I must admit that I was a little skeptical about this week's selection. Even though from the moment I saw it, I knew right away it was an easy candidate. The problem was I also knew the minute I saw it that it would spread across the internet like wildfire because of the stereotypical behavior involved. My highlighting it here would be feeding into that. Unless I could find a way to spin it which is exactly what I did.
What I'm referring to is the story of the alleged rapist in Alabama. A projects section of Alabama. If you happened to miss the original story that aired, you can view it by clicking here. The story is that some guy snuck into his sister's bedroom in the middle of the night and got out before his sister and/or her brother, who stays with her, could catch the guy. The brother, named Antoine Dodson, was more than willing to recap the events, complete with his own commentary, to the news reporter. The rest is history.
When I first saw the link for this story, I knew for sure it just had to be a joke. There was no way that somebody would be that stereotypical on television. They would have to know that they would instantly be the butt of jokes everywhere. Especially in this internet age. No one with any common sense would get on tv acting like that. Well apparently Antoine would.
As easy as it would be to put this entire award on Antoine, I just can't do that. I could even give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he wasn't intelligent enough to know that his behavior did not show him (and consequently us) in a favorable light at all. The entity just as much to blame for that is the news reporter who did the story and the station that ran it.
We constantly have discussions about how news reporters purposely try to find the most ignorant Black person possible when they do stories like these. Like they revel trying to portray us in the most negative light possible. Granted, it has been better in recent years than it has the past, but it still happens. This story is proof of that. That is the reason why Elizabeth Gentle and WGAF Channel 48 News shares some responsibility as well.
I studied Broadcast Journalism (actually known then as Electronic Media Studies) as my major at Iowa State. One thing that was always hammered home was trying to find that one sound and/or video byte that will really make the story pop. I know that the folks at WGAF Channel 48 news had to be overjoyed with the gold that Antoine had dropped into their laps. I would be interested to see what the raw footage looked like before they edited it. Unfortunately, I'm guessing it probably doesn't make Antoine look any better. Or us either for that matter.