Black Lives Through the Lens: A Discussion on How the Media Portrays African Americans

  • Carmen Ballagan (Iowa State University)
  • Paul Parisot (Iowa State University)
  • Rachel Trainum (Iowa State University)
  • Susan Cruz-Rodriguez (Iowa State University)


Since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement there has been a rise in media coverage of African Americans. We will provide an overview of the disturbing trends that have surfaced in how the media continues to portray black lives. We will begin by looking at the history of African Americans in the media and then answer the question, where are we now? This presentation will discuss the ways in which African Americans are represented in both news and popular media. We will then explore how these media representations affect African American’s views of self and negatively impact their lives through cultural appropriation, internalized racism, and diminished self-esteem. We have set out to go beyond explaining these representations of African Americans in general, but also look at how they affect black men and women differently.

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Published on
04 Mar 2016
Peer Reviewed