Publication Date

Spring 5-25-2017

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Mokhtar Bouba

Abstract

Police violence towards African Americans in the United States have gained greater international attention in this decade due to social media and increased media coverage. Alton Sterling’s death in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2016 resulted in local pushes for criminal and racial justice reform. However, international community members were largely absent from both community dialogue and action. Keeping this in mind, my research question is as follows: To what extent does media coverage of American police violence impact the perspectives of south Louisiana’s international community members with regards to African Americans and American society. Through qualitative research methodology, this study will illustrate the extent to which media coverage of police violence shaped international community members’ perspectives.

The six-week research study lasted from January to March 2017, with Baton Rouge and New Orleans the two main locations. Twenty-three respondents contributed through either semi-structured interviews or surveys. Respondents were asked about domestic and media coverage of American police violence, its influence on their perspectives regarding African Americans and American society, and the impact that the Alton Sterling incident had on their perspectives. This study reveals factors such as social identity and interpretation of media shape their perspectives more than media coverage alone.

Disciplines

African American Studies | American Studies | Anthropology | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Communication | Ethnic Studies | International and Area Studies | Sociology