Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

FOROM AYITI : Tèt Ansanm Pou'n Chanje Ayiti.
 
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 Negative News Concerning Blacks

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Localisation : Canada
Opinion politique : Indépendance totale
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Date d'inscription : 02/03/2007

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MessageSujet: Negative News Concerning Blacks   Mar 14 Juil 2009 - 12:50

ROBERT JAMES TAYLOR SAYS: Haiti and the Tendency to Exaggerate Negative News Concerning BlacksJuly 14, 2009

*Some good news emerged from Haiti last week. The predominantly Black and poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere appeared to be making great strides in conquering its AIDS epidemic. However, the surprisingly good news from a nation beset by poverty, political instability and violence was barely noted in major American media.

The reports which did appear gave credit for curbing the epidemic to the work of the Boston-based Partners in Health and Haiti’s own GHESKIO - an AIDS clinic based in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. While the wonderful work of these organizations is to be praised, there is another possible factor that was not mentioned at all: The original bad news about AIDS in Haiti was exaggerated and overstated.

Back in the mid-1980s, “experts” were predicting that because of Haiti’s poverty and the widespread HIV/AIDS infection rate, nearly a third of the nation’s population would be wiped out by the year 2000. Well, the worst-case scenario never happened. The infection rate never got above 8 percent and according to a recent United Nations (UNAIDS) report; the official infection rate is now down to 2.2 percent for people aged 15 to 49.

What happened in Haiti reflects a tendency common in Western media, particularly in the United States: If it is negative or has a stigma attached to it and involves Black people, it tends to be reported in an exaggerated manner.

Even here in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, the HIV/AIDS infection rate has declined for virtually every segment of the population except for young Black homosexual males. But you virtually never hear the good news reported. Instead, we have recently been bombarded with stories about Black women being HIV infected at 14 times the rate of white women.

That figure may be true but when it is taken out of the overall context, it easily leads to distortion and misunderstanding. For example, did you know that the HIV/AIDS infection rate for white women is nearly 19 times higher than that for Asian American women? But the infection rate for Asian women is so low that making the comparison, while true, creates a distortion and false impression.

The same applies when one makes distorted comparisons regarding Black women.

I have long suspected that a lot of the reporting regarding negative news, ailments and stigmas are not done for our benefit but instead to make whites feel better about themselves. It is almost as if the major media is saying to white America: “Things in this country and in your personal lives may not going as well as you would like; but look at the Blacks, things are even worse for them. You should feel superior.”

I am not asking you to agree with me. But please carefully read and observe negative news report and see if you do not discover that major news organizations can spin virtually any news development in a way which stigmatizes or degrades African Americans?

[Robert Taylor welcomes responses to his commentaries. Email him with your thoughts on this and other subjects at TaylorMediaPrime@yaho.com. Please include your name and city. Also, send for a free emailed edition of his popular Black History Journal by contacting him at the same email address.]
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