African American Stereotypes in the Media

1412 Words Dec 3rd, 2012 6 Pages
Jakaya McCambry
10/02/12
African American Stereotypes in the Media
When I first heard someone say, “All African American people are Ghetto,” I was very offended that someone would make this type of assumption about my culture, and I thought how ignorant this person must be; but then I stopped and wondered why other people would think this about us. I asked her why she would say something like this, and she instantly listed shows like Tosh.O and Chelsea Lately, which highlight my culture in a negative view. It was clear to me that she had made up her mind about black people through watching the media and seeing African Americans fulfill that stereotype in person. This led me to question: Where exactly do these stereotypes come from?
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The way entertainment in the media portrays us has greatly affected how others identify us. Movies and shows like; Madea’s family Reunion, Bringing down the House, Love and Hip Hop, and Basketball Wives all portray us in a degrading way. People sometimes find it comical of course, but the fact that it is comical does not justify it being debasing. This image of us has evolved from things in the media, and its’ power to shape people’s idea of us. We as a race must stop living up to our stereotypes. As soon as we take action in not succumbing to our own stereotype, people will not think we are “Ghetto” or any other undignified term they think of us; therefore in the media we won’t be perceived in that way. As Colin Powell once said, “Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission.” Although African American stereotyping is prevalent in the media now because of its’ entertaining quality; it perpetuates a cycle of harmful stereotypes. As long as this cycle continues, our culture will always be illustrated negatively.

Works Cited

Dixon, Travis L. "Network News And Racial Beliefs: Exploring The Connection Between National Television News Exposure And Stereotypical Perceptions Of African Americans." Journal Of Communication 58.2 (2008): 321-337. Academic…