Currently, America has been facing severe civil unrest after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the hands of a police officer who knelt on his neck for about eight minutes. Now, a report released earlier this year states that crime shows on TV may severely impact the public’s understanding of law enforcement.
In January this year, nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization Color of Change released “Normalizing Injustice: The Dangerous Misrepresentations that Define Television’s Scripted Crime Genre.”
The study stated that crime shows overwhelmingly portray the police department as nuanced, complex, and as heroes of sorts. This creates a notion that police personnel is to be valorized.
“Black people suffer greatly from the messages put out by the Crime TV genre and it’s far time for it to be taken into account,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, according to Indiewire. “Seeing President Trump tweet ‘Law & Order’ was a sick irony, because not only are law and order policies disastrous, but the program, and ones like it, are worsening conditions for black people. Our research has shown how the crime TV genre creates and advances distorted representations of crime, justice, race, and gender in media and culture while glamorizing police. The past week makes clear how disastrous and deadly the consequences are.”
These fictitious depictions build on false perceptions of the criminal justice system and how it intersects with race and gender while ignoring many important realities,” the report stated. “Because many viewers experience these depictions as realistic representations of the criminal justice system, they have the potential to influence viewers’ understanding of the criminal justice system and turn the public against critically overdue reform efforts.”