Emenike Stereotypes

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Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer (2009:342) argue in the Du Bois Review that “racism is much broader than violence and epithets” and reveals itself in common, everyday microaggressions. In May 2010, a string of assaults on elderly citizens of Asian descent by black individuals transpired in the San Francisco Bay area (Shih 2010). CBS San Francisco ran a segment covering the attacks featuring an interview with a 21-year-old black man named Amanze Emenike, who had a criminal history of juvenile robbery and theft (CBS 2012). CBS uses Emenike’s history as a basis for theorizing the motives driving the black attackers in the May 2010 attacks. This news segment sheds light on troubling portrayals of black men and people of color in mass media as all being dangerous criminals, as well as the stereotypes fueling racism amongst minority groups. Throughout the interview, reporter Mike Sugerman …show more content…

By using his role to depict Emenike as a former criminal representative of all black men in the media, Sugerman commits a fixed and legalistic fallacy. This dynamic proves reminiscent of campaigns demonizing and criminalizing blacks during the reconstruction and post-reconstruction eras in Jim Crow South (Gilmore 2006:92). A legalistic fallacy assumes removing racism as a legal theory also removes it from practice (Desmond and Emirbayer 2009:343). Although Emenike has now been out of prison for some time, the systemic oppression and inherent racism towards black men, remains with him. This can be seen through Sugerman’s casual references to Emenike’s robberies when he was a juvenile as a “reign of terror” (CBS 2012). Sugerman also continually refers to Emenike’s interview as “a unique view of the high-profile Black-on Asian crime” (CBS 2012), implying a history of robbery as a black man made Emenike an expert on black

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