The Transformation Of The Role Of Media Production On Race And Ethnicity Over A Century

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MS2006 Essay (Question 2)

In today’s society, media representation are constructed, as a “Systems of representation are the means by which the concerns of ideologies are framed to create ways of looking at texts.” (Edwards, 2003). Yet, these represented practices could see as “stereotyping” in questions of power. (Hall, 1997) To discuss how media represent information further, this essay is going to investigate on the transformation of modes of media production in race and ethnicity over a century.

To investigate the transformation of racial image in media representation, there are four examples, which are in forms of printed advertisements and movies, discussed chronologically, and they are advertisements by Aunt Jemima’s (Anon., 1889)
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With the body movement presented in the picture, it shown that two white male were costumers who enjoying pancakes, and the black female was servant who serving them. As an American brand, representation of white plantation power and black people’s subordination of white were taken in that the ideology of America’s history of black slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. These repeated images were stereotyping black people as an object, which is slave, implicating the power of whiteness and producing a ‘realistic’ illusion of black people. Moreover, the existence of ‘commodity racism’ suggested by Hall (1997, p. 240) echoes with Aunt Jemima’s advertisement, by which the conquered images of black were being exploited as a marketing strategy in domestic product while the representation of white power and black submission of white taken for granted.

Nevertheless, as “stereotyping reduces, essentializes, naturalizes and fixes ‘difference’” (Hall, cited in Barker, 2008, p.264), it evidences the constructed role of black female, named ‘mammies’ (Donald, cited in Barker, 2008, p.265), with simple, negative and exaggerated representations. For example, in Aunt Jemima, the reinforced image of black middle-aged female should be plump and bossy as a house servant with headband. While the image of black female had been becoming singular, refer to Shohat’s argument that “rather than directly reflecting the real, or even
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