Racial Stereotypes

Decent Essays

Historically, African Americans were restricted from appearing in films, instead they were portrayed by white actors and actresses who employed a technique known as blackface by painting their skin to appear darker (Brown, Horton and Price 1999). Documentaries like The 13th illustrate how the depiction African Americans as stupid, aggressive, lazy, and inferior (in species) led to increased racism in the United States for decades, making it difficult for African Americans to acquire civil rights benefits (DuVarney, Averick and Barish 2017). The Film Birth of a Nation (1915) was one of several films that used white actors (in blackface) to portray African Americans as dangerous criminals with animalistic features and led to the development of segregation and Jim Crow laws (DuVarney, Averick, Barish 2016). Times have changed since 1915, today African Americans and Latinos can be seen in television shows and movies. However, according to the documentary, 13th, representation is not the only thing that matters, it is the portrayal of racial groups that is particularly important. The documentary notes that certain portrayals of African Americans and Latinos in visual media insight fear and correlate with severe punishment for minor offenses and higher incarceration rates within those minority groups (DuVarney, Averick, and Barish 2017). That being said, although the presence of African Americans and Latinos in visual media has increased, it is sometimes followed by stereotypical

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