I would like to use this post to begin stitching some of the ideas we have been going over regarding Black Media Trust in the last few days. While I parse through what I have written thus far, I would also like to include the thoughts of other writers and thinkers.
The first piece I wrote that I want us to look at is the “Who Owns Who??? Black Online Media” post.
Looking at this post, the first question I would review and question is::
Why is it important for a person to know the racial or ethnic heritage of those that own these companies?
Race is a major factor in the social and political lives of citizens living in the United States of America. Racial designators like skin tone, hair type, and assumed cultural determiners like name and style are used by law enforcement to weigh life and death decisions. Race designators and cultural determiners are used by people who chose who or who will not be given a job and thus resources to live on.
In her book, “Trust In Black America: Race, Discrimination, And Politics”, Shayla C. Nunnally discusses at length the social dynamics that have caused Blacks to distrust not only Whytes but other racially organized groups. In her introduction to the book, she gives a quick explanation of the history that leads to some of the reasons US Blacks respond to other racialized groups with regard to trust.
…racial attitudes toward black Americans by other historically discriminated groups also can be negative or perceivably competitive in ways that can inhibit cross-group relations….Civil rights violations by ordinary citizens (white and nonwhite) thus also taint social relationships between racial groups–social relationships that the trust literature would argue should be meaningful for enhancing trusting relations between citizens and government, writ large.
The psychological effects of abuse by the state and civilians during the pre-1960s era contributed to blacks’ development of insular communities to respond to and provide agency to black Americans’ circumstances…But, on the downside, black intragroup relations were complicated by out-group racial subjugation, color-line favoritism toward lighter-skinned black Americans, race-class intersections and dualities, racialized gender stratifications, and even negative psychological conceptions about fellow blacks that informed the politics of blacks during the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries…Thus, even how black in-group members identify with and treat other in-group members can be complicated by the negative orientations learned about blackness and incorporated into their racial belief system…Such intraracial attitudes, aside from those of nonblacks, also can reduce blacks’ trust in other blacks.
Shayla C. Nunnally, “Trust In Black America: Race, Discrimination, And Politics”(Pages 10-11)
Before I delve into the above passage, I would like for us to read another selection from Nunnally.
…despite whites’ developing increasingly liberalized views about race and racial policies…, the racial divide in public opinion remains prominent even today…Whites with negative attitudes about blacks either subscribe to principled opposition to blacks who are viewed as possessing comportment that is at odds with American values, or they harbor racial antipathy toward blacks, castigating them as social and political outsiders…
Blacks’ racial consciousness about their plight as members of a low-status group continually informs their sociopolitical realities and interests…, making race a probable factor in reducing or increasing their social and political trusts. With increasing real and perceived political and economic competition between blacks and other nonwhite groups such as Latinos and Asian Americans…, race and the risk of racial discrimination potentially affect contemporary trust relations among these groups, as well. Blacks’ racial experiences, therefore, warrant a fuller understanding of how historically institutionalized racism, contemporary racial attitudes, and perceptions of intergroup relationships affect their trust in present society.
…historical and contemporary racial experiences promote(d) distrust among Americans and distrust of their government. So “distrust,” not “trust”, has been the basis on which race relations have been institutionalized in America. Blacks’ historical discrimination experiences, moreover, have become the foci of explanations for their contemporary low-level political and social trusts compared to other racial groups.
Shayla C. Nunnally, “Trust In Black America: Race, Discrimination, And Politics”(Page 11)
There is so much in Nunnally’s work for us to sort through and process. For our purposes here, the notions of racial, or group, trust and distrust are most important. US Blacks have a historical trajectory, a path of past deeds leading to today and the future, of distrust for not only Whytes, but also other nonBlack groupings, including themselves. There is a need to question the acts of others with regard to Blacks. There is a reasonable and rational distrust that US Blacks have for other groups and even their own members.
There is a need for distrust of any group of people using the image of Blacks, whether fictive(“Cookie”, “Olivia Pope”) or interpretative(Images of murdered Black bodies, Civil Rights luminaries, US Black Icons/Celebrities). As Nunnally states, even outside the context of respectability politics, race has a precedence of creating justifications for group exclusions. Race has been used as a reason for excluding people from jobs and resources even when those excluded are not seeking to appease the other group.
There is a social hierarchy based on race in the United States and any group in control of the messages transmitted about US Blacks needs to be distrusted and questioned. Any group with control over machinery that allows them to transmit images and messages about US Blacks needs to be questioned. In order to be questioned, it is necessary to know who owns who or what.