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Stereotype Choice #1
Transcript of Stereotype Choice #1
American media has been wildly successful at perpetuating stereotypes. Movies, music and magazines have been bombarding us with stereotypical images since we were young children, which has been setting the stage for the tensions between the dominant and non-dominant groups involved in the manifestation.
Result of Stereotypes
Many stereotypes are the result of the power struggle between the opposing groups. At the University of Toronto, psychologists did a study of the lingering effects on a person after they have been exposed to a situation where they feel they have been stereotyped. By exposing groups of people to situations that instigated the use of stereotypes, then monitoring their food intake, aggression levels and giving them cognitive tests, psychologists found so striking evidence of the negative repercussions of stereotypes. The group that was exposed to the stereotype made poorer food choices and ate more, were more aggressive, and performed poorer on the cognitive tests than the control group of the same demographic. “People who felt they were discriminated against - whether based on gender, age, race or religion - all experienced significant impacts even after they were removed from the situation, says Inzlicht.“These lingering effects hurt people in a very real way, leaving them at a disadvantage,” said Inzlicht. “Even many steps removed from a prejudicial situation, people are carrying around this baggage that negatively impacts their lives.” (Kemick, 2010)
Media keeps stereotypes alive and well. In this section we will see how Disney movies, rap music and magazines have continually fueled negative images of women and minorities. We will look at the stereotypes as a symbol of the power struggle between the dominant group and the non-dominant group.
“I’m ’bout to dust some cops off/cop killer, better you than me/cop killer, fawk police brutality” – Ice-T, “Cop Killer”
“A young n*gga on the warpath/And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath/Of cops, dying in L.A.” – Ice Cube, “Fawk The Police”
“Put molly all in her champagne/She ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/She ain’t even know it” – Rick Ross, “U.O.E.N.O”
“And I know that the government administer AIDS/So I guess we just pray like the minister say” – Kanye West, “Heard ’Em Say”
“Fawk the F.B.I. and fawk all the Army troops/Fighting for what, b*tch? Be your own man” – Soulja Boy, “Let’s Be Real”
“Bitches aint shit but Hoe’s and Tricks.” – Dr. Dre- “Bitches Ain’t Shit.”
Rap music has come to be known for its harsh language and use of status symbols. However many rap artists are working hard at perpetuating negative stereotypes about the African American community. Images of violence, misogyny, anger and hate are quite common in rap music. This is doing substantial damage to impressionable identities. Commonly produced and marketed rap music advocates for drug use, promotes violence against one another the police and women, and highlights the use of rappers image to sell this lifestyle. Teaching people that this is how society expects you to behave, and this is what you are capable of. The language that rap music employs often invites negative connotations. Artists have coined such phrases as “bust a cap”, “bitch slap”, and “hood rat” which have given a place in our daily lives and actively works against a positive image of this community.
Below are some sample rap song lyrics that promote negative imagery.
Students at Clemson University decided to host a “Halloween in the Hood” party, where students were encouraged to draw from the racial stereotypes that media has provided. Many students painted themselves black and dressed as “pimps”, “gangsters” and rap artists who glorify the lifestyles of “pimps” and “gangsters”. The African American students were rightfully offended. This is what their fellow students saw as an acceptable way to represent their community. This is what the media is telling people the African American community is like. “Some black academics also believe rap's glorification of black men as pimps, thugs and gangsters has desensitized blacks and whites to what is acceptable. When the line "keeps shifting," says Venise Berry, a University of Iowa professor, it's hard to "figure out what's over the line." (Clueless on Race-Again, 2007)
Rap music is largely responsible for this image. However the promotion of this image is the result of a power struggle between African Americans and their dominant counterparts, the Caucasians. It is not a secret that the African American community has been subject to hundreds of years of oppression, institutional racism and prejudices that are still alive today. Police are the manifestation of the Caucasian’s role in the oppression and pain inflicted upon the African American populace and thus the violence and anger directed towards them remains a common theme in the industry.
“If rap music appears to be excessively violent, it is because rap stems from a culture that has been seeped in the fight against political, social, and economic oppression. Violence in rap is the outcry of an already-existing problem from youth whose worldviews have been shaped by experiencing deep economic inequalities divided largely along racial lines.” (Blanchard, 1999)
Symbols in Action
One of the most prevalent dominant/ non dominant relationships can be seen by looking through a Cosmo. The stereotyping of gender roles has become a staple of American culture. When flipping through the pages of a Cosmo, you will be inundated with pictures of scantily clad women with perfect air-brushed bodies selling an un-obtainable image of what men expect women to be like. The commercialization of this image has been depleting the confidence of women for decades and this image promotion has been astonishingly successful for marketing agencies that sell their products with these images. Cosmo is littered with perfume, makeup, designer clothing and hair products that are considered “necessary” to attain the image they are
selling. Outside of the product placement, the magazine offers women tips and tricks to please your man sexually and spends a great deal of time focusing on the sexuality of women and how to be pleasing to her man. From this perspective, women are being dominated by society’s cultural ideal that the woman’s sole purpose is to attend to the desire of the male.
Celebrities in these magazines are the physical manifestation of the stereotypes. Take, for instance, Kim Kardashian. She is a curvy woman who for a time became the new standard for women’s beauty. At first she was revered for her figure and praised for being a proud woman, however that period was short lived and magazines were soon demeaning her for her weight, as well as critiquing her personal life. This shows girls that they are not acceptable if they are living outside of the stereotype that has been marketed towards us as the gold standard for femininity. The subliminal messaging within magazines of this kind have proven to provide long lasting damage on the psyches of girls everywhere.
Gender Stereotypes in Magazines
It may be shocking to learn that Disney, the company responsible for the amazing films that were responsible for childhood wonder, are perhaps one of the largest perpetuators of racial, cultural and gender stereotypes. The movie Dumbo contains the most blatant and offensive references to negative stereotypes about African American that one can imagine. There is a song titled “Song of the Roustabouts” that contain the lyrics “We never learned to read or write”, “Grab that rope, you dirty ape” and “When we get our pay we throw our money all away.” The characters singing are an all-African American work crew. Later on in the movie we meet “the crows”, who are led by a crow named “Jim”, which is an obvious reference to the Jim Crow laws that segregated and implemented institutional racism until the 50’s. The crows go on to talk about how they “never want to get a job, no how!” thus playing on the stereotype that they are lazy. Disney further goes on to unfairly portray the Asian populace as Siamese cats, with slanted eyes and broken English in the “Lady and the Tramp” as well as “The Aristocats.”
Perhaps one of the largest stereotypes perpetuated by Disney, through many movies, is the image of the helpless princess, awaiting her prince. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and countless other stories rely on the female character to be submissive to the dominant male in the story. The Little Mermaid story climaxes as Ariel sells her voice to the Sea Witch, believing the Sea Witch’s claim that men prefer women who don’t speak. She then runs away from her family to be with a man she has only ever seen and spends her time with him trying to use her body to lure him in for a kiss, which will allow her to remain a human. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are also at the mercy of a kiss, to wake up from a spell. The power that these characters have are all based on their beauty.
Many psychologists have taken to analyzing Disney for the perpetuation of stereotypes and have found a plethora of evidence that Disney is a huge perpetrator. “In an analysis of 16 animated Disney films, Wiersma (2001) found that gender images have not evolved to match the changes that have occurred in society, but remain stereotypic and similar to the gender portrayals beginning in the first animated Disney film in 1937. In her analysis of out-of-home employment, Wiersma found that male Disney characters held a diversity of jobs, including miner, governor, salesman, chef, doctor, lawyer, sailor, space ranger, and musician. She found 26 male job categories across 16 Disney films. Wiersma found only four women who had out-of-home employment; their jobs were actress, sheep tender, thief, and fairy. Wiersma also examined depictions of in home labor, and found 24 examples of women performing domestic tasks. Wiersma found only four examples of men performing domestic labor–two of these were performed by the butler in Aristocats, and could also be considered as part of his job. (Towbin, Haddock, Zimmerman, Lund & Tanner, 2008)
Disney is responsible for spreading and maintaining America’s gender and cultural roles with these movies. Millions of children exposed to these films are soaking in the stereotypes presented and internalizing them as they grow older and see many other forms of media joining in to support the use of these stereotypes. The dominant group here is the white male enforcing their images and symbols on nearly everyone else.
Race and the Class System
The implications of race within Western popular culture are often not directly effected by the issue of differing races or cultural heritages. Rather, class systems are complex operations that police and maintain positions of power. These class systems are up kept to simultaneously exclude people of non-Caucasian or Anglo-Saxon race while promoting the interests of the people in positions of power, which are most often defined as white and upper class. This is accomplished in a number of systematic, far reaching ways that rely upon the class system which lie evident in education systems, areas that minorities inhabit, and in consumer behavior which inhibit class mobility for racial minorities.
Race and Education
Education disparities between American minorities and that of predominantly white upper class is a sobering trend among academic literature. Socioeconomic class mobility is commonly asserted to be obtainable through education. However, poor economic neighborhoods lead to poor public education and curriculum. Early on in the educational system, disparities develop between those of racial and social minority between those of class and privilege. More prominent is the lack of enriching science and math curriculum in early education within low-income public school districts. Underachievement in these subjects is subsequently tracked to the level of undergraduate education, where low graduation rates plague many STEM programs at U.S. universities (Kuenzi 2008). Poor early education curriculum in the STEM field certainly expresses difficulty when individuals are attempting to earn a STEM degree. This predisposes racial and social minorities into a situation where they will be significantly underrepresented in STEM fields, which are some of the most rapidly growing sectors of the U.S. economy (NSF 2003). Alarmingly, this disparity and quality of accessibility of education prevents minorities from obtaining socioeconomic class mobility and from their participation and perspective, rather these fields tend to serve the interests of the participants that can earn and navigate the challenging requirements of STEM degrees or more broadly higher degrees.
Race and Consumerism
"Bourdieu argues that class status is gained, lost, and reproduced in part through everyday acts of consumer behavior. Being dressed incorrectly or displaying "vulgar" manners can cost a person a management or professional job. Conversely, one can gain entry into social circles, or build lucrative business contracts, by revealing appropriate tastes, manners, and culture. Thus, consumption practices become important in maintaining the basic structures of power and inequality which characterize our world."
Consumerism and the implications of capitalism largely exclude specific individuals of race and class. The fashionings of wealth and taste operate as signals of race and class. These differences in tastes are taught and learned by consumers and are evidence of how consumption enforces existing social class systems. These behaviors of consumption and taste are obvious within the demographics and portrayals within advertising. Tastes and tropes of wealth are considered “higher” forms of genuine culture. In this way, consumption has placed barriers on class mobility, for, in addition to one’s economic status, one has to have correct ideas about what to consume and how to consume it (167).
Race and Consumerism continued
These behaviors of consumption are not autonomously performed, rather they are carefully presented to us based off of what demographics are assumed to respond and relate to. These patterns inhibit class mobility, for there are certain ways in which we have to act and dress in order to “belong” or participate in certain social or career circles (167).
Race and assimilation
Race and class are closely linked and systematic within capitalism. These systems in place prevent class mobility and thus cultural assimilation within the dominant party of power and wealth.
Culture- Jessica Savara
Race - Ashley Miller
Class- Jasmine Stein
Media- Kristin Plekan
Prezi - Kristin Plekan
Intro- Ashley Miller
Conclusion- Kristin Plekan
The New York Times suggests that social class is often passed down through generations, meaning that if a child is raised in a lower class (low income) family, they are likely to grow up to be a part of a lower social class as an adult. (DeParle 2012)
“62 percent of Americans (male and female) raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifth (DeParle 2012)
Studies show that alcohol abuse in parents can lead to adolescent alcohol use and “familial disadvantage (including single parenting and low familial socioeconomic status) were also associated with incident cannabis use (Galea et. al. 2004)”.
Society may believe that because status and habits are passed down to other generations that this must be true for all low income families and individuals. Statistics like these that are portrayed through media and word of mouth create incentive for stereotypes to take hold, like assumptions that upper social classes are clean, well-behaved citizens and lower social class citizens are rugged drug users.
Consumption and Identity
“Consumer citizens have complicated relationships with the consumer products that they buy, use and observe (Jubas 2011 p.323)” implying that there is a link between a person and what they buy and their social class.
Financial struggles limit lower class citizens to their shopping experiences. Identity (or social class) can be recycled (changed) but only if one has the power (high income) to do so. In this study participants discussed education and job opportunities to have heavy influence on “shopping options and class affiliation” even when raised in working class families. (Jubas 2011)
People shop where they feel the most comfortable; surrounded by others alike. (Loudon, Della Bitta)
Upper class citizens buy more whereas the working and middle class citizens browse without purchasing. (Loudon, Della Bitta)
This implies that lower class citizens will not buy as much clothing, accessories, and other material items and will buy less expensive and less quality items feeding into the stereotype that lower class citizens have bad taste in shopping items and that upper class citizens have, nicer, fancier, and better items.
Most of the people who engage in and are victimized by violent crimes come from lower socio-economic classes. According to Phipps working-class citizens are more likely to be arrested, charged and convicted, and receive more severe sentences (Phipps 2009 p.670), creating this idea that one is unsafe in low income neighborhoods or that oneself is not safe if a part of a lower social class.
Becker’s studies suggest that people in the upper class are more likely to commit crimes like tax evasion since high fines seems to be a lighter punishment than jail or prison time (2006 p.198), but his study fails to consider violent crimes in higher social classes.
“Behind Mansion Walls” is a show dedicated to exposing crime in Upper class citizens where they are often acquitted of their crimes because they have the funding to do so. It took 17 years to convict James Sullivan of murdering his ex-wife because of a high priced lawyer, fleeing the county with millions to survive on, and he was able to pay for legal delays (Mason 2011).
In another case Cullen Davis was acquitted of murdering his former (12 yr. old) step daughter and attempted murder of his ex-wife, Pricilla, after he hired a renowned lawyer whose skill convinced the jury that Pricilla was an unreliable witness. (Mason 2011). What we learn here is that crime also happens in higher social classes but because these defendants have the ability to hide and pay for innocence they are often overlooked. There are statistics claiming that lower class individuals are involved in more violent crime, but it is still apparent that no matter where you live or who you hang out with, danger is possible at any time regardless of social class.
Avenues of popular culture perpetuate expectations of race, culture and class through systemic establishments. Media plays a large role in this perpetuation of stereotypes. These stereotypes are the repercussion of the power struggle between the dominant and non-dominant groups. We take a brief look at Disney films, rap music, and gender-based magazines and analyze how groups are represented and who is responsible for that representation. While also considering the effect systemic establishments such as education and capitalism have upon oppressing our racial and class minorities. This analysis enables a greater understanding of the politics of power at work that are represented through more democratized media and popular culture.
Many non dominant groups in America are still contending with the repercussions of years of the power struggle between themselves and the dominant group. It is easy to see how our systems are set up to accommodate the stereotypes that the media portrays. A low income student who is unable to afford college and must drop out, will end up working in a low income job and perpetuating the cycle. While at the same time adding to the notion that having a low income equates to being unintelligent. Reality T.V. will support this by portraying low income people doing unintelligent things and then a symbol is born that comes to represent a group. The stereotypes that we are fed through our lives change the way we see ourselves and others and implants social biases. These stereotypes affect the way we interact with other races, cultures, genders and classes.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of specific aspects or facets of one culture or subculture by another. “It is generally applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in a social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture.”
Generally, there is no assimilation or acculturation by the dominant group to the subject culture, rending the dominant groups actions of taking or adopting the specific behavior, icon, dress, etc. as cultural appropriation.
Connection to Race, Class, & Media Cont.
As with race, class status plays an integral role in determining the likelihood of who the appropriator will be and who may find themselves being the subject of cultural appropriation.
Dolly Parton once said, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap." "There’s a pretty strong movement within white culture (especially today) that values concepts like ‘authenticity’ and this idea of ‘realness’. These two values exist in opposition to the mainstream culture which is based on mass manufactured goods, and gets associated with ‘pre-packaged’ identities, ‘cookie cutter’ personas, and the like (see Justin Timberlake circa the N’SYNC era). This trend is really noticeable right now with the rise of the hipster movement - mostly propagated by white men and women with enough money to reject mass marketed and mainstream clothing and music in favour of traditionally ‘low class’ alternatives (those alternatives being no less expensive). White culture loves this idea of ‘vintage’, of history behind clothing, behind music, behind style. There’s nothing less fashionable in white culture today than a pair of jeans from the Gap, which certainly explains the Gap’s abysmal sales numbers. " Within this popular trend there is no assimilation or acculturation, there has not been a sudden trend of people living in poverty or in a class where coming by new and well kept clothing is the actual experience of the individual.
Mackelmore (see, video below) is not part of the poor, lower class community, yet he raps about Goodwill and buying cheap, second hand clothing, without realizing the implications of why Goodwill exist because people exist, typically of lower class who can only afford such items, there is no option to buy up.
Becker, Rolf, and Guido Mehlkop. “Social Class and Delinquency.” Sage Journals (May 6, 2006). http://rss.sagepub.com/content/18/2/193.full.pdf+html.
Blanchard, B. (1999). The social significance of rap & hip-hop culture. Edge of Development in Global Environments , Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/mediarace/socialsignificance.htm
Clueless on race- again. (2007, Feb 04). USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2007-02-04-edit-two_x.htm
Della Bitta, Albert, and David Loudon. Consumer Behavior. McGraw Hill Inc., 1993. http://www.studymarketing.org/articles/Consumer_Psychology/Shopping_Behavior_and_Social_Classes.html.
DeParle, Jason. “Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs.” The New York Times, January 4, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=3&
Galea Sandro, Arijit Nandi, and David Vlahov. “The Social Epidemiology of Substance Use.” Oxford Journals (March 8, 2004). http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/1/36.full
Kemick, A. (2010). Stereotyping has Lasting Negative Impact. University of Toronto, Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/08/12/stereotyping-has-lasting-negative-impact
Kuenzi, J. J. (2008) Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education: Background, federal policy, and legislative action.
Jubas, Kaela. “Shopping for Identity: Articulations of Gender, Race and Class by Critical Consumers.” University of Calgary 17 No. 3 (May 2011). http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=af850677-7b7a-4a8a-8886-a6e60dab8070%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=22&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=60609776.
M Hughey. (2013, March 11). The Harlem shake, cultural appropriation, and the making of white racial identity. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.matthewhughey.com/Index/Blog/Entries/2013/3/11_The_Harlem_Shake_and_Cultural_Appropriation.html
Mason, Christopher. “Buying Justice.” New York Post, June 6, 2011. http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/buying_justice_z2psh5NSUJaESJrsF0b8mI.
National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. (2003) Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2002, NSF 03-312
O. Young, James. Profound Offense and Cultural Appropriation
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Spring, 2005), pp. 135-146
Phipps, Alison. “Rape and Respectability: Ideas About Sexual Violence and Social Class.” Sage Journals (August 5, 2009). http://soc.sagepub.com/content/43/4/667.full.pdf+html
Towbin, M., Haddock , S., Zimmerman, T., Lund, L., & Tanner, L. (2008). Images of gender, race, age, and sexual orientation in disney feature-length animated films. JOURNAL OF FEMINIST FAMILY THERAPY, Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1300/J086v15n04_02
Media and Stereotypes
Disney and Stereotypes
The Harm of Cultural Appropriation
Not only can it be offensive but also harmful to take from another culture. Misappropriating the subject, content, or object of that other culture and possibly rending the subject, object, or content meaningless by way of removing it's true significance can easily lead to misinformed ideas of what people groups may be like.
Cultural appropriation often perpetuates inaccurate
stereotypes about people groups that generally tend to be non dominant groups. For example, "what most white people
think they know about Native Americans often comes from
inaccurate stereotypes of a monolithic culture involving teepees, sweat lodges, and dream catchers. When these inaccurate stereotypes are perpetuated, they create a mold that white people demand People of Color fit into. When People of Color don’t fit those stereotypes, they are o!en ridiculed, attacked, dismissed, and marginalized for not fitting into a white person’s inaccurate idea of what it means to be a Person of Color."
For groups already marginalized, oppressed, and misrepresented cultural appropriation poses great sociological and psychological risks.
Connection to Race, Class, & Media
Important to mention are some clear connections of the ways race, class, & media play a role in cultural appropriation.
The intersections of race and cultural appropriation are many. In today's culture, unfortunately, race still holds specific meaning and value, social capital. People of color are still marginalized and systematically oppressed. One can easily observe the race groups of appropriators and those being culturally appropriated. It can be said that cultural appropriators, being dominant group members, are often white. While the subjects of the cultural appropriations are people of color.
Please see: Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent commentary on MSNBC. for an example of cultural appropriation. Here:
Blog writer, Mathew Hughey, makes This poignant observation not mentioned by Harris-Perry:"Toward that end, we have to ask, why are so many imitators of this genre—the same that would publicly display their attempts at thirty-second Harlem Shakedom—largely white and based in largely white contexts such as Historically White Colleges and University classrooms and quads, largely white sport teams, and apartment living rooms littered by white (often male) bodies?"
With this example, the dominant culture and race, white, is observed taking from and profiting (perhaps in social capital) through the theft of a facet (art or performance) of brown and black people. History seems to mirror itself in this example of cultural appropriation.