alexa African American Women and Violence: Gender, Race, and Class in the News
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Marian Meyers

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This study uses discourse analysis to examine the representation of violence against African American women in local TV news coverage of Freaknik, an annual “spring break” ritual that drew African American college students from throughout the country to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1990s. It draws on Black feminist theory in its examination of the ways that gender, race, and class intersected to shape the representation of the victims, the perpetrators, and the violence. The results indicate that the convergence of gender, race, and class oppressions minimized the seriousness of the violence, portrayed most of its victims as stereotypic Jezebels whose lewd behavior provoked assault, and absolved the perpetrators of responsibility. Coverage also reinforced race and class stereotypes by representing locals as underclass troublemakers prone to crime while students were linked to law-abiding, middle class values and norms. In demonstrating the utility of addressing the intersectionality of gender, race, and class, this study argues that such an approach is necessary to the study of representation.

This article was published in Critical Studies in Media Communication and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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