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Shaping the External Narrative

Grennetta Taylor

The media holds great power to shape the narrative about a place. This storyteller discussed how local Cleveland media coverage on East Cleveland focused so often on negative stories that it created an almost exclusively negative image of the city. This had consequences for East Cleveland as a city, but also served as a way to divide people. Racism is taught in many subtle and some overt ways. Once people learn racism, it can be used to scapegoat an entire people - to blame them for institutional and structural challenges that could not possibly be their fault. These forms of negative stereotyping and blaming often work to divide people based on where they live and prevents them from seeing potential shared interests, thereby undermining change while helping to maintain the status quo.