Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Rhetoric Alumnus Published in Young Scholars in Writing Journal

Mon, September 9, 2019
Rhetoric Alumnus Published in Young Scholars in Writing Journal

Heather Yarrish, an alumnus and graduate of the Rhetoric and Writing honors program, was published in the most recent issue of the prestigious Young Scholars In Writing journal. Her article "White Protests, Black Riots: Racialized Representation in American Media," a revision of her honors thesis, analyzes news media coverage and language surrounding the Detroit Riots of 1967 and the Kent State shootings of 1970.

The abstract of the article has been copied below:

As many political figures have recently noted, there is a significant racial disparity in American news media’s coverage of riots: black rioters are portrayed as dangerous criminals, but white rioters are simply a group of rowdy demonstrators. This article shows the historical roots of this phenomenon by analyzing newspaper coverage of riots in Detroit (1967) and Kent State University (1970) in the first week after each riot began. This research helps establish a pattern of news media’s racialized representation in the context of urban riots. Upon analysis, it is clear that news media villainize black rioters and victimize white rioters, and that these characterizations impact public response. News media thus create different understandings of ultimately similar behavior depending on the rioters’ race—and have for at least the past 50 years.

Heather's piece can be read here on the journal's website.

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