Stereotypes in the Media

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Edie Rangel
Race and Ethnicity
Professor Herman
October 25, 2010

Over the past couple of decades the usage of offensive stereotypes have played a big role in popular films, TV shows, music videos, and comedy routines today. In fact one can only argue that these offensive stereotypes have increased considerably and will only continue to grow. There are many reasons as to why these stereotypes have only increased and have led to the creators of these films making millions and millions of dollars. The main reason behind this is making fun of race, color, poverty, and other cultures and using straightforward offensive words to do so is humorous to a large part of the US population. Although most of us would feel insulted if these offensive racial stereotypes were directed toward us. The purpose of comedy routines/films was to bring laughter for the media today, which was not the case decades ago. The reason why the media displayed much discrimination and stereotypes in the films was to portray minorities as dangerous, uneducated and unsuccessful. Though now the media has showed much improvement in how they portray minorities, there are many films showing Blacks/Hispanics being the main character and successful such as Will Smith has played the heroic and professional character in many films such as Independence Day, Men in Black, Bad Boys etc. This has helped pave the way for Black’s reputation on the big screen and real life. Antonio Banderas is another actor who has been very successful in his career and received awards and nominations for his roles in movies where he has played famous Latin artists. This is another positive way for minorities to be looked as equal to Whites in the media and not just be portrayed as the stereotypical characters. The media that helped make these diverse programs so successful for many years; the focus is on the entertainment rather than just the diversity and stereotypical views of minority characters. This has changed the mindset of many who thought that minorities were only to be displayed at delinquents on television. I believe Black and Hispanics characters will continue to grow on TV and the big screen. On the comedic perspective, perhaps people will be able to see past all the stereotypical and racial jokes because the media has gotten passed it. The film “Ethic Notions” was one of the first films that the media discriminated against black Americans from the early 1900s to the present.  It showed the appalling ideas and thoughts that whites presented through the media about black people in America. As a result, blacks were depicted in the media as frightening savages.  A Broadway play was introduced in which black males tried to attack young white virgins. Even black children were depicted as unruly savages.  Whites created degrading nursery rhymes in which the children played violent games and accidentally killed each other.  Such images were put forth to suggest that blacks needed to be controlled and that America should return to the "good old times" with slavery. 20th century the images and the depiction of black Americans didn't change at all. The only difference now is the hate is now on film. Blacks began to enter theater and they used it as a step in the right direction to get out of the south and start a new life with opportunities. Through the 1940s the blackface became discarded but its image left its mark on society. Soon cartoons became the voice for racism. This way when any violence or mistreatment were occurring it would be entertaining and humorous. The cartoons had the power to influence young minds to see stereotypes as being entertaining by making references to black.

Movies and crime shows have often show Black and Hispanic males as the offender, running from the police, being disrespectful or involved in hostile situations. The problem is not that they show this behavior but they show it constantly, over...
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