By Thomas Shevory
Within the fall of 1997, public gurus in Chautauqua County, big apple, have been granted an exception to the state’s HIV confidentiality law—and published Nushawn Williams’s identify and imagine to the clicking, deeming him a "public future health threat," the resource of a "near epidemic" of HIV transmission. Williams, who's HIV-positive, had had unprotected intercourse with many younger women and ladies and contaminated no less than 9 of them. In infamous H.I.V. Thomas Shevory kinds in the course of the resulting media panic and felony imbroglio to inform the tale at the back of the Nushawn Williams case. via media reviews, criminal files, and interviews with the various participants—including Williams, who ultimately pled in charge to reckless endangerment and statutory rape fees and is at present serving time in a greatest defense legal in New York—Shevory exposes the numerous exaggerations, misunderstandings, and distortions that riddled the Williams case from the beginning. He contends that Williams’s portrayal as an "AIDS monster" served political reasons; particularly, representations of Williams helped to foster the passage of HIV-transmission statutes, leading to criminalizing a public sickness in a nearly remarkable style. infamous H.I.V. additionally strains the effect of such high-profile instances on groups. Shevory offers a nuanced portrait of the tough fiscal and cultural realities of Jamestown, long island, and, drawing on Williams’s narratives, of the lifetime of a lower-level drug broker in a small upstate urban. His paintings indicates how media insurance robs participants like Williams in their humanity, making a pervasive surroundings of hazard that warps the integrity and equity of the felony justice and penal process.
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Additional info for Notorious H.I.V.: The Media Spectacle of Nushawn Williams
Proﬁts drive not only the cycles of news coverage, but the choices of subjects as well. Audiences are not treated as one “mass” of potential subjects. Rather, coverage is slanted toward the perceived interests of those in the more afﬂuent demographic ranges. “Drug” coverage tends to portray local street dealers and small- time hoods. Drug abuse is portrayed as primarily a problem of the urban poor—more often than not, black and brown men. Such portrayals match the deep prejudices of the people who HIV/Race/Media The HIV pandemic is not a media panic, but reactions to it have often resulted in panics of various kinds.
In the early days of television, African Americans were mostly invisible on- screen, and when they did appear, they were represented as stereotypical minstrels and buffoons. ”35 In the later 1950s and the 1960s, some television producers made attempts 11 Moral Panics and Media Politics 12 to “universalize” (or “whiten”) black entertainers, such as Nat King Cole, by “sanitizing” them. ”37 Representations of African Americans in mass media have not, of course, been wholly negative. The 1977 television miniseries Roots, for example, although it in certain respects simply borrowed the mythology of the struggling European immigrant for its story about slaves, thus oversimplifying the complex and continuing story of racism in the United States, at least publicly acknowledged the oppressions and legacies of slavery and portended the signiﬁcance of an African American television audience.
43 Given that there were only ﬁfty cases of AIDS reported in the county up until that time, people in the area were understandably alarmed. The state health commissioner, Dr. 44 Another unnamed state ofﬁcial then suggested that Williams had kept a “list” of seventy to eighty women “extending from New York City to Rochester . . S. ”49 Some commentators then began to suggest that the stated ﬁgures would themselves turn out to be too low. ”52 On rare occasions, public ofﬁcials were more circumspect.