Effects of Media on Perceptions of Police

When thinking about how people perceive the police, I cannot help but wonder how fictional television shows have influenced people’s perceptions of the police. A lot of people are spending more time watching entertainment media than they are watching the news. Fictional televisions have in-depth storylines. It’s very easy for audience members to follow the storylines of the characters and get invested in them. A study was conducted to show how television shows have influenced people’s perceptions of the police. The study found that several television shows had police officers engage in force, and the reason why they engaged in such force was that it was necessary because the suspects were guilty criminals and deserved the force put on them by the officers.  This make the force used by the officers seen as appropriate and acceptable. The impact of this portrayal on people’s perceptions has shown people to believe  that the police are effective and competent. The study found that people who watched these television shows believed that police officers would only use force when needed. In addition, when police officers are behaving in inappropriate ways on television shows, it’s justified.  other scholars have spent a lot of time looking at, in particular, local TV news. Some scholars have conducted analyses,  finding that blacks are either overrepresented in crime news stories or they’re portrayed in a more negative stereotypical light.  In addition, there are a lot of crime dramas in which the offenders are white and are portrayed as innocent because they were good citizens with no previous criminal history while black criminals are often portrayed as rough, violent, and caught up in a drug infested dangerous world. This has been seen in shows like The Wire and everyone’s favorite show Empire. Recent media portrayals have added humanity to black people. For example, the film Moonlight portrayed a drug dealer who was compassionate, caring, and scenes in the movie even showed the moral dilemma he has about being a drug dealer. This was a new portrayal of  black drug dealers, one that added humanity. Although it is common sense that drug dealers have depth and are dynamic people too, one-dimensional black drug dealers or criminals are often displayed as people with no moral conscious. This is why the role of Juan is a standout in cinema. In addition, a character in the film who becomes a drug dealer himself is humanized because of the way that Moonlight shines a light on the dynamic life that black boys have especially with the saying in the moonlight black boys look blue. Moonlight has been a pivotal movie in the portrayal of black people, but this movie should not be a once in a blue moon. The portrayal of black people especially as criminals needs to be reformed in the media, especially because of how influential media has been on people’s perceptions of others.


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