Just as we were about to head out of the office Friday afternoon, we were hit with some #LegitQuestions by one of our readers. @VigorousMuzic wanted to know why media (like us) and readers (like you) do not discuss the accusations against non-Blacks like Donald Trump and Brock Turner as much as allegations against Black celebrities like Bill Cosby and Nate Parker. We promised Michael some #LegitAnswers on Friday, and here they are, courtesy of @CoupCoup40Cal.
Pardon the bullshit, but the “part of our culture” excuse can’t be overlooked, so we have to address that first. Then we can go deeper.
The more I look at it, your question kind of answers itself. Doesn’t it make perfect sense that Black media and its audience focus more on Black celebrities than White ones? That’s why platforms like this were created. To cover stories that matter to our community, but may be overlooked by the masses. But that won’t make sense unless you can acknowledge that the media industry works like a business and not a complex conspiracy.
Global Grind serves a niche market, not the masses. Unlike Time Magazine or The New York Times, this site’s purpose is not to report on every relevant global issue. This platform focuses on trends in Black celebrity culture because there is a demand for such content from its mostly Black audience.
Since this is a business, GG supplies information on issues that its audience deems important, be it gossip, politics, or social justice. The audience then shows what information it wants more of by paying it more attention (clicking, commenting, sharing), and GG adjusts its output to meet that demand. This is simple economics. Just replace the concept of money with attention.
Platforms like GG exist to fill voids in the mainstream media, not to cover headline news that you can already find on hard news platforms like the ones listed above. That’s why we’re talking about Cosby and Parker and not Aleppo and Yemen. And it’s the same reason the mainstream outlets give a lot more coverage to Trump and Turner than Cosby and Parker.
All that being said, your frustration with the media bias toward Black male celebrities is rooted in some truth. Just consider all the factors at play before concluding that these men are victims of a media smear campaign that unfairly targets Black male celebrities while overlooking the sins of other races.
The bias you’re recognizing is an extension of America’s racial bias, which is deeply ingrained in every part of our society. It may seem like White celebrities have it easier in the media, but that’s only because White people have it easier in America. This country was built on White Supremacy. A warped reality where Taylor Swift can hop between it-boys and remain America’s innocent sweetheart, while Beyoncé gets labeled a ho for celebrating sex with her husband. We all know why Chris Brown gets it worse than Charlie Sheen and blaming the media is ignoring the root of the problem.
We have to realize that coverage of Cosby and Parker’s cases is not the result of a conscious scheme by media elites to discredit every great Black man that tries to buy NBC or portray Nat Turner as an American hero. If you didn’t already notice, the American media tears down EVERYONE the first chance it gets, no matter their race, sex or creed. You didn’t see how quickly they got Ken Bone TF out of here last week?
At the end of the day, arguments like this are just a way to deflect from uncomfortable issues that won’t be solved until they’re genuinely addressed. Bringing up Trump and Turner in discussions about Cosby and Parker is no different from Trump supporters trying to downplay his misogyny by re-directing everyone’s attention to explicit rap lyrics. There’s no correlation.
Trump supporters, Hotep warriors, and paranoid potheads all love to blame media conspiracies for the injustices they can see, but can’t logically explain. The problem is that their theories are built on a weak premise. The media is not a monolithic dark force ruled by a select group of elites. It’s just a multi-billion dollar business driven by attention spans and advertising dollars.
The good news is that viewers have the power to change what they see in the media simply by being conscious of who and what they pay their attention to. But if you take a victim’s approach to being informed and willfully accept any information that’s given to you, you’re caught up in a conspiracy that goes way deeper than the media.
That’s why “ignored” is the wrong word. We didn’t ignore Turner or Trump. Everyone is aware of these stories, they are headline news in the mainstream press. But GG talks about Bill Cosby and not Donald Trump because our viewers don’t identify with Trump’s old boys’ brand of sexual assault or Brock Turner’s frat boy fuckery. We don’t talk about Cosby and Parker to punish them, that’s a job for God and the justice system. We talk about them because we know women who’ve had their drinks spiked at the club or athletes who’ve hopped aboard the wrong train. We’re not ignoring the faults of others. We’re just focused on ourselves.
The subtle differences in the allegations against White celebrities and Black celebrities shouldn’t polarize us along racial lines, they should unite us to speak more openly about rape culture across all communities.
From the centuries-old factors that have bred rape culture over generations, to the murky consent laws and legal proceedings that govern it today, the celebrities in cases like this are symbols that can help us understand how to heal our society’s ills. They are not infallible heroes or helpless victims that we must defend from the big bad media.
For the readers who are fed up with the media, if you really want more discussion about those topics, seek them out and vet their credibility yourself. All it takes is a retweet and you are now a part of the media conspiracy. Just remember that no one is unbiased, even you. So don’t put all of your trust in any report, no matter how detailed or verified. And never take the word of one media outlet or reporter as gospel without looking deeper into the story yourself.
The truth doesn’t just reveal itself, you have to seek it. So I hope everyone has been seeking out all available information in these cases and resisting the urge to jump to conclusions that maintain their own personal biases. It’s impossible to read the full details of Parker and Cosby’s cases and not find some fault in their actions. But it’s also tough to watch Black men endure neo-lynchings in a country that killed Emmett Till for whistling at a White woman. None of us are judges presiding over these trials, or gods authorized to forgive our favorite stars of their sins, but we can all use these cases as learning experiences to improve human culture and leave a better world than the one we inherited.
I’m gonna stop rambling and close with a question for @VigorousMuzic and anyone else who shares his #LegitQuestions:
Is your choice to deflect attention from the bad deeds of celebrities you identify with based on your desire to protect your brothers? Or are you giving yourself some cushion to brace for the day your past mistakes become the topic of conversation? We’re looking forward to some #LegitAnswers from the GG audience…
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter