Media Seduction

I was reading an article called, Black College Enrollment in South Rising (you can read it here) and I was thinking to myself, this is great news! I immediately started taking notes for my post, planning how I was going to present this wonderful information to my fellow Blackademicians. However, as I continued through the article I discovered that my excitement was premature. What I thought was a Godsend, was merely a statistical phenomenon-a result of population growth (never trust statistics). The growing Latino population in the United States has reduced the proportion of population that is Black, thus bringing the percentage of Blacks living in the south closer to the number of Blacks enrolled in college. So the article was not actually about Black enrollment increasing, as much as Black population decreasing to enrollment numbers. Meanwhile the growing Latino population is attending college at a rate well below their population numbers. This article should have been called, “Black college enrollment, stable. Latino college enrollment, dismal.” But with a sexy, misleading title and confident quotes like,

For the first time ever in the South, blacks are as well represented on college campuses as they are in the region’s population as a whole!

one could easily be seduced by this article as I was. The real danger with media like this is not simply being misled, but it is the ensuing complacency. When people read headlines like these, it allows them to pat themselves on the back and sleep at night while conditions in our schools continue to deteriorate. If you’re not a media literate critical thinker, it can easily fly right under the radar. So this is really just a memo 1. to set the record strait for people who come across the article, (which was published today at news.yahoo.com) and 2. to encourage us all to stay on our toes and not fall prey to the media.

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Published on June 25, 2007 at 12:51 pm. 34 Comments.
Filed under news/politics.