From Imus to Jena and several Sharpton stops in between: The media’s role in racial polarization; Mark Albrecht

The tragic Don Imus and Jena 6 situations were two of the biggest stories highlighted by the media in 2007. And the term “race” served as the back-drop. Predictably, the African-American, dynamic duo of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton stepped up to participate and serve as “de-facto” representatives as national dialogue began. But what exactly are Sharpton and Jackson’s roles, who appoints them, and what are the effects of their participation in these types of situations?

Additionally, what kind of dialogue did we end up with as a nation? Are we better off for it? How was that dialogue moderated? And what role did the media play in all of this?

Ethical Society member Mark Albrecht is a Senior Media Communications Major with a double minor in Multicultural Studies and Anthropology at Webster University. Three years ago, Mark had a personal epiphany. Witnessing the state of affairs in the city, state, nation, world and planet, he realized that if he didn’t get personally involved in social change, then it was not realistic for him to expect positive change.

At Webster, Mark has been active in many student organizations including the University Recycling Committee, ONE Webster (student branch of the ONE Campaign to end global poverty and AIDS), Behavioral and Social Sciences Club, and Habitat for Humanity. He traveled to New Orleans twice to do Hurricane Katrina recovery work and advocacy and is in the process of doing a documentary on the topic. Mark won a Dean’s Award for Service from Webster University in 2007 for his work to bring awareness to Katrina’s after-math.

Currently, his focus is social justice through Media Literacy and Media Re-form and working with Jobs with Justice, ACORN, wecanmo.org, Think Before You Ink campaign, and other grassroots efforts focusing on responsible humanity.