What can we learn from the media content? We are a country of equal opportunity where any person has the chance to succeed if they so desire. We are also a country of individuals who do receive too many mediated messages that tell us young black men are dangerous. We have learned, or are conditioned to believe, that a person must live, behave, or dress in a certain way in order to be trusted. Yes, we can act equally to all minorities as long as they fit into a descriptive idea of what a good or honest person is. Media promotes that idea.
Where can we go from here? Sadly, there is a reason for the stereotypes to continue when we frequently hear or read about the senseless crime committed by gang members of any color, but more specifically in this case, young African American men. Black celebrities such as high-profile singers/rappers and preachers, who have the attention of the media and of the group that promotes the negative image, would do well do refrain from playing deeper into the racial divide. Instead of speaking directly to the perceived injustices, which further creates racial tensions on both sides, perhaps these celebrities should call out the “bad guys” (and their parents) and urge them to change the black stereotype image because they tarnish the entire race. Rappers refraining from glamorizing the “gangsta” life in rap songs might not solve the problem, but it may help stop the negative image of what being “cool” really means.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy where a person becomes what they think they are because of inside and outside influences reminding the person who they are or ought to be.
Media content is powerful, but we do not have to solely rely on the media giants to tell us what they - who are the gatekeepers of content - think we should know or believe. Through personal websites, blogs, and various other means, any person can be informed and help spread a message, both good and bad. Will the Zimmerman/Martin case allow the common people to make or set the new standards on how we view others to be? Time will tell if things change or stay the same.