The Most Racist Show on Television
A Look At The First 48
· March 15, 2012
I cannot stand A&E’s television show, The First 48. Every time I tune in all I see is black-on-black crime and black folks in trouble with the law. The First 48 is another cop-based documentary filmed in various cities in the United States. The show allows the viewer to see the real world of homicide investigations. Police departments give A&E an all-access pass inside the murder cases under investigation and showcase detectives using forensic evidence, witness interviews, and other advanced detective skills to identify suspects.
This show is reality television plain and simple, with crime sensationalized in typical media fashion, and the media always reports on crime that happens in or around urban areas. The First 48 goes deeper because the show not only sensationalizes crime but also exploits the disproportional figures of blacks caught up in the criminal justice system. It reminds the public that most of the violent crimes committed are by black offenders and plays on the reported statistics that indeed show that black offenders commit most violent crimes. Or are they?
According to homicide statistics released by the FBI in 2009, the number of reported homicide cases for that year showed that black offenders were at 5,890 while white offenders were at 5,286. The difference is not that significant. So why does The First 48 continue to show black-on-black crime? It is possible that the producers are unaware because they don’t care to know the statistics, but I’m convinced the show is racist. Even on A&E’s website other viewers notice and comment on the disparity of black crime always being shown. Look where they always film.
Every time I tune into the show the cities usually featured are Detroit, Memphis, Louisville, Birmingham, Kansas City, Dallas, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Atlanta and other surrounding cities in the southern most region of the United States. So these are the cities police departments that have allowed The First 48 to film and if you want to document crime statistics you have to start with the inner city. But for eleven seasons The First 48 has exposed it’s viewers to black-on-black crime and that is seriously disturbing.
The south has a large black population and Detroit is a major black urban city. The producers know this, yet they continue to film in these areas and continuously expose the viewing public to violent crimes committed by black offenders. If it is not a deliberate attempt by the shows producers to demonize black people then what is it because to the average viewer who is unaware and who always sees black-on-black crime on the show is going to think that black people are by nature violent offenders of the law. Crime and punishment and how it affects the black community is one of the most sensitive issues and for The First 48 to constantly expose and document it leads me to believe that the producers deliberately want to make black people look bad.
It’s really sad to see how this drama plays out to. I’m sure the cops aren’t telling the suspects they are interrogating that they are being filmed as they go along with their attempts to pit one person against the other in the classic game of the prisoner’s dilemma. I really love when the white detectives can’t get anywhere with the black suspects so in turn, they send the black detective in to try and relate. The black cops then breaks the whole situation down while trying to come across as a friend to a suspect who comes to realize how much of a mess he is in.
Controversy and bad press in recent years made some police departments have elected not to allow The First 48 to film. The Detroit Police Department was in the news after a raid gone wrong for a suspect they were looking for, which was being documented by The First 48. A stray bullet went through the window right where 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was sleeping on the couch hitting her in the neck, where she shortly died thereafter. Detroit police were tipped that the suspect in a shooting case went into the Jones’s residence and who was later caught at a different address.
Federal law prohibits camera and television crews to be present in a suspects’ home and the debate will continue on the presence of television crews with police officers. Louisville’s police department also pulled out of The First 48 because of an incident that reported the wrong outcome of a shooting suspect in question on the show. The suspect was actually released from custody due to lack of evidence, but the show aired that he was still awaiting trial.
Controversy plus bad press equaled by lawsuits is a deadly equation And that is probably the only way The First 48 will be cancelled. Maybe that is the only way the producers will listen is with a string of bad publicity and lawsuits. Enough is enough with the black-on-black crime A&E.