The Kobe Bryant sexual assault case will probably be America’s most watched court case since the O.J. Simpson trial. America’s media from the initial accusation to the arrest has cast the verdict of guilty upon Kobe Bryant.
Newspaper, magazine, cable news and radio media have enhanced the classic American stereotype of black men raping white women by filling articles with descriptions.
Bryant: BLACK. Victim: WHITE.
This creates not only a negative current of prejudice in the minds of many, but also the assumption of guilt. Descriptions of the accused have been “a lily white girl” from Colorado. This signifies a sense of innocence and purity. On the other hand, Bryant is the “Big Black Guy” who raped her. It’s as if the alleged victim is Little Red Riding Hood and Kobe is the Big Bad Wolf.
Media, combined with Colorado law, have protected the alleged victim’s portrayal of innocence. Despite rumors of drug use, attempted suicide, depression and an unhealthy state of mind, this woman who should be seen as naÃ¯ve, weak and distressed is being shown as a victim rather than a liar.
She remains nameless, faceless and covered by the media and rape shield laws. Supposedly, the law is trying to create a sense of innocence about her because if her face and name were known that could create even more trauma. Well what about the trauma created for Bryant-doesn’t that matter?
Every day, the media sway the public opinion. Headlines concerning Bryant have been filled with the word “Guilty!” But is Bryant guilty because he is a man? Or is he guilty because he is black?
All of these are questions contrary to the law “innocent until proven guilty.” If the media truly assumed Bryant was innocent they would focus on the accuser being a liar, not Bryant being a rapist.
The media should focus on the fact that Bryant is an innocent man, and shall remain so until proven guilty. It should also focus on its role in keeping the jury pool unpolluted by speculation and assumptions.
With Eagle County having only 142 black people out of a 3500 population, peers will not judge Bryant Therefore, it’s imperative the media begin to portray one of America’s greatest basketball stars as innocent.
Ra Teagle, 29, is a junior magazine journalism student from Philadelphia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.