From Berger’s perspective, he suggests that the white press used photos of black protesters to expose the image of the black race being the victims and then raise awareness among white folks. My opinion is somewhere in between. People consume different kind of media, some media displays blacks as a revolutionary community and some other media presents the black community as defenders of their rights. Now with the current media I think that the way discrimination is treated is very different from how it was done before, now it is easier to give an opinion and interpret the images from a point of view other than the media but still there are still contradictory differences between people.
According to Berger, the media portrayed black people as victims of violence to catch the attention of white viewers. However, I somewhat disagree with this statement. There are very famous photographs of black activists such as Martin Luther King for example. When we think back on him we remember the image of someone who stood up for his rights, not really a victim of violence. I believe photographers did a little of both back in the day and today. And I do believe photographs of them standing up for their rights circulated around quickly within the whites because a group of people they hate standing up will definitely be talked about. Although in recent times the image of George Floyd’s death gained a lot of viewers, today the media shows us more and more activists who are standing up to law enforcement and won’t be victimized.
Berger believed that white periodicals consistently portrayed black people in a negative manner, and that white journalists’ use of photographs strengthened white dominance. I’m in the middle of things. White magazines, in my opinion, only highlight the negative aspects of the Civil Rights Movement, never displaying images of individuals peacefully protesting or simply standing up for their rights. On the other hand, I believe that cases like these, such as the case of George Floyd and Trevon Martin, are considered much more severely nowadays when it comes to displaying discrimination against black people.
Although black violence was shown in the streets, I agree with Berger that newspaper and magazine editors selected photographs based on their perceived power to draw out the of their white readers. Photography stores only wanted money and did not consider what the consequences were. They used images of violence to talk down on Black people to show how they are helpless when their not. These images would show the power of White people when they should not have power over Black people’s treatment. White people were benefited from the images feeling fearless.
Images captured of African Americans during the Civil Rights era shows them protesting and marching for their rights, but the portrayal was meant to depict them as weak and incapable of fighting for their rights. In the images the whites always had the upper hand Martin Berger explains the portrayal as a way to ease “white racial anxiety”. Although Martin also makes the point that images were also used to win over sympathy to get some whites on the side of blacks, I agree with Berger the images “ stuck to a restricted menu of narratives that performed reassuring symbolic work.” the media wanted to secure whites and ensure them that blacks were not a threat to their racial power.
Berger presents some ideas about how publishers and newspapers reached out to “white people” readers. He claimed that the white press used images of black people as victims and not as people defending their rights. However, these photographs, far from demonstrating the skill of the blacks, only served to feed the ego of the whites. For the press, it was easier to expose blacks as victims, thus alleviating the racial anxiety of whites. I agree with Berger that it was easier for the press to harm blacks because whites oppressed them. These kinds of violent images gave whites the power to treat blacks however they wanted. However, blacks have stood out as people who have always fought for their rights. They have always wanted to be treated as part of society, not by their skin color.
I agree with Berger’s arguments. In his book, Berger lays out his views on how newspapers and magazine editors to news from the white readers’ point of view. Photography reinforces the image of black people as victims to alleviate white racial anxiety. However, these media reports are very unreasonable. White people use these photographs to shape public opinion about black. Although there are still a few media reports about the positive aspects of black people, it is hard to change social perception because these unfair ways of reporting have been around for a long time. Moreover, to create a rational perspective of reporting, the media should analyze photographs from both black and white sides.
Although the news reporters wouldn’t have secured certain financial gain, it would have been best long term if they took a different approach in capturing the civil rights protests. Berger is right about the media using African-Americans as victims doing as much harm as it did good, however I disagree with the statement that it was to soothe this concept of “white anxiety”. The idea of white anxiety is used as a poor interpretation by mainstream media and some political narratives to gain leverage on “white America”. Berger’s claim that the African American social image was tainted due to the necessity to portray them as victims in order to sooth white anxiety rests on the questionable black & white common ways of that X can’t happen without Y being affected negative. If the media didn’t frame African-Americans protesting as victims, then the alternative photographs would be of those depicting African-American civil rights activists trying to overthrow an existing system right? That’s exactly where the attempt to avoid “white anxiety” would arise, so no. Instead, it would do civil rights activists more justice if a timeline of photos were posed on media outlets rather than a picture taken out of context. If a society integrated with African-Americans could have been a certain possibility, then it would have been better to cater to a more fair depiction of the world events objectively rather than to anyone’s favor.
Berger states that the white media would use their publications to illustrate black people negatively and use it to increase the force and superiority of white people. For this reason, I agree with Berger due to the clear evidence that white people wanted to create this atmosphere that everything revolved around them and made them think they had the right to treat black people the way they thought it was correct. This issue led to both outcomes for both communities, but unfortunately, it only increased the integrity of white people. Movements like this only promote white supremacy and racism worldwide.
Berger argues that photographs of the civil rights movement were used by white press to convey blacks as powerless to feed the white racial power. I agree with Berger as we can clearly see similarities within the photographs that were published: defenseless black restrained by white supremacy. Since photographs of violences catch more attention, it is no doubt that publishers use these kinds of images. This results in an adverse effect on the movement as it promotes violence against black while alleviating white anxieties.