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Changing the narrative about people of color in mainstream media

Black
Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 15:42:29-05

Lori Lakin Hutcherson is a television producer and screenwriter. She’s also the creator of a website dedicated specifically to telling positive stories about Black people in the U.S. and around the world.

“We want to amplify those stories, those people and those events that haven’t necessarily gotten a lot of attention that really need to be brought to light,” Hutcherson said.

Good Black News includes original stories from freelance writers and reporters, but also shares positive news stories about people of color from other reputable sites.

“People who contribute to it are all volunteers," Hutcherson said. "I mean nobody gets paid. It’s just something we all do in our spare time.”

Dena Crowder is a contributor to Good Black News. She has a journalism degree from the University of Southern California. She says she started contributing to Good Black News because she wants to change an old narrative, one she says many of us buy into without even realizing it.

“To grow up hearing that some kind of person is bad, it’s harmful to the psyche," Crowder said. "It creates an entire way of approaching and dealing with that person. It dehumanizes.”

Both Crowder and Hutcherson believe that historically Black people have been portrayed unfairly in the mainstream media.

“They would show pictures of African Americans in particular looking sullen or angry or just not in a very positive light,” Hutcherson said.

Doni Aldine teaches media and global cultural identity at Colorado State University. She's also the Editor-in-Chief of CULTURS: The Global Multicultural Magazine.

“So, if you grew up in a place where you’re not around Black people – you don’t see them; you don’t know what they’re like – you’re going to absorb what you see in media,” Aldine said.

She says the first step in better representing people of color is through education.

“Blackness isn’t a monolith, right? Everyone doesn’t think the same,” Aldine said.

She emphasizes there’s so much diversity within the Black community and believes we all need to make a purposeful effort to reach out to people who think differently.

“If your world has looked like this and you’re trying to get perspective in this area, it’s going to take a lot of work to do so," Aldine said. "But it can be done. It takes a lot of personal growth and empathy, but we can get there.”

Hutcherson says another solution to the problem of misrepresentation is hiring more people of color as journalists.

Crowder believes there’s a simpler answer that involves self-reflection.

“We have to look at what are the stories that we are telling about Black people," Crowder said. "Not just out there in the media, but what are the stories inside of ourselves that we are telling on an unconscious level.”