Portrayal of Black Men in the Media - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Portrayal of Black Men in the Media

November 1, 2007

Albany - - Some Albany community leaders want to know why young Black men are always making headlines. They say negative images of black men often seen on television don't reflect reality. 

Rapping is a hobby for 21 year old Brandon Brown. But he says it's just that. It's not his life.

"It's not improper to be educated."

He admits many people his age are consumed by the negative images found in the media and they make it their reality. It often results in crime and the mugshots we see just about everyday on the news.

Community leaders say those negative images often influence society's impression on Black men.

Economics Professor Aaron Johnson addressed that issue and others at the Annual State of the African American Male Forum at Darton College Thursday night.

"The large majority of Black men are law abiding and I think that's a perception that's missed," he says.

They discussed the huge attention athletes get in the media and why they're held accountable when they mess up. They also made it clear it's up to the entire community to address the challenges that affect us all.

"If we see someone doing well, we should say, well they did something great. I wanna do something good too," Brown says.

The 21 year old also believes that teens and young adults should not be embarrassed by being successful.

"I'm going to say 'you know what I'm saying' because it's something that I do, but at the same time, you still want to be articulate," Brown adds.

It's a move in the right direction for community leaders like Johnson who say just addressing the issue is the first step.

"The importance of the community coming together, unifying and making sure all segments of society and this community are improving," he says.

By overcoming stereotypes and getting to know others for who they really are, not just by what we see on the big screen.

Dougherty Schools Athletic Director Johnny Seabrooks, Kenneth Cutts from Congressman Bishop's Office, and APD Lt. James Williams also spoke on the panel.

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