Arts-Based Critique of the Media’s False Images of Racial Protests

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Ana Cannon
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
We live in a very visual culture, surrounded by images everywhere we turn. These images, especially in news and advertising, influence our ideals, thoughts, and actions. With my interactive thesis art exhibition, I challenged my audiences’ notions of race representation and what makes them think the way they do about race representation and racial protests. By framing the 1992 Los Angeles uprisings in two different perspectives, I opened the conversation up to how media coverage influences the way we perceive events, including the recent coverage of George Floyd's death and subsequent protests in 2020. My creative project emphasized the importance of reading for the dominant forces that influence a visual form (visual rhetoric), and how visual rhetoric functions persuasively. KEYWORDS: racial protests; media representation; motivated representations; Rodney King; Los Angeles 1992 protests; police brutality; race bias; racial protest bias