Bronx youths protest media's portrayal of minorities

THE BRONX - Members of a Bronx youth group protested what they think are unfair representations of minorities in the media at the Bronx Supreme Court Wednesday.

Members of the Bronx Youth Empowerment Group joined up with the Enough is Enough campaign, which is protesting Viacom?s portrayal of minorities. Viacom owns cable networks MTV, VH1 and BET.

?[Viacom portrays] our young people as thugs, pimps and gangsters and young women as B?s and H?s,? says Damien Walters.

The group feels images seen on cable television channels negatively portray minorities and hurt their chances when up against authorities like police officers or court members. Campaigners say the network should reject racy or violent content.

Viacom representatives say the network takes responsibility seriously. They say Viacom is introducing programming that explores a wide range of experiences in black culture ?that reflect the full spectrum of our audience?s diverse interests.?

Others, though, say individuals must take responsibility for how they present themselves.

?When people are wearing the doo-rags and the baggy jeans, what are you supposed to think? They need to change,? says Thelma Brailford.

Group members say they?re about to begin phase two of the campaign. They?re mailing letters to people in the community to build awareness and they?re collecting signatures for a petition that they plan to send to the president of Viacom.

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