Stereotypes in Media

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Media is an important and popular entertainment. People also obtain information and form their impressions on characters who are represented in media. As a result, racism media will implement the stereotypes into people’s mind. Unfortunately, American media has a long history of producing media contents with bias and stereotypes. This enhanced the racism which has a long history in America. Racism and stereotypes have serious consequences such as stereotype threat and media are one of the forces that push them. Racism is not only in our lives but also in the media. In the article “Racism and the Media: A Textual Analysis”, the author Kulaszewicz examined the influence of racism in media. Kuaszewicz stated: “In one form or another, media influences the majority of the population in the United States” (2).

Media can affect public opinion since it is common in our daily life. If a society is exposed in media with bias and stereotypes, the misunderstanding between different ethnic groups will grow stronger. In Chapter 10 presentation, “Race in the Cultural Imagination”, I learned that there were many examples which people were represented in negative ways. For instance, African American people were shown as a villain in the movie “The Birth of a Nation” whine the racism mob, KKK was showed as the protagonist (Fitzgerald).

Moreover, the documentary Racial Stereotypes in the Media, the power of American media was revealed. American culture and mass media have wide and deep international influences. Racial stereotypes in media will affect not only people live in America, but also people who are represented in media. Besides, in Hollywood movies, the white male always played the leading role and other gender and races characters are always shown weaker or worse than them (2009). Media is used to propagate for political purposes as well. Magazines, newspapers, television, and movies all contain stereotypes.

The documentary The Slanted Screen: Asian Men in Film and Television introduced the story of Kintaro Hayakawa. He was the most successful Asian actor at that time. However, after him, Asian performers never got a chance to play the main character. Instead, non-Asian characters play Asians in movies. Furthermore, villain characters such as Fu Manzou were created and they became famous. presenting the negative and stereotype of Asian people (2006). Media also reflexes social inequality. In the article “Media, Racism, and Monitoring”, the author Teun A. van Dijk explored the consequences which the media cause. The research found that most of the media resources were controlled by “elites”.

They use media as a tool to manipulate public opinion and maintain their privilege (2-4). By maintain the privilege groups’ authority in media, people will be affected. For example, this inequality in media reflexed social economic status. In Chapter 8 presentation “Economic Inequality and the Role of the State”, the research showed that white, non-Hispanic Americans have the highest median wealth per household. Almost as two times as a typical family. African American families were lowest on this chart (Fitzgerald).

In the media, African Americans are always placed with crime, drugs, and poverty. This is another example of media reflexing social inequality. For instance, in chapter 9 presentation, “Crime and Criminal Justice”, the research examined racial disparities in Crime and profiling and police brutality. Black people were 13.2% of the American population but the crime rate and juveniles in the justice system were higher than other races in America, the numbers and rate of sentenced prisoners keep increasing since 1930 (Fitzgerald). Many movies show African American as villains or criminals reflexes this reality, but most of them were just for entertainment. Media is helping to build a society of whiteness.

This is “Whitewash”. In the documentary, Whitewashed: Unmasking the World of Whiteness, people shared their experience and reasons why they identify themselves as whites instead of their original ethnic identities such as Germans or British. A lot of the Europeans changed their last names so that they sound more “American”, they changed their living style and more importantly, their culture. All this was just for blending into “mainstream” so that they can find jobs or houses (2013).

See the content of Hollywood movies, white performers play all kinds of characters, they even play Egyptians or Japanese. Besides, the mainstream media is forgetting people who are contributing to the nation but living in a bad situation. In the film In the Shadows: Undocumented Immigration in America, Jairo and his family struggle in the United States to survive. They left their home to seek a better life, the American Dream. But their living condition is unknown and undocumented until the crew found them (2013).

Meanwhile, President Trump says that people like them are threatening the country. In the movies, Mexican races never take leading roles, there immigrations lives are also never shown. Mainstream Media is controlled by privilege and served privilege. This has to be changed. Luckily, there are people care about poor people and with the development of technology, more independent movies and documentaries are produced. People like me have a chance to discover the story of forgotten people. Media is spreading racism and stereotypes. As a result, it is harmful to people who were treated with bias.

There is a phenomenon called “stereotype threat”. In the article “STEREOTYPE THREAT: AN OVERVIEW”, the authors Steve Stroessner and Catherine Good stated that “Stereotype threat refers to being at risk of confirming, as a self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s social group” (qtd. Good and Stroessner 1). Although the stereotype threat mainly harms academic performance, this theory can still be applied to other factors. For example, African Americans were shown as criminals or drug dealers. If a black person was caught being criminal, this impression will be “confirmed” and enhanced by the public.

In the article “‘I am us’: negative stereotypes as collective threats”, the authors Cohen and Garcia did research about how negative stereotypes affect people as a collective threat. They stated: “Under collective threat, participants avoided the stereotype. They distanced themselves from the stereotypical image of their social group. They dissociated from the person who had potentially discredited their group by sitting farther away. In addition, they inhibited thoughts about the stereotype” (8).

Thus, the stereotype is not only affecting people’s academic performance but also creating conflicts, harming people’s ethnic identifications. Besides, stereotypes also. In chapter 12 presentation, “A Postracial Society?’, I learned that today’s America is experiencing an anti-immigrant climate and the racialization of immigrants. Hate crimes are increasing. Moreover, minority groups don’t have enough political power to represent themselves. The history of anti-immigrant is also long and institutional. For example, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act (Fitzgerald).

These hate crimes now not only happen on the street but also online. Social media helps hate to spread and affect more people. In conclusion, stereotypes and racism still exist in our society. Media is a tool which helps the privilege to build racism. Stereotypes in media are harming minority groups and unless we stop this phenomenon, it will become worse. During this quarter, I learned the history and influence of racism and stereotypes deeply, and I made up my mind that I will contribute to fighting against racism.

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Stereotypes in Media. (2019, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/stereotypes-in-media/

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