Racial Spectacles: Explorations in Media, Race, and Justice examines the crucial role the media has played in circulating and shaping national dialogues about race through representations of crime and racialized violence. Jonathan Markovitz argues that mass media "racial spectacles" often work to shore up racist stereotypes, but that they also provide opportunities to challenge prevalent conceptions of race, and can be seized upon as vehicles for social protest. This book explores a series of mass media spectacles revolving around the news, prime-time television, Hollywood cinema, and the internet that have either relied upon, reconfigured, or helped to construct collective memories of race, crime, and (in)justice. The case studies explored include the Scottsboro interracial rape case of the 1930s, the Kobe Bryant rape case, the Los Angeles Police Department’s "Rampart scandal," the Abu Ghraib photographs, and a series of racist incidents at the University of California. 

This book will prove to be important not only for courses on race and media, but also for any reader interested in issues of the media's role in social justice.

chapter |18 pages


chapter 1|30 pages

“Exploding the Myth of the Black Rapist”

Collective Memory and the Scottsboro Nine

chapter 2|25 pages

Anatomy of a Spectacle

Race, Gender, and Memory in the Kobe Bryant Rape Case

chapter 3|22 pages

Framing Police Corruption

The LAPD Rampart Scandal in The News

chapter 4|28 pages

Reel Bad Cops

Hollywood's Appropriation of the Rampart Scandal

chapter 5|35 pages

Racial Spectacles Under An Anti-Racist Gaze

New Media and Abu Ghraib