Summary: The Misrepresentation Of African Americans In The Media

1775 Words8 Pages
Media can be defined as an entity in which an individual, topic, or group can be seen or heard either through television, radio or the internet. Similarly, an individual does not have to be seen or heard to make their presence known, an individual can be viewed through their work as a producer or writer for a radio or television show. Society uses the media and its various platforms to gain access to events happening in their communities and all around the world. This type of vast communication helps to shape society's view on certain subjects, whether negative or positive depending on the picture that the media is portraying it in. An issue that has been and is still present within the media is the misrepresentation of a non-white demographic…show more content…
The four stages of the model include: non-recognition, ridicule, regulation, and respect (Harris and Sanborn 2014). Clark's four stages can be seen in one of the most portrayed ethic groups in U.S. society, African Americans. The presence of African Americans in media ads began in 1949, where 0.57% of ads produced during that year contained an African American individual. In 1986 the number of African Americans in Tv advertisements increased to 16% (Harris and Sanborn 2014). However, at the beginning of the African American presence on television many African American characters were portrayed in a demoralizing manner. One of the first movies in the United States to feature stereotyped African American characters was Uncle Tom's Cabin which was released in 1903 (Harris and Sanborn 2014). The stereotypical representation of African Americans in the media was first combated in 1942 when the NAACP asked Hollywood producers to create roles in which African American characters were portrayed in a positive and a self-respecting manner (Harris and Sanborn 2014). The stereotypical viewpoint of African Americans in the media was aided by the Civil Rights movement 1960s, which helped African Americans to be portrayed in a more positive manner in the production of I Spy with actor and comedian Bill Cosby (Harris and Sanbron 2014). While media portrayal of African American…show more content…
Symbolic annihilation was first termed by Tuchman in 1978 "who described the phenomenon as a process by which the mass media omit, trivialize, or condemn certain groups that are not socially valued"(Klein and Shiffman 2009). Symbolic annihilation was most recently defined by Merskin in 1998 " as the way cultural production and media representations ignore, exclude, marginalize, or trivialize a particular group" (Klein and Shiffman 2009). Symbolic annihilation in the media misrepresents several non-white or minority cultural groups by painting their image in a demeaning light. Thus, individuals who watch the news, listen to the radio, or watch television interpret what they see as the "norm" associated with each particular group. This narrow-minded image could be seen on television in the 1970's where male and female characters were portrayed as students, service workers, or criminals participating in illegal activities (Signorielli and Kahlenberg 2001). In the 1990's non-white individuals portrayed one-fifth of the characters on television (Signorielli and Kahlenberg 2001). Non-white individuals such as African Americans, blacks and many other cultural minorities interpret societal views based on what is presented to them in the media, particularly the youth in society. Minority youth base their decisions and perceptions of themselves in the world based

More about Summary: The Misrepresentation Of African Americans In The Media

Get Access