Black Demons: The Media's Depiction of the African American Male Criminal Stereotype

By Dennis Rome | Go to book overview

Preface

The main idea for this book was developed, in part, several years ago when Susan Smith, a young white mother of Union, South Carolina, strapped her small children into the backseat of her car and drove the car into a lake. Before she confessed to this act, she told police and representatives of the media that her car had been carjacked by an African American male. She gave the police a description of a young African American male wearing a skull cap: the image of a criminal for most Americans. A small group of my undergraduate students and a few of my faculty colleagues and I would frequently gather informally to discuss current events and issues that pertained especially to the African American community. It was through these impromptu and informal gatherings that Black Demons was born. I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, these strikingly brilliant people who comprised these gatherings: Professors Fred McElroy, Gloria Gibson, and Coramae Mann; among my favorite undergraduate students were Pete Adams, Philmore Hutchins, and Christopher Bickel. Special thanks go to Rahsaan Bartet for his selection of icons used for the “conceptual entrapment of media” schema in chapter 3 and for his countless trips to the library to corroborate sources.1 My good friends and mentors David Takeuchi, Carla Howery and Norma Nager deserve special thanks for the unconditional love and support they continue to give me. Special gratitude is due also to Wendy Beck for her reading of earlier versions of this manuscript, and thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Chermak for whom without his encouragement and support this manuscript would not have come to fruition.

-xi-

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