Misunderstanding Racial Identity

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, African American, Racism Pages: 5 (1782 words) Published: May 20, 2013
Misunderstanding Racial Identity

The wrong interpretation of race has caused racism and prejudice problems, which have been passed from generation to generation. In America, where there is a large diversity, more people are guilty of “categorizing” others by using race and stereotypes. The incorrect “sorting” of individuals has become more evident on T.V, daily life, and current political and public views. In this text, I will explore some of the ways in which popular culture contributes to the dangerous trend of perpetuating and promoting unjust classifications through the use of stereotypes. Today, we identify people in such a way that people’s emotions are affected. Media has an immense impact on this because that is how people keep up-to-date with popular culture. Also agreeing with my perspective is Omi, who states that “Popular culture has been an important realm within which racial ideologies [that] provide a framework of symbols, concepts, and images through which we understand, interpret, and represent aspects of our “racial existence” (Pg. 628). The way that media present people from different cultures influences the way we develop prejudices. By looking at these features, we come up with ideas (or stereotypes) about the people that are being presented. I consider myself as a person that gets categorized by other people and also participate in categorizing because I am like any other human being that criticizes people’s actions, appearance, the way they speak, etc. While judging others, we come up with assumptions about them and classify them into a group or category. Based on the image that we form, we construct their identity in our minds and consequently treat people based on that image we have created of them. The classification of people into groups is so grave that global issues have occurred and are likely to keep occurring. For example, consider slavery; Europeans made a hierarchy of races putting African Americans at the bottom of the list. If we recall, African Americans became slaves in the United States and were treated with cruelty because they were seen as the lowest class that had no rights. Since a large portion of Americans viewed African American as the lowest class, the belief has remained throughout generations, therefore; many Americans still classify African Americans as the lowest class. Many times advertisement is a way in which specific groups are targeted and this can be offensive to the group because the commercials, ads, or posters present stereotypes instead. Propaganda and advertisement are meant to appeal to the attention of certain groups, but when the groups are racially targeted, it is a problem that we should strive to resolve to better our communities. Other situations where stereotypes are observable are when we watch Television. For example, when a Hispanic family is presented along with violence and maltreatment, the stereotype of “macho” and violent men is spread throughout society. As a result of such events portrayed by the media, we form perceptions about people or groups, and in our minds generalize the situations by applying it to a whole race. Stereotypes are not limited to advertisements and music but are also seen on daily life situations as well. For example, I have noticed the changing attitudes about racial identities in my community some of these changing attitudes are reflected by the way certain members of the community are classifying others based on racial or ethnic membership. According to the CNN Wire Staff, the city of San Bernardino in California went into bankruptcy in the year of 2012 (“San Bernardino Files for Bankruptcy” 1). As a result, different ethnic groups were blaming racial groups for this situation. A couple of days later, I heard an Anglo-Saxon American leader of a business association blaming African Americans and Hispanics for the bankruptcy. He blamed African Americans communities for wasting money and having countless babies that...
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