American Media; The Portrayal Of African Americans

1135 words - 5 pages

American Media; the Portrayal of African Americans

The media depicts black America in an unsavory tone. I see “black people” as big butted, gold chain wearing, uneducated, rapper swearing gangsters. Socially, the black community sometimes takes pride in these stereotypes; perpetuating the stigma. African Americans are a minority community even though we have an African American as President. The reason for this is the media. My personal thought about African Americans (see, I don’t know what to say, Black America, African American, colored, friends), people of color, is no different from any other person I run into or that I have to deal with on a daily basis. The stereotypes of black ...view middle of the document...

Slang language like this enhances the “under educated” mentality and adds to the poor representation of blacks in America.
After researching the Nielsen ratings, the portrayal of blacks is full of contradictions. Black America wants to see more educated and positive depictions of themselves, yet they want to watch television shows like The Jefferson’s, The Tyra Banks show, Judge Joe Brown and The Bernie Mac show. According to television critic and film historian, Donald Bogle, “an excessive amount of comedy is associated with blacks in television programs.”(1996:128) Most black programming is not given an equal opportunity before the trailers are terminated. The shows are tested on “target audiences” and then usually put into the do not watch pile. The media highlights the negative points of black culture and does not emphasize any of the good aspects. Racial messages in the media are dominant with malignant ideology. They are constantly mocked or portrayed as incompetent criminals. The news shows black shooters, gang lords, and poverty stricken areas when reporting about violence and crime. Movies also enforce blacks as criminals and very rarely the heroine or main character. The typical characters that actors are given is that of bank robbers, drug dealers, or poor white trash. “Law and Order” is a show that plays on many television stations all day, the one black cop and sometimes the black lieutenant, is the best characters I can find in the middle of the day that slightly depict black Americans in a decent light. This is a sad way to uphold and entire race of people.
Despite social changes over the past few decades, the medias images continue to represent blacks as inferior to whites. “Media (entertainment, news, and their hybrids) represent reality in a way that promotes certain meanings and interpretations of how the world works and status quo- the current beliefs, structures, and inequalities. This includes the racial hierarchy.” (Larson, Greco 2006:2) It appears that the media in general tends to support and even highlights every ethnic and social group that exists. The media also focuses on fear. Bad news makes for good news. Ratings will continue to steer the direction of social change. The newscasters are a perfect example. Typically they are all white and one African American or Hispanic. If there were more...

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