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Stereotypes in the Media

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Selin Gok

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Stereotypes in the Media

When people rely on surface appearances and false racial stereotypes, rather than in-depth knowledge of others at the level of the heart, mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people accurately is compromised. - James A. Forbes
Sports Entertainment
African Americans in film/TV:
- Usually the "side-kick" or best friend in movies; rarely the main character
- Financially unstable
- Dysfunctional family/relationships
African American men in film/TV:
- Gang bangers, drug dealers, criminals, thugs, drug addicts, rapists, murderers, uneducated, incarcerated, angry, 'comedian,' unemployed, homeless, abusive
African American women in film/TV:
- Loud, hyper-sexual, dominating, single mothers, teen mothers, objectified, in abusive relationships, uneducated, attention-seeking
African American children in film/TV:
- Disobedient, violent, illiterate, thieves, unkempt, neglected

Monday, February 17, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
What does this Mean?
African American men are stereotyped as violent, misogynistic, criminals, drug addicted, or rebellious in the music industry because of a wave of music called "gangster rap"
African American women are stereotyped as sex objects, submissive, or gold diggers
Society uses Hip Hop/Rap culture as a scapegoat for 'corrupting' the minds of African Americans rather than viewing it as an art form that many struggling African Americans relate to
Many white artists are guilty of attempting to be controversial by using African American women as props in their music videos, only furthering the stereotype that black women are only useful for their sexuality
African American Stereotypes in the Media
Social Media
African Americans have 'natural athleticism' (genetically built to thrive in sports)
African Americans make up the majority in sports/sports entertainment
A successful black athlete cannot also be an intellectual
African Americans are only good at sports
Success for African Americans can only come through athletic achievement
There is no correlation between athletic abilities and race
In 1991, statistics by Henry Louis Gates Jr. show:
- only 1,200 black professional athletes in the US
- 12 times more black lawyers than athletes
- 20 times more black dentists
- 15 times more black doctors
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport's 2012 study states:
- 90% of sports editors are white males
- only four black editors work under ESPN
Black student athletes must maintain certain GPAs to keep scholarships/continue playing
African American women are usually portrayed as 'ratchet' (cheap), materialistic, unhealthy, outspoken, independent/single, and aggressive/confrontational
- Many internet memes mock black women by associating them with being sassy
African American men are usually portrayed as lazy, unfaithful, dependent, and unsuccessful
- Internet memes such as "Successful Black Man" aim to challenge well known stereotypes of African American men
One of the most prevalent issues in advertising is the constant stereotyping of African Americans to sell products to a wide audience
These ads usually preach to African Americans on how to reinvent/'white wash' themselves, objectify African American women, or suggest that African Americans are inferior
Advertising is a more advanced version of racist propaganda
In 2009, L'Oreal was accused of whitening Beyonce's skin in ads. This is problematic because it creates an unattainable image for many black women while furthering the stereotype that black is an undesirable/inferior race.
This ad by Intel not only shows african americans as lower than whites, but also reinforces the stereotype that African Americans are only superior in sports.
American Apparel's 'black face' ad received great controversy for objectifying African American women and using 'black face' to sell clothes. This shows how media has made very little progress in being less racially demeaning.
Nivea's ad is considered extremely racist because the image of a black man "re-civilizing" himself by throwing away his raggedy mask furthers the stereotype that black men are uncivilized and brute-like.
Dove's natural beauty campaign does not encourage natural beauty when it places its African American model on the "before" spectrum while placing its white model on the "after" spectrum. This only enforces the stereotype that black women are inferior to white women and are undesirable/flawed.
Although the film "Precious" is revolutionary in the sense that it opens a door into the world of many black women and their daily struggles, it also reinforces the stereotype that black women live in abusive households, are illiterate, and are inferior to white women.

Many consider "Bad Girls Club" a negative view of black women as it furthers the stereotype that black women are aggressive, gold digging temptresses.
This film is problematic because it reinforces the stereotype that black men lead inner-city "thug" lives.

Vogue's cover featuring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen is controversial because it enforces the stereotype that black men lust after white women and are violent, overly sexual, and animal-like.

Miley Cyrus's VMA performance created controversy because of her use of black female dancers as props. This is an issue because black women are already stereotyped as sex objects and this only reinforces that stereotype.
The ongoing stereotypes of African Americans in current society prove that racism has merely evolved into a more subtle version of what it used to be and continues to dehumanize and degrade African Americans. In the film, Ethnic Notions, the great influence media has had, and continues to have, on the masses is shown through propaganda created in post-slavery times. In Ethnic Notions, the viewer is presented with famous African American stereotypes that throughout American history have oppressed African Americans. These stereotypes: the Brute, Mammy, Sambo, Coon, and many more have been reinvented to fit into society's demands in such a manner than most individuals do not question the immorality of the act. This propaganda creates grandiose delusions in the minds of Americans about African Americans which successfully divide races, drastically decrease opportunities for African Americans, and ultimately lowers the quality of life for African Americans. Through the many examples of stereotypes found in media today, whether it be advertising, music, film, or social media, one thing is certain. Although some individuals are quick to find and criticize harmful stereotypes in media, the fact that many media outlets produce work that is drenched in racist stereotypes for the sake of being controversial confirms society's regression in social justice and awareness. The negative impact of stereotypes is not taken seriously because media is still, to no surprise, dominated by older white males who live a life of extreme privilege. Unfortunately, stereotypes in the media have a purpose similar to any racist act. The media continues to feed its viewers with negative images and ideas of African Americans to restrict African Americans from rising up against the constant oppression they face. The most saddening aspect of these stereotypes is how it lowers the confidence of many African Americans to such an extent that they begin to "fit" into the roles of their stereotypes. This creates a never-ending cycle of oppression through stereotypes that do not aid the Nation's desire to be forward thinking and advanced socially, politically, and economically. When an entire group of Americans are being put down in many ways, the whole country suffers in the long run.
by Selin Gok
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