Why media portray African-American males as criminals – Term Paper

3.3 Apparatus and Materials

            The study data collection tools comprise computers, internet connection, access to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Such materials apply mostly to data sources associated with modern media platforms which makes it imperative to have an internet connection since Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can only be accessed through the internet. Further, the tools needed for the collection of information from conventional media sources include tape recordings for news broadcasts and copies of newspaper articles in the database of major daily publications such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Business Daily among others. Such materials prove fundamental or essential in the development of a foundational approach towards the data collection process. In other words, the tools used in the data collection process will inform the content of the materials gathered since such materials are crucial to access of information. Moreover, gaining access to such materials will require permissions from various stakeholders who among many others include owners of television stations and newspaper publications.  Permissions shall as well be sought from owners and managers of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Armed with adequate consent to the use of information found in each of the sources outlined, the researcher shall use research techniques in literature review, content analysis, and case study approaches to source for information and ensure that each of the data sources is well represented in the research results.

            Drawing from the case study approach, the study will apply the data collection methods in three stages the first of which is the identification of a case study. Subsequently, the study focusses on the evaluation of materials pertaining to a particular case. As such, data collection tools that include computers, internet, and data base search will be used during the second stage of the study. To that extent, the second stage of the research encompasses analysis of content where media sources shall be reviewed for their content or information as pertains to a particular case study focus. The content analysis stage proves fundamentally crucial in that it presents an avenue for the comparison and contrast of contents of data sources. As such, the key words that the researcher opt to look for include African-American male, dressing mode, criminal, gangster, history, and behaviour. During the content analysis process phrases that are of interest to the researcher shall be highlighted particularly as pertains to the description of African-Americans involved in instance of confrontation with police officers during shootings. The content analysis section of the data collection stages will be characterised by the drawing of comparisons and contrasts between various data sources that include the two broad categories of modern and new media forms. The content analysis, therefore, seeks to evaluate modern and old forms of media for the angle or approach taken in reporting news stories that are characteristically involving of African-Americans, on the one hand, and police officers on the other.

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            Subsequently, the third section of the research report will comprise of a literature review section that discusses the case study presented or evaluated during the content analysis stage which is the second stage of the research process. As such, the third stage of the research process brings together all aspects tied to the aims of the researcher as pertains to the development of the research topic. To that end, the literature review section plays a significant role in tying together the facts presented in the case study with theoretical concepts and analogies as earlier presented in Chapter 1 of the research report. Moreover, the literature review also examines opinions presented in news sources pertaining to the case under evaluation. The review, hence, draws plain comparisons and contrasts that help paint a vivid image of the juxtapositions of traditional vs. modern forms of media through the approaches takes in news reporting. Equally, the review section serves a fundamental purpose of gathering opinion that are etched against each other when comparing case studies in traditional and modern platforms. In essence, the literature review or simply review stage of the research data collection process will seek to provide conclusive remarks associated with each of the positions taken by various media outlets. This section is, therefore, the decisive one given that it determines rather presents a judgment on whether or not the media forms portray African-American males as criminals. Moreover, it is under the review section that the perceptions created by traditional and modern forms of the media become clear.

            The data collection tools in this case will encompass a thorough review of secondary sources of information. In that esteem, the sources of information will comprise of media sources whereby, the researcher shall work to acquire information contained in databases and the internet. Both digital and analogue platforms shall be reviewed for sources of information. For instance, news broadcast recordings from leading news sources such as FOX News and CNN, BBC, and CNBC among others shall comprise the sources of data in digital recorded form. However, newspaper data such as journals from the New York Times and Business Daily shall be sourced in hard copy from databases of the researcher or alternatively sourced from the news agencies themselves. Nonetheless, digital forms of newspapers can as well be sourced from digital data bases and online versions of the newspapers as well. In relation to digital content, the researcher observes that all modern forms of data sources are digital in nature given that all such information is located on the internet. To that extent, only newspapers have the option of analogue formats whereas television and new media forms are all embedded in digital format. In regards to that fact, the researcher can choose to ease the research process altogether by focussing exclusively on digital formats of content analysis where it is imperative that all content evaluated are in digital form.

3.4 Research Procedure

            The chronology of events as regards to the data collection process has already been dealt with in the previous section of the research methods section. However, that does not sufficiently account for the research process in its entirety, as such, what remains includes the data analysis and presentation processes. To that extent, the use of tables and charts will form a central basis for the evaluation of the research results. The analysis section focuses mainly on the evaluation of the contents of the research report as pertains to the data collected. Categories of similarities and difference are then developed that answer each of the research questions that include; reporting pertaining to the conduct and characteristics of African American males involved in instances of police brutality? Are there significant implications of the perceptions created by the media about African American men on how African American men are treated by the police?          What are the far reaching implications of the stereotypes created by the media about African American men in their social lives? What are the factors that determine the angle or approach taken by either traditional or modern forms of media with respect to the portrayal of African American men in media? And finally, what alternative progressive options exist in media towards shaping perceptions of African American males that would lead to an end of violent confrontation between police officers and African American suspects? The research process under the data analysis and presentation sections will also entail an evaluation of whether each of the objectives of the study were met. Such objectives include, to compare and contrast reporting by traditional and modern forms of media with respect to cases of police brutality and specifically the angle of representation of African American males in news reports. To evaluate news reports in traditional and new media forms for similarities and differences in portrayal of African American males when reporting on incidences of police brutality. To investigate the impact of portrayals of African American males in both new and traditional forms of media on the perception of the American public about African American males. To develop a list of recommendations that can be adopted by the media in general as regards the portrayal of African American males and by extension shape the perceptions of the American public about African American males. 

            Throughout the data analysis and presentation process drawing similarities and differences between traditional and modern forms of media remains the core principle of each evaluation leading up to the culmination of case study investigations. The first stage that is comprehensively discussed in the previous chapter will comprise identification of specific case studies. The case studies shall then be discussed at length where reporting in various media platforms categorised as traditional or new media are presented. The specific cases include;

1.         Eric Garner

2.         Michael Brown

3.         Tamir Rice

4.         Walter Scott

5.         Freddie Gray

6.         Trayvon Martin

7.         Rumain Brisbon

8.         Erick Harris

9.         Alton Sterling

10.   Philando Castile

Based on the list presented above, Eric Garner’s case will premier as the first case on focus pertaining to the evaluation of perceptions created by the media about African-American men. Notably, the ten cases are not exhaustive, however, they were carefully selected owing to the common circumstances that often surround such cases. In that regard, the cases involved issues of police misconduct of one form or another, yet the media sought to take differentiated opinions while evaluating the circumstances that led to the confrontation. In that esteem, each media platform whether traditional or new is examined for its reporting on the particular case of Eric Garner’s shooting. The second stage of the research process encompasses a review of facts presented in both traditional and modern forms of media which is placed into categories of similarities and differences. Subsequently, the third stage of the data collection process will entail an evaluation of examination of similarities and differences in reporting as associated with traditional and modern forms of media. The approach taken by either is compared with the other to develop systematic patterns. The final and third stage also presents a qualitative analysis of the implications of the representations of African-American males in the media as an attribute of the creation of perceptions about African-American men among American audiences.

The same process is to be repeated for all the other nine cases listed above where each case shall be analysed individually and results in the discussion section rather the review section of each case study examined by comparing the same to review results for other case studies. In that same line, similarities and differences alike are sought to establish underlying patters of familiarity or otherwise. The results of each case study are then combined into one comprehensive report that brings together the findings of the ten case studies. Notably, the ten case studies act as a sample among numerous cases of police brutality against African-American men. To that extent, the cases offer a promising avenue of gauging and engaging debate surrounding the perception that the media has created about African-American men. The overall idea that is created by the media on the issue is then discussed under the results section which is followed closely by an evaluative conclusion section. The findings of the study will then inform the presentation of recommendations as pertains to the patterns that exist in the case studies sampled regarding perceptions of African-American men. Further, the research procedure seeks to establish a connection between the theoretical approaches of the study and the findings presented.

In that esteem, an evaluation of the state of affairs as pertains to racial relations as discussed in details in Chapter 2 of the research report under literature review section, proves critical to the advancement of knowledge surrounding racism against African-Americans in the United States. More precisely, literature pertaining to theoretical and practical implications of association of African-Americans with criminal activities as well as living conditions and circumstances that African-Americans are forced to live under are also essential as points of focus. The racial relations arising from such strained relationships also presents significance based on data indications of police brutality against Black men. Equally important is also the voice of the political class that is specifically associated with the spate of killings that have been mentioned as case studies earlier. Developing a platform for the understanding of the positions of political leaders especially leading up to the 2071 general elections proves critical to understanding the weightiness of the importance that political leaders have placed on issues of police brutality. It is imperative, therefore, to understand the dynamics associated with the perceptions of African-American men as portrayed in the media and specifically how the political class responds to such stereotypes and misrepresentations.

The overall findings are discussed in light of underlying issues that concerns the role of the government, civil society, non-governmental institutions, and the legislature among other interested parties in addressing the ever increasing worrying state of heightened tensions between African-American males and police officers. Equally, an evaluation of whether or not the media has played a significant role in the creation and reinforcement of stereotypes about African-Americans and the implications therein pertaining to criminal justice are of concern. The discussions make sense of the data presented in the analysis section by relating it to historical and modern day suffering of the African-American community at large. As such, the history of slavery as presented in deep detail under the literature review section is analysed for its relevance to the sorry state of strained relations between White police officers and Black American men in the United States. Further, the voice of civil society on the issue in relation to the appeals made to the media about representation of African-American males is evaluated. The role of the government, political class, and the influential in media is as well sought after towards an attempt to evaluate the factors that make the media juxtaposed towards representation of African-American males in a certain context and by extension, the creation of specific perceptions. Ultimately, the information shall be combined for the presentation of conclusive remarks based on the findings of the research paper. Moreover, appropriate recommendations as associated with the role of the media in developing perceptions of African-American males in the United States is reviewed. In that same regard, the recommendations made also seek to develop a set of suggestions that can be implemented in the media for both traditional and modern forms where representation of Black American men can be termed as fair and true. By extension, the recommendations also seek to end the standoff between Black American men and White police officers over instances of police brutality.