The Perpetuation of Negative Images of African Americans Through Mass Media

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The Perpetuation of Negative Images of African Americans through Mass Media

Why as white people have we been lulled into thinking its safe to be around other white people. Why have we been taught since birth that it's the people of that other color we need to fear? They're the ones that will slit your throat (Moore 57). The mass media has played and will continue to play a crucial role in the way white Americans perceive African-Americans. As a result of the overwhelming media focus on crime, drug use, gang violence, and other forms of anti-social behavior among African-Americans, the media is fostering a distorted public perception of African-Americans. Looking at past examples of African Americans treatment in the media, one can see that the media has become the main perpetrator through which oppression, discrimination and the treatment of African Americans as second class citizens is carried out. As a result of this media bias, white America has suffered from a deep uncertainty as to who African-Americans really are. The media stereotype of bad guys wearing black or that anything that is black is evil has been fostered for decades. Looking at one of the oldest sources in the media (the dictionary) you clearly see racist overtones in the definitions of any words starting with black or white. Black is defined as opposite to white, African American, soiled or stained, and evil or wicked just to name a few of the definitions (Webster 68). I believe this not only fosters a subconscious negative view of African Americans, but also makes many white people think they are some how better than blacks. The defense put on by the four white Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King in 1991, and the recent case in Ohio, are very telling of this. They claimed that they were scared and felt they might have been attacked or even killed (88). This is a legitimate excuse in a white American society that perpetuates negative images of African...
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