African American Stereotypes Reality Television

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Reality programs have dominated television networks since their rise in popularity began in the early 1990s with MTV’s The Real World. The reality genre quickly gained viewership as it redefined the formulaic set up of televisions shows from the past. Reality television has infiltrated television because networks prefer low budgets for their programs that also generate high ratings (Hasinoff, 2008). People watch reality shows because they are intrigued by the seemingly “real” drama with ordinary people as characters (Dubrofsky, 2006). Now at its peak of growth, reality television evokes ideas of social order and cultural norms to its audiences, while perpetuating racial stereotypes in society (Mendible, 2004). My purpose of the review of…show more content…
Reality show characters are often shown in embarrassing situations and their personal matters are publicized to the world. The research found that frequent viewers of reality TV highly value revenge, competition, and achieving status and prestige (Mendible, 2004, p. 336). Mendible further discussed reality television’s strategic use of humiliation as a form of entertainment to draw in viewers (Mendible, 2004). With constant exposure to media images, audiences may be influenced by the television show’s values and subliminal messages. People use reality television as an informational tool to “people watch” and observe what is socially acceptable or not (Tyree, 2011, p. 397). The problem with using television to observe and decipher social norms with is that reality shows are not actually based on real events. Reality television contains fictional aspects that allow producers to manipulate situations that appear to be “real” on screen. In order to keep their characters interesting and easily recognizable throughout the season, a show must clearly establish heroes, villains and supporting characters to keep their audience coming back for more (Tyree, 2011, p. 395). This involves the heavy use of racial stereotypes in their shows because it allows for quick character development as well as cheap entertainment. The way a particular race or culture is represented on reality television can adversely affect the way society views that
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