Thesis in Progress

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I. INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents the background of the study, the rationale for conducting a descriptive analysis on the evolution of selected local gay films from 1970's to present, the research problem and objectives, significance of the study and its scope.

A. Background of the Study
Media is said to be very influential and powerful because it has the ability to shape people’s views on various beliefs, religion, gender and race related issues, and others. People’s perceptions are being molded as media plays significant roles in society such as political, economic and social. It is said to be powerful for it holds many channels such as in print (books, newspaper, magazines and others), television, radio, the internet and films.

For decades, American entertainment media have defined the Asian image to all the world. And usually, that image has been shaped by people with little understanding of Asian people themselves--and with little foresight into how such images would impact the Asian American community. Despite the good intentions of individual producers and filmmakers, limited and unbalanced portrayals of Asians have traditionally been the norm in the entertainment industry. Too often, an Asian face or accent is presented as a shorthand symbol for anything antithetical to American or Western culture. Too often, no distinctions are made between Asian Americans--acculturated U.S. citizens with deep roots in this nation--and Asian nationals who may or may not have any loyalty to the United States. Too often, the media insinuate that Asian Americans don't belong in their own country. (MANAA (Media Action Network for Asian Americans)/Restrictive Portrayals of Asians in the Media and How to Balance/p.1)

According to Balkaran (1999), Mass media have 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 have fostered a distorted and pernicious public perception of African-Americans. In 1967, the Kerner Report attacked the mass media for their inadequate handling of day-to-day coverage of racial events. The Report charged the media with failing to properly communicate about race to the majority of their audience. That is, white America needed to hear more about the actual conditions and feelings of African-Americans in the U.S. Only when events are associated with concern of the "white public" do they become newsworthy. Given the situation in America where the major news media have predominantly white reporters and serve a mainly white audience, it follows that the "public" which dictates newsworthy events is a white public. The day to day tensions of black existence and exploitation, which are crucial concerns of the black community, are not primary concerns of the white public. Only the symptoms of these conditions, such as freedom rides and social disturbances, impinge upon whites. Hence, it is only such "events" which become newsworthy in a white press.

Balkaran (1999) also said that, one of the main reasons for the inadequate coverage of the underlying causes of racial stereotypes in the U.S. is that the condition of blacks itself is not a matter of high interest to the white majority. Their interest in black America is focused upon situations in which their imagined fear becomes a real problem. Events like boycotts, pickets, civil rights demonstrations, and particularly racial violence mark the point at which black activity impinges on white concerns. It is not surprising that the white-oriented media seek to satisfy the needs of their white audience and reflect this pattern of attention to these selected events. (as cited in YALE articlesVol.21, No.1/ Mass Media and Racism/1999)

Media speaks volumes about what is important in a society. George Gerbner of Temple...
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