Race and Ethnicity in the United States

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The lives of black people, specifically black men in the United States of America have long been affected adversely by racism. In most cases, black people have turned away from jobs since they are not considered the right fit. Consequently, in the public places and on the streets, black men are often considered by the security officers as potential criminals, therefore they are the main target of stop-and-frisk. The negative media portrayals are strongly connected to the fact that people have low life expectations from the black men.

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The above depictions frequently reinforced on the television stations, print media, fiction shows, the internet, video games and print advertising have negatively transformed public perception and attitude towards black men. These media platforms, not only contribute in the creation of barriers to the advancement of the society, they also make these positions appear inevitable and natural.

In most cases, the opportunity agenda study usually indicates that the media distortion is multi-faceted, specifically when it comes to the real world facts (Staples 37). For instance, there is always under-representation of black men as talking heads professionals, users of expensive or luxury items in print, in print media and as relatable and reliable personalities with enhanced backgrounds in fiction films and shows. Irresistible evidence subsists of exaggerated connection of African-American men to the crime associated with drugs, poverty, and unemployment. The idle black men found in the public places and streets are the true face of poverty in the United States of America, but they are the dominant ones in the world as portrayed by the media. There are always numerous studies over the social media that associate black man with obstinate problems. Men of color detained in esteem by the sources of media, while utterly worthy of praise, and usually personify a constrained spectrum of individual qualities. In most of the media stations, the general physical achievement, prowess in sports and musicality are stressed inordinately. Popular role models portrayed by the media such as hip-hop stars, rap stars, and basketball players involve limited life choices. Several essential dynamics that influence black people such as the existing anti-black bias in the society and the history of economic disadvantages are not always addressed on the screens or presses.


According to the Opportunity Agenda Study that was supported by the Open Society Foundation, the campaign for the achievement of black man indicated how the media misrepresentation leads to the development of problematic attitudes in different audiences, not the least in which being a determined antagonism towards black male (Hurwitz and Peffley 41). The most evident social and economic problems facing the black people are not being solved. Instead, the media does not take part in reporting such problems. What is being displayed out is the hyped view of black and white people being coupled with violence and criminality. The example of looting vs finding during the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, where news photograph captioned young black man looting and a white couple finding supplies in the wake of the disaster clearly illustrates the overt racial prejudice in the news media. There is also the lack of empathy for the black boys and men in troubles. The media often pay less attention to the bigger picture of economic and social disparities and the increased public support of advanced approaches to social problems; such social ills or problems include longer jail sentences and police brutality or aggression.


When the media misrepresents the black male, the effects are felt in the entire world. The information aired by the media has the greatest influence on the perception of people who lack practical world experience. The images and word choice used by the media have the capability to influence larger public audiences. Therefore, the media can play a significant role reducing racism and the general positive perception of the black people. Individuals who have never interacted with the black people or the black family usually tend to adopt what the media tells them. When the media decides to air negative comments about the black men or the black people in general, the entire black race suffers. On the other hand, when the media decides to display derogatory portrayals, the entire black race may lose self-esteem and become demoralized. In the worst cases, the black men and boys often internalize stereotypes and biases aired by the media, and through their behavior, they tend to perpetuate and even reinforce the misrepresentations and as a result, they turn out to be the victims of perception. In the year 2012, Professor Bas van Doom at the Wooster College in Ohio examined the images related to the United States’ poverty-related stories in the US News, Newsweek and World Report from the year 1992 till 2010. In most cases, the stories were accompanied by the images of black people, to be more specific, black men appeared in more than half of the images, regardless of the fact that black people only constituted 25% of the number of people living below the poverty lines (Linda Huang, 2018).

The media is supposed to provide a more elaborate and a balanced perspective of the African-American male populace worsen cultural differences. In most cases, most media houses are reluctant to enhance an environment of equality and cohesion among the black men. Additionally, the media often enable judges to initiate harsher sentences, encourage companies to deny jobs to the black people, encourage police to kill with brutality and encourage banks to decline loans to the black people. The entire media is surely aware of its ability to shape popular opinions, ideas, and attitudes of the population. The media should thus become equally mindful of the roles that they ought to play in order to ensure social change for the betterment of the entire population. The liberal endeavors of black achievement may not be enough to offset unequal emphasis on the failure of the black male. Besides encouraging black people to take up different roles in the media, the media must carefully address encourage inclusiveness and equality for all in order to facilitate the perception of black people.

The negative perceptions towards the men of color facilitated by the media sources have led to the increased racism, aggression and even economic disadvantages among the black people. The negative perception and biases often enhanced by the media towards the black people are distressing to the country and its culture. It leads racism which causes tremendous cultural, economic and moral suffering to a country. When the seeds of biases and negative perceptions are planted and fostered in a social setup, they negatively influence every aspect of life. Media biased towards the men of color does not consent to the collective contribution of all the citizens, which is a vital element of the nation’s development and success. If men of color are linked to the societal ills, a situation that is normally facilitated by the media, they tend to become reluctant in making great contributions to the society in economic, medical and technological arenas. Media biases towards black men lead to racism and as a result, black men and boys are denied quality education, a situation that normally tends to hinder the economic development of a nation. If a class of a group of people is disregarded and associated with the negative ills of the society, it means that a nation fails to appreciate similarities and differences that are common in every society. With negative perceptions propagated by the media, a nation may become increasingly ethnocentric, a situation that may delay social development and reduce the level of social relationship.

No matter how hard the media may attempt to associate men of color with the ills of the society, the most important thing is that, in the long run, the population in several occasion is forced to share some space. Therefore, however, the situation may look like; the media fraternity must always try to treat people equally irrespective of their color, background, language or religion. The media should advocate for complete fellowship and participation. The negative perception of men of color often propagated by the media destroys the morality of the people. The inferiority perception is based on hypocrisy. If media perceive black men as lazy, they may become reluctant to support the anti-poverty programs developed by the government. On the other hand, if the media try to associate black men to the high illiteracy level or acts of violence, it may end up hindering the education programs meant to increase country’s literacy level. Consequently, if black men become associated with negative things about their own race, they may develop antisocial behaviors which may be harmful to the cultural relationship.


Although the negative perception of black men is mostly instigated by the media, the black men, as well as the entire black family, are usually responsible for the treatment and perceptions they receive from other races and the media as a whole. In the United States, it is important to note that black men commit close to half of the murders recorded (Smith 21). The number of murders committed the blacks is worrying given the fact that the black people only constitute 12% to 13% of the total population. According to the US Census Bureau, close to thirteen percent of Americans are black and due to their small number, they commit a lot of crimes when compared to other races (Smith 25). Again, in accordance to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, the black criminals committed fifty-two percent of the killings recorded in the databases between the year 1980 and 2008 (Smith 19). Consequently, from the database, only forty-five percent of the offenders were white. Killing is treated as a serious offense by the United States Judicial system. In the above case, when the cases of homicides are reported in the media, the black men are often found to be responsible, a situation that originates from their own actions. The arrest of Black Males in Starbucks was widely aired by the media and they were perceived as criminals before being proven guilty by the courts. Blacks are inexplicably likely to commit murders and become the victims. In the year 2008 alone, the offending rates for among the black was seven times higher than that of the white people in the United States. Additionally, their victimization rate was six times higher (Smith 27). The black men also victimize their fellow black men. All these scenarios often find their way into the media, a situation that makes the black men to be perceived as violent and anti-social. With the violent behaviors, black men and the entire black race are often perceived negatively. The black men are not violent, there are some of them that contribute positively towards the well-being of the fellow countrymen, and for instance, James Shaw, to disarm the shooter was widely celebrated by the media and the lawmakers.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are always many cases of black men involved in the criminal activities. The proportion of black men suspected of criminal activities often relate to the number of black offenders identified by the National Crime Victimization Survey. The above case does not support the idea that the police and the media are unfairly discriminating against the black men and the entire black population. The black offenders, as well as the young black men, in particular, are over-represented in America’s crime list. Due to media propagation, there is a wide spectrum of views about the negative perception of black people. From the online sources and social media, there is always unapologetic negative perceptions with people who are involved blaming the situation on the historic racism. Black men can do better to stop negative perception by limiting the acts of aggression, violent and homicide instances and as a result, they will not attract the attention of the media which often attempt to tarnish the image of the black race.

Amidst the media propagation on factors that lead to the negative perception of black men, there are many opportunities that black men do not qualify to engage in due to their appearance i.e. they become ineligible as a result of their actions and physical outlook. Many black men may become ineligible to access Social Security support as a result of high level of incarceration among the black people (Linda Huang, 2018). When they get released at older ages, most of them usually end up with no or little Social Security benefits. The above situation may lead to inadequate incomes for their spouses later in life. Ineligibility for Social Security is commonly high among the black immigrants. Most of the people who arrive in America at the age of above fifty often end up with no Social Security benefits. In most organizations, black men are usually excluded from some position due to their appearance, in the media, for instance, most of the positions are often held up by the Whites (Linda Huang, 2018). As media link many black men with antisocial behavior such as homicides, poverty, and stealing, most companies find it hard to incorporate them into their system for fear of misconducts and immoral behaviors. Most racist, however, believes that black men should not hold some positions in the government, businesses and even in the high social setups. The financial security for the increasing number of black men is becoming a looming issue.


Black men’s simplicity in their dress code has contributed to them being stereotyped. The killing of the young black man, Travon Martin was as a result of stereotyping the black men in the United States of America. In most cases, black men have a simple dress code that sometimes disqualifies them from being in some positions in the places of work. On the other hand, most of the blacks often fail to succeed in job interviews based on their simple dress codes. There is also another incidence of the harmful racial stereotype that black man hairstyle is naturally unprofessional. However, according to the United States laws, racial segregation can only be bias based on the traits that cannot be changed such as the color of the skin. The media often stereotype the black men basing on their nature of simplicity; this links them to the economic disadvantages that they face. Most black men and boys have resorted to proper dressing to avoid being stereotyped based on the dress code. Black men have a form of dressing that makes people perceive them as violent; when writing stories about crimes in the media print, the authors may use the above images to pass the story to their audiences. As a result, the media print consumers start to develop negative perception towards the black men.

The implicit bias, prejudice and stereotyping play significant roles in the way public perceive and respond to black men. With bias, the public often tends to develop a negative attitude towards the black race (Barrios 27). In some cases, some organizations may not have the confidence to employ black men as a result of the negative perception created by the media and people from other races. Through discrimination and stereotyping the public often tend to presume that the black men are economically disadvantaged and that this results from their violent actions and high literacy levels. The negative and positive perception of black people may be grounded in different areas. While a person may believe that a specific aspect or experience of an individual’s background may cause a person to feel either negative or positive towards a racial group, the responses towards the black men may be multifaceted and may have different antecedents. The negative perception and biases often enhanced by the media towards the black people are distressing to the country and its culture. It leads racism which causes tremendous cultural, economic and moral suffering to a country.

Works Cited

Barrios, Olga. The Black Theater Movement in the United States and in South Africa. Valencia: Universitat de Valencia, 2008. Print.

Hurwitz, J., & Peffley, M. (1997). Public perceptions of race and crime: The role of racial stereotypes. American journal of political science, 375-401.

Shover, Neal. Great pretenders: Pursuits and careers of persistent thieves. Routledge, 2018.

Smith, Jessica. “”US Census Bureau.”” (2014).

Staples, Brent. “”Black men and public space.”” Life studies (1992): 2-32.

Linda Huang . Racism in the Housing Market. New York Times. 2018

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Race and Ethnicity in the United States. (2019, Dec 02). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/race-and-ethnicity-in-the-united-states/