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Introduction To The Media Industry Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1068 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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As the media industry joins the ranks of others that are facing tremendous declines and losing advertising revenue, African Americans in the media have also faced extreme challenges. We as people often search for answers to create change in today’s society, but stereotypes linger within our world placing a barrier on chances of unity and equality. One of the main sources of these stereotypes is the mass media.

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Stereotypes are commonly referred to as codes that give audiences quick, common understandings, (sometimes invalid) of a person or group of people mostly relating to their class, ethnicity or race, gender, sexual orientation, social role, or occupation. African Americans are constantly viewed in ways that are false and over-exaggerated. From loud explicit curse words, to wobbly behinds and gold teeth, the mass media blinds America with false and negative images.

From the beginning of television history, African Americans were shown as very dark, monkey-like characters without a tad of know-how except in the areas of housekeeping or singing and dancing. Stereotyping or labeling is a technique that attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the images as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable (Lester 134). These ideas become so cliché that they begin to form daily thoughts and views and one is unable to look beyond them.

The mass media, including movies, music, music videos, newspapers, magazines, television broadcasts, and forms of advertising, often portrays African Americans as “hood, ghetto,” threatening, and sexually explicit. This has transformed into lifestyles and insulting stereotypes in today’s society. The inadequate coverage of African Americans due, in large part to the lack of depth in minority media ownership, has provided an opportunity in the nation’s current economic conditions. The media industry is taking major hits as revenues are dropping, readership and viewership totals are down, and the journalism and media industries are bumping along the same rocky roads as the automotive industry where thousands of jobs were lost in a matter of days.

Framework of Study

This study will include a mass research of the past century of African American appearances in the media. African- Americans’ image has evolved over time. Research will be focused on why and how this evolution process has taken place. This subject has been overlooked by society, and many do not understand that the process of an African-American being placed in the media was a very difficult one.

Examples will be given on how African – Americans were depicted in the media. Also, there will be an analysis of how audiences of the media react to blacks being the focal point, and why publishers and broadcasters show these images in the manner that they do. Graphs of the ratings of the different media releases will be compared by race of focal point to determine the impact that African-Americans had on society through the media.

Also, common television sitcoms will be analyzed in order to explain how African-American images have changed over time. All sitcoms were reviewed through network television. The sitcoms range from the 1960’s to the current television era. Also, the sitcoms will be analyzed to explain how the content has changed society’s view on the lives and culture of African Americans.

Statement of Problem

Society has placed a negative image on African-Americans due to the techniques of the media used to portray them. These techniques are marketing schemes used to produce more total revenue. These negative ideas or beliefs place a role in the lives of many African-Americans. Stereotypes are formed and problems arise daily for black individuals. From ethnic name profiling to police brutality, African-Americans endure corrupt thoughts based on negative images displayed by the media.

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The only way to erase or reduce these negative images is if the media reverses the images it has created. Many marketing specialist believe that these images are entertaining and overlook the morals and values of its content. African-Americans are unfairly and unrealistically portrayed on television and other forms of media. Unfortunately, there are many who do fall victim to the stereotypes, and there are many more that experience prejudice and pain because of them. After watching some movies that are currently popular, it seems that the majority of current films that are aimed at an African American audience fill and support these negative stereotypes of African Americans.

Luckily, there are some media broadcasts that allow variety of African Americans to be shown to society. The change in content of programming is currently allowing room for change of the long lived stereotypes.


Profiling, stereotyping, and negative imaging must be stopped. Even after decades have relinquished away since the time of slavery, racism and prejudices still linger in our society. The media is not making these images look any better. Social prejudices or programmed depictions of groups in a society have long pervaded and shaped social ethos, but it is through this awareness, that cultural humanity is able to dismantle and set aside such associations (Walker 545).

The images in the media of African Americans have changed the lifestyles of today’s black society. Due to lack of knowledge and being blinded the media, the African-American race has yielded to live up to the images shown to society. These stereotypes of African Americans being used by the media today and years ago are injuring the realistic image of black people and the way that both African-American and Caucasians view those of African heritage. Gender, Class, and Race Stereotypes in American Media Gender, class, and race stereotypes abound in contemporary society, much like they have done throughout human history. With the advent of the media, however, stereotypical assumptions have become so pervasive, and so diffused, that some call for a serious and purposeful scrutiny of the media contents. A full analysis will be conducted to enlighten others that the African-American culture differs tremendously from the way that the media displays it.


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