Libraries Aren’t Immune to Media Bias Against Teens

Teen slashed opponent with knife during game, police say

I selected this article because I wanted recent news that happened near the East Meadow Public Library where I work. The incident occurred across the street from the library in Eisenhower Park. The article describes how a Uniondale teen slashed another teen in the face with a knife during a basketball game.

The phrase “became irate”, stated by Nassau County Police, is quoted in the article. The article says that the motivation for the stabbing isn’t clear. Based on stereotypes against teens, the article subtly portrays him as possibly emotionally unstable. As Morgan so adequately stated in her post, “silently affecting the situation’s portrayal” is the fact that the teen in my article is a POC. Similar to Morgan’s article, there are other factors in my article that feed into stereotypes. The picture, for example, shows the teen with blood shot eyes and a scowling expression.

It’s easy to view this as an isolated incident. We could say that this story is about one bad seed, and harmless to teens in general. However, the bias against teenagers is very real. Unfortunately, these biases affect how libraries treat teens too. When I studied library spaces to research for a community profile, it was apparent to me how often teen spaces are small and isolated from the rest of the library. At a library I used to frequent, the clerks were harsher toward the teens than other patrons, and the security guard would shout at them for talking too much. The whole library could hear him, and there were multiple scenarios where he threatened to call the police. Library workers need to be extra careful about what news they read, and about their own internal biases when serving teen patrons.

Boyle, M. (2017, August 29). What Can Be Learned From News Stories About Local Teens. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from https://morganlefay73.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/what-can-be-learned-from-news-stories-about-local-teens/

Valenti, J. (2017, August 28). Teen slashed with knife during game, cops say. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from http://www.newsday.com/long-island/crime/teen-slashed-opponent-with-knife-during-game-police-say-1.14094506

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One thought on “Libraries Aren’t Immune to Media Bias Against Teens

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    I think all library staff need to go through cultural sensitivity training so that we are all on the same page with how patrons should be treated regardless of age. I for one am guilty for treating teens a certain way as well but I believe I’ve learned from my mistakes and now I get respect. That’s all it really bolils down to as a result we want which is respect and honesty from the public we serve.

    Like

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