As Virginia's gubernatorial election approaches, campaign advertisements continue to saturate local networks competing for potential votes. Commercial advertisements in some form or fashion are designed to shape and influence a person's perception primarily on a subconscious level. Today, what caught my attention on television was a campaign advertisement supported by Ed Gillespie (Republican) against his opponent Ralph Northam ( Democrat ). Within Ed Gillespie's campaign advertisement, he utilizes imagery suggesting the violent nature of the MS- 13 gang members. His message: The complete eradication of violent offenders. There is a depiction of a male Hispanic with brown complexion skin and tattoos. Acrossed the Hispanic's body are thick white boldfaced capitalized letters spelling RAPE and MURDER. This tactic is reminiscent of former Governor George Bush (Texas) campaigning for the 41st presidency with a tough on crime stance utilizing imagery of Willie Horton, a parolee who savagely rape and murdered a white woman. Now, if you were to ask any person out in society what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the two words used together: VIOLENT OFFENDER. The general consensus is murder and rape.
It's important to realize that African Americans and Hispanics don't have a monopoly on violent offenses. In fact, Whites commit the same violent offenses either at the same rate or more than any other ethnicity in the U.S. The two questions I pose are:
Question 1.) Why do politicians use imagery designating Hispanics and African Americans when confronting the issue of violent crimes?
Question 2.) Why don't you ever see images of young white males being depicted as violent offenders as a strategy for tough on crime rhetoric used in campaign advertisements considering they commit violent offenses at the same rate as blacks and hispanics if not more?