How do negative representations in the mainstream news media shape the lives of black males in the United States? In this talk, Natalie Byfield will suggest the ways in which a “free press” is often undermined by its own unexplored assumptions and, in turn, compromises the freedom of others. The talk will focus on the use of negative racialized representations in the news coverage of a single event: the 1989 sexual assault of a white woman in New York’s Central Park and the subsequent wrongful conviction of five black and Latino teens. Almost immediately after the attack, the “Central Park Jogger” case dominated local newspapers and quickly became a symbol for urban crime out of control. Headlines described the alleged assailants as a “wolf pack” and named the violence “wilding.” Byfield will consider the history of such representations and expose the likely cultural impact of the Central Park jogger case, drawing connections to the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida and the New York Police Department’s current “Stop and Frisk” policy.
Wednesday October 30 @ 7pm | Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons
This event is sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities.