The Overlooked: Seven Groups the Media Doesn't Touch

Ashton Lattimore of NewsOne understands the media doesn't engage most of Black America, but some groups get no love at all...

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Photo courtesy of newsone.com

This article was originally posted on NewsOne:

Writing about Black people is hard. There are more than 40 million of us in the United States alone, each running around with different ideals, interests, occupations, and income levels. With all of that going on, things are bound to get complicated. So how can the American news media—not renowned for its ability to cover nuance and complexity—engage with all of that?

Well, the short answer is that they can’t. Or perhaps won’t. Instead, the vast majority of coverage of Black people sticks to easily digestible narrative themes: Overcoming adversity, committing violent crime, engaging in secret elitism, complaining of real or imagined victimization by The Man, allowing the family unit to disintegrate, and so on—these are the types of Black people stories we’ve come to know and love.

And when some subset of people doesn’t fit into one of these pre-set narratives? Well, they get the Loch Ness monster treatment: Some kooky blog or other disreputable source might rant and rave about their existence and importance, but you won’t find CNN or the New York Times taking much notice. But we true believers, we know they’re out there. And so I present without further ado, 7 Groups Of People The Media Pretends Don’t Exist:

THE BLACK MIDDLE CLASS

Before anyone pipes up with a reference to The Cosby Show, try to remember that it ended more than 15 years ago. And the Obamas don’t count either—there’s nothing “middle class” about being the President of the United States. So what we’re ultimately left with is a case study in the coverage of extremes. CNN’s Black in America 2 offered a prime example of this in its choices of subjects: They showed the obligatory uplifting story of poor inner-city children being inspired to achieve their dreams, and later shifted gears to offer a peek into the world of the Black elite—mansions and debutante balls for all. Black families that fall squarely in between these two ends of the spectrum remain invisible.

GAY BLACK PEOPLE

Did you hear? Bible-thumping, Obama-loving, and gay-hating blacks put the nail in the coffin of gay marriage in California. Yes sirree, according to coverage of Proposition 8 in several mainstream media outlets, all these black folks are very socially conservative and don’t hold with that same-sex relationship nonsense. Oh, unless they’re closeted gangsters on the down low or something, creeping behind the backs of their wives. Other than that, nope—no healthy, happy, non-dysfunctional gay or lesbian relationships among African-Americans. Move it along folks, nothing to see here.

MISSING PERSONS WHO AREN'T WHITE AND FEMALE

Because only little white girls disappear, apparently. If you’re male, or a person of color—or to be honest, even just a brunette—and you have the misfortune of being kidnapped or otherwise going missing, good luck ever being seen or heard from again.