The Stories They Tell: Mainstream Media, Pedagogies of Healing, and Critical Media Literacy

Baker-Bell, A., Stanbrough, R.J., & Everett, S. (2017). The stories they tell: Mainstream media, pedagogies of healing, and critical media literacy. English Education, 49(2), 130-152. Retrieved from 


Pedagogies of healing and critical media literacy are important, especially in the wake of racial violence when mainstream media work to stigmatize, characterize, and marginalize Black youth by projecting them as dangerous Others. In this article, we offer an overview of how mainstream media reinscribe and reinforce white supremacy, which leads to anti-blackness. Next, we discuss the impact that uncritical consumption of mainstream media narratives of Black people has on media consumers and how Black youth use social media as counterspaces. We then theorize about pedagogies of healing and critical media literacy as tools to encourage Black youth to investigate, dismantle, and rewrite the damaging narratives. We conclude with sample lesson plans and a discussion of how English educators have a responsibility to use our discipline to transform our world and raise awareness of the crisis of racial injustice.


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