African American Stereotypes in the Media

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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? Are African American stereotypes still apparent in the media? What shows, movies, etc have made others portray our race as “Ghetto” or other lists of stereotypes? Are there any solutions to stop African American stereotypes? When we subscribe to the belief that groups of member are expected to possess certain characteristics, we are engaging stereotypes. When these groups are evaluated based on what the perceiver believes the target ought to be, judgments are made. These judgments concerning these individuals, based on their membership in a group or judgments made about people are not particularly based on facts. Stereotypes about our race dates all the way back to slavery. The beliefs that we were dishonest, promiscuous, and violent were evident during slavery of our black race. More recently the media sets the tone for morals, values, info about our culture; leading people to believe everything they see on TV including black stereotypes. It is a fact that one out of three people are said to have more than one TV in their house, which shows that media is a source for how people form perceptions about people (Tosi 13). Perception thus becomes a reality to people, and once people perceive it, stereotyping is born....
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