Sports Media's Influence on Black Youth in America

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Sports television has an adverse influence on black male youth, particularly those who come from low income households. The media glorifies professional athletes and gives these youngsters a false sense of upward mobility and success through sports while minimalizing academic performance and hard work. According to Jeffery Bierman in his award winning paper The Effect of Television Sports Media on Black Male Youth the media presents unrealistic aspirations of job opportunities for impressionable black youths and “creates a false sense of potential career success” (1) which motivates and encourages these young males to focus on athletics and not academics. Some of the reasons why sports television has a huge impact on black male youth are because blacks living in poverty tend to watch more television than their white counterparts and they also watch more shows or events that showcase black people. Blacks are more likely to watch sports because there is a large representation of them and they are shown in a positive, glamorous and respectful image. The professional athlete serves as a symbol of upward mobility and financial security, something these young males desire to have. The problems lies in the way of how the media depicts sports as an avenue for a professional career when in fact it is a long shot that one will ever achieve greatness on a professional level. Blacks who live in poverty are accustomed to watching a great deal of television and Bierman and others believe that blacks who are less educated begin to blur realism from fantasy and may not be savvy enough to make the distinction between the two. Those from a higher socioeconomic status tend to seek out reality in their teen years while those from lower socioeconomic status tend to stay fixated on their fantasies. There’s evidence that blacks living in poverty drop out of school more than their

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