Blog Post #4 Prompt

In the Introduction to his book Seeing through Race, Martin A. Berger (not related to John Berger) lays out the thesis of his book’s interpretation of the photography associated with the U.S. Civil Rights era (1950s &1960s). According to Berger, newspaper and magazine editors selected photographs based on their perceived power to draw out the of their white readers. The result, Berger continues, was that “the media could not assuage the racial anxieties of whites without affecting the depiction of blacks.” This meant that photographs that featured the black protestors succumbing to white violence was more common than depictions of black-led political action. In other words, editors, especially white ones, were more likely to use photographs featuring black people as victims as opposed to black people standing up for their rights.

Recently, we have seen a similar dynamic at play as media depictions of the killing of George Floyd caused many white allies to take to the streets in solidarity with black Americans. We have also seen media depictions of African-American protests incite white racial anxieties about black violence.

What do you make of Berger’s argument? Do you agree, disagree, or something in between? Use the information from Chapter 4 of They Say/I Say and the “Sheridan Baker Thesis Machine” and write a thesis statement in which you take a position on Berger’s argument.

3 thoughts on “Blog Post #4 Prompt

  • October 5, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Taron Lewis

    I think what Berger’s argument meant was about how Black People stand up for themselves and the people who was racist and just arresting them to stop them from getting rights. From my point of view it showed how the that era people was just racist and didn’t care about people who different no matter of there skin color or because of where they came from or of there sexuality, but the important part is where the problem with arresting innocent black people is where George Floyd got arrested but instead got killed by the cops for no reason. I think that’s how Berger’s was stating out the 1950’s era.

  • October 8, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Berger is right when he talks about how the media plays to the white audience especially through media during BLM protest when it was at its height with a lot of supporters behind it, especially using images to show very graphic stuff as an example with the George Floyd death and how the media used that to show white Americans the horror an innocent man was put through, especially within older times how the media used the struggle and hardship of Black Americans throughout the times to show their voicelessness in America. Also, it draws a more white audience too because now using pictures to show Black people as victims instead of powerful people/leaders

  • October 19, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    The media couldn’t mitigate the racial nerves of whites without influencing the portrayal of blacks. when they’re brought together, challenging what’s going on and to support social liberties together, it gets ignored. I concur with Berger on the grounds that the media shows more pictures of blacks as casualties to energize white individuals’ attention to dark social liberties. In late May of 2020 after George Floyd’s demise a lot of whites rampaged to participate in fight with black Americans since they saw “Floyd the victim”. This pulled in whites and urged them additionally to support racial change in the public eye.

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