Race scandals as racial projects

Authored by: Maryann Erigha

The routledge companion to media and scandal

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815387596
eBook ISBN: 9781351173001
Adobe ISBN:


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Ideas about race, racial ideologies, and racism are enmeshed in media scandals. What unfolds are race scandals—scandals that (1) involve disclosures of individual or institutional racism, (2) reveal moral or legal transgressions that violate accepted societal norms, and (3) receive widespread media and public attention. Race scandals remain a prominent fixture in United States (U.S.) media. Herman Gray’s (1997) framework of “scandal” versus scandal brings attention to the different ways audiences construct and reify race scandals. Gray uses “scandal” in reference to questionable “race scandals” created by whites—either through fictional media representations or biased mediation in journalistic coverage of real events. He uses scandal in reference to actual scandals where racial inequality, disparities, and discrimination form central components of injustice within a high-profile media narrative.

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