Secondly, dominant ideologies in the media represent criminals as demoralized and dangerous individuals while, on the other hand, police officers are depicted as “honest and heroic public servants” (Hirschfield and Simon 2010: 155). In turn, these forms of ideologies lead to individuals blaming the victims for their experienced abuse. In addition, according to William Ryan (1976: 3) the formula for blaming the victim is, “justifying inequality by finding defects in the victims of inequality”. In other words, blaming the victim occurs when the victim of a crime is held accountable for the violence that they endured. Thus, the victim of the crime is blamed for his or her suffering. In addition, as mentioned above, dominant ideologies which associate criminals to dishonest and demoralized individuals and police officers as heroes who protect the community, influences the general public to see no wrong doing in police officer’s actions (Ryan 1976: 11). Therefore, police brutality against African Americans are legitimized as these ideologies influence individuals to blame the victim in a crime who is believed to be dishonest and dangerous (Hirschfield and Simon 2010: 155). This is evident in the case of Tony Robinson, who was a 19 year old African American male that was fatally shot by a white police officer (Shoichet and Mullen 2015). Robinson was unarmed when he was shot seven times by officer Matt Kenny (Shoichet and Mullen 2015). After deliberation, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced that officer Kenny would not face charges for Tony Robinson’s death (Shoichet and Mullen 2015). Additionally, before Ozanne announced officer Kenny’s innocence he stressed the fact that Tony Robinson was on dr...
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...mately how they influence individual actions and beliefs in society. Furthermore, from exploring the ideologies which legitimize police brutality against African Americans, I have determined that Blacks are being depicted as criminals, this idea may seem ‘natural’ as the media portrays them in this light. Therefore this dominant ideology influences police officers to use excessive and unnecessary force when dealing with African Americans. Ideologies that exist in society is responsible for shaping and influencing individual action as ideologies provide individuals with meanings. Hence, when African Americans are portrayed as being criminals individuals believe this ideology to be true as a natural trait for Black bodies therefore when violence is committed against them the general public along with police officers feel it to be necessary in order to prevent crime.
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