Why do Television Documentaries always do packages on African American celebrities that come from the ghetto?
There are three theories behind the question of television packages being done primarily on African Americans who are from the ghetto. 1) The "pull yourself up by your bootstraps concept in embedded in conservative ideology. Most conservatives believe that the reason so many African Americans live in poverty is primarily due to a lack of motivation and a willingness to work hard. This way of thinking downplays discrimination, racism and prejudice as factors in why so many African Americans live below the poverty level. Featuring successful African Americans supports the belief that this can be done and these celebrities are the example. A second theory is that everybody likes a "feel good story". Portraying an African American celebrity who has made it out of poverty suggests that the American Dream is alive and well, and everyone has the opportunity to do what they want to regardless of their background. A third theory comes out of an assumption or a stereotype that most African Americans live in the ghetto. It builds on the notion that Black families in large part are poor, and those that do well are the exception. Whether this assumption is true or not, the underlying message that is left in the minds of the public is that most African American families are poor. This perception ignores the many Black families that are middle and upper income and contributing significantly to well-being of this country in all segments of life.
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