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Uncle Luke: The First 48 Gives Black Miami a Bad Rap

C. Stiles

I've never been a fan of The First 48, the reality TV show that for 12 seasons has followed homicide investigators on the job. The Miami Police Department is one of nine agencies that allows ITV Studios to film detectives working furiously to solve a murder within the first two days of finding a body. My problem is that the majority of the Miami homicides on The First 48 originate in Overtown, Liberty City, Little Haiti, and other predominantly black neighborhoods.

The First 48 brainwashes a national cable television audience into believing these places are war zones. The episodes are like public service announcements telling viewers: "Don't go there."

Just imagine a family in Omaha, trying to decide what places to visit in the Magic City, watching Miami homicide Det. Kevin Ruggiero arrive at the scene where an 18-year-old African-American was shot in the head while riding a jitney. The show scares viewers into missing out on a big part of Miami culture, from Mama Lucy's Home Style Cooking, which serves the best ribs in town, to Big Night in Little Haiti, the monthly celebration of Haitian culture, to the big-rivalry high school football games that unite the community.

No major corporation or entrepreneur would dare open a new business in Overtown or Liberty City after seeing all the violence plastered on The First 48.

The show also has a negative effect on people living in the hood. It's one of the most-watched programs in the ghetto. The show promotes the nihilistic outlook on life that infects so many young black men. Being profiled on The First 48 is attaining superstardom.

The show doesn't do anything to address the ills that make these places so bleak. It provides no context about the politicians who sell out the community to accused criminals such as Dennis Stackhouse, the Boston developer who falsely promised to build a $250 million biopharmaceutical park in Liberty City just so he could double-bill Miami-Dade County for $500,000 and pocket the money.

The City of Miami allows ITV Studios to profit from the blood of a predominantly poor, African-American constituency. City leaders should tell The First 48 producers to turn off the cameras.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.


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