about middle east and the US. However, it's a mutual thing. The Middle East people are hostile to the American because American had keep depicting the negative side of the Middle East world. Also, the media associate the terrorist with religion. As a result, Muslim was misunderstood to be a dark religion. I found a very informative short video about Islamic which asserts how this religion has badly affected after the 911 attacks. It criticize that "Islamic terrorist" was then become a part of this religion because of the bias and the injustice idea that the media indoctrinated the public.

It is really obvious that Islamic people or people who come from Islamic countries are always subjected to be checked just because of their religion and countries. Now, it's not only about Middle East world but also all the Muslim related thing. It is like the US government and public have already been indoctrinated an image of "middle east and Muslium=terror". Ridiculously, my friend needs to report to the immigration department wherever she moves just because she has a Malaysia passport and this just to help the government to keep track on what the Islamic people are doing.


Youtube Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0eLBArvojc

Blog #7

For my blog post this week I am going to look at the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  I would argue that no news story or event was covered, and continues to be covered, than Obama's Presidential campaign and election.  As everyone knows, Obama is the first black man to be elected president of the United States, and the news coverage that followed him and his campaign platform focused on this more than anything else during the months leading up to the election. When it comes to the  office of the President  of the United States, three factors are usually always present in the candidates.  They are white, upper class men. .  Obama was black and came from a middle class family. I think that it is safe to say that Obama might not have been elected if he had come from a poor background.  Yes he broke the race barrier, but he also still fell into the other two categories I mentioned earlier, male and upper class. The media flaunted every angle of Obama being black during the time leading up to the election, during the election, and even now.  Obama represented everything that America was supposed to stand for, and the reputation he got from this media coverage gave him a godlike image in the minds of many around the world. 

 

But fears about the fallout of electing a black man as president were also present in the media, and in the days following his election, the media reported about threats made to Obama's life and the anger that was felt by many racist citizens in America.  People worried about assassination attempts and whether or not the United States had made a mistake.  As we have seen, Obama rose above all of speculations and expectations that formed around his race and has proven so far to be a dignified leader who is doing all he can to make America a better place. The news still follows Obama's every move and action, but I would argue that the media pressure is more than with any other president in our nation's history. Obama has the great expectation of our country to change things for the better. As I mentioned before, he has the stigma of being godlike, and I am of the opinion that the American people expect so much out of him that they will never be satisfied with what he does, and that they will always be left wanting and expecting more from this man. While some feel that Obama marked the beginning of a new age, others fear the ending of an era that had a social structure that had been present for hundreds of years.  

Blog #7

For my blog post this week I am going to look at the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  I would argue that no news story or event was covered, and continues to be covered, than Obama's Presidential campaign and election.  As everyone knows, Obama is the first black man to be elected president of the United States, and the news coverage that followed him and his campaign platform focused on this more than anything else during the months leading up to the election. When it comes to the  office of the President  of the United States, three factors are usually always present in the candidates.  They are white, upper class men. .  Obama was black and came from a middle class family. I think that it is safe to say that Obama might not have been elected if he had come from a poor background.  Yes he broke the race barrier, but he also still fell into the other two categories I mentioned earlier, male and upper class. The media flaunted every angle of Obama being black during the time leading up to the election, during the election, and even now.  Obama represented everything that America was supposed to stand for, and the reputation he got from this media coverage gave him a godlike image in the minds of many around the world. 

 

But fears about the fallout of electing a black man as president were also present in the media, and in the days following his election, the media reported about threats made to Obama's life and the anger that was felt by many racist citizens in America.  People worried about assassination attempts and whether or not the United States had made a mistake.  As we have seen, Obama rose above all of speculations and expectations that formed around his race and has proven so far to be a dignified leader who is doing all he can to make America a better place. The news still follows Obama's every move and action, but I would argue that the media pressure is more than with any other president in our nation's history. Obama has the great expectation of our country to change things for the better. As I mentioned before, he has the stigma of being godlike, and I am of the opinion that the American people expect so much out of him that they will never be satisfied with what he does, and that they will always be left wanting and expecting more from this man. While some feel that Obama marked the beginning of a new age, others fear the ending of an era that had a social structure that had been present for hundreds of years.  

Blog 7

I would like to explain race, class, gender, and location in regards to crime and how it is widespread throughout the media that lower class black males in the inner city commit the most crimes. In the media, there is always coverage that depicts and singles out lower class black males and the correlation to crime rates. I recently read a book called "Streetwise" and the chapter that illustrated this point very clearly was an issue regarding how police target lower class black males in the city, thinking that they disproportionately commit the most crimes. It talked about the lower class black males have to change the way he dresses and acts so police do not think that they are a part of a gang. "a young black male is a suspect until he proves that he is not"(Anderson 192). Most police officers represent the middle class suburbs and believe that they are keeping the white population safe by patrolling the inner city and keeping crime down. They think that the heart of crime lies in the inner city connected to lower class black males. Simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time could lead to a black male being unlawfully arrested because he fits the stereotype of "someone that would most likely commit a crime". Rarely do the police focus on the fact that crime is committed by people of other races in all socioeconomic classes. The disproportionate arrests leads to media coverage and therefore scares the population thinking that they have to keep an eye on someone who is of a lower class, black, and male. This reinforces the fear that crime is largely committed in the inner city specifically by lower class black males. The narrative that grew around this preconceived fear is, I believe, the war on drugs. Black males are six times more likely than white males to be admitted into prison in their life for drug offenses. This relates to the crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine sentencing disparity. One can go to jail for 5 years for possessing 5 grams of crack and for possessing powder cocaine, one can go to jail for 5 years for possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine. The two substances are pharmacologically impossible to tell apart minus the fact that crack cocaine has baking soda in it and powder cocaine does not. I think that the reason that this sentencing policy was introduced was racially biased. Crack cocaine is typically cheaper and found in lower class inner city neighborhoods whereas powder cocaine more expensive and stereotypically the drug of the upper class. So because people are sentenced to prison for longer with crack cocaine sentences, it makes it appear that these people commit the most crimes. The people that are sentenced for the long prison sentences regarding crack is the lower class black male. People recognize the other crimes that go along with drugs such as murder and robbery, and the media starts playing in on this image scaring the whole nation that lower class black males are inherently motivated to commit crime, when really the explanation can be traced back to a sentencing policy that is extremely racially biased.

blog 7

This might be broad, but I immediately thought of September 11th and the narratives that grew around the hijackers (and continues until today).  After 9/11, Muslim and/or Middle Eastern men were increasingly targeted for 'looking suspicious' and more violence was directed at this group.  Media coverage of the hijackers reflected and reinforced fears about race and ethnicity.  The actions of these few men made all men of Middle Eastern descent a possible criminal (or at minimum someone who might not be American enough).  The ties that mainstream media focused on between religion and race/ethnicity created an even larger misunderstanding of Islam and its followers.  This could be seen in the paranoia and questions regarding Keith Ellison (and the first Muslim elected to Congress) all the way up to Obama's election and the questions regarding his middle name, and people questioning his citizenship.  The narratives that were constructed in media and popular imagination about men of Middle Eastern descent and/or followers of Islam have had a seriously negative impact.

Week 7 Blog Assignment

This week's readings discuss connections between race, class, gender, and location. Specifically, the authors point out ways in which our perceptions of danger are shaped by the intersections of race, class, gender and location. WIlliams' efforts to secure a mortgage were hindered by perceptions that black homeowners make neighborhoods unstable. Kenny describes how  perceptions of cities as dangerous led to the creation of suburbs, which then became culturally marked as the sources of other dangers, such as cultural isolation and familial disruption.
Kenny focuses, in this selection, on media coverage of Amy Fisher and how that coverage reflected and reinforced fears about the instability of white suburban girlhood. In this blog post, I'd like you to similarly describe an event that has received widespread media coverage locally or nationally that reflects and reinforces fears about how race, class, gender and location are tied together. Like Kenny, I'd like you to describe the narrative that grew around an individual- e.g., the Columbine shooters or the Unabomber. You may rely on your recollections of media coverage (the strength of these narratives tends to imprint them strongly in our memory) but it may be helpful look up a couple of articles or video clips regarding this event.