With the longstanding history of oppression of Blacks, in the United States of America, it would be fair to state that as a people, Blacks are discriminated against. Since slavery, in essence, was built on the domination and exploitation of the strengths of the oppressed, it is fair then to say that the strength in the Black male was seen as particularly threatening. Any sign of real or imagined defiance, therefore has given Whites reason to further oppress or lash out. The media is a tool which stands to yield much power; the power to influence being arguably its sole greatest attribute.
Because a cultural fear resides within the White community, derived from years of guilt due to the senseless lynching and attacks borne of a hate filled mentality, Whites feel the need to justify their treatment of Black Men; hence the Media’s approach. Only fifteen or twenty years ago the Black male was still celebrated on television as a criminal. Rarely, if ever was he portrayed as a welcome member of society, let alone a viable component in White society or a family unit. It is so much easier to have compassion for people we readily understand, when we see them as human beings, with real lives and families, something stands to change.
Staunch racists would probably be appalled to see an interracial couple in the media; maybe that is why it is nearly, if not completely, unheard of to date. The majority of drug dealers on TV have been Black Males. That is not to say Black Women haven’t suffered as well. But the men who were supposed to be the strength and backbone of Black society have been portrayed as players. Always prepared to make a fast dollar and ever less likely to raise one of their many uncared for but sired children. We have the Jerry Springers and Geraldo Riveras and Maury Poviches of this world to thank for these images.
Continually perpetuating such stereotypes does little to solve any problems in this historically crippled demographic. It hinders, encourages youth to believe in a self fulfilling false prophecy. Historically, Blacks have been equated to children, given to drinking and drugging and wanton sex. There is little deviation from that perception within the media. That is until of late. With the exception of a very few, the Black Male has been lambasted and strung up as inferior, except probably in unmentionable areas. Physical prowess, overall weakness; this sounds like the scenario for the makeup of a dumb blonde joke.
It begs the question; with Whites at the media helm are they afraid to take Black Men seriously? Thankfully, this is beginning to change. With a Black President Barak Obama, of mixed heritage, we are able to better conceptualize a Black Man with power, charisma, kindness and above all a successful combination of integrity charm and intelligence. Historically, Black Men have been the victims of organized and systematic slavery, as well as the victims of the media’s dysfunction. Barak Obama’s win was a day of vindication for the Black Male.
Prior to Obama’s victory, Black men have been forced to comply with pre fabricated codes of behavior set by society and media alike. Before television ruled hearts and minds, books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin established a beaten, downtrodden Black Male typifying a good Negro. Now a Black Man that behaves in a similar self-defeating, self-effacing, subordinate fashion is frowned upon. However, he is still thus portrayed on TV. ”These images are corrosive,” said UCLA political scientist Franklin Gilliam, who is conducting a national focus group study on racial attitudes.
”It’s not just about keeping black males infantile; what it does is keep a focus on the ‘misanthropic nature’ of black men. If everyone else depicted is ‘in the system’ and this young black man is perceived as not, the common response of society is that he’s the problem… ” Hence, the options have been: be an “Uncle Tom” or be mistreated. Moreover, in spite of limitations put on Black Men to succeed “In the last century black men have literally gone from being slaves to business owners, government leaders, lawyers, doctors, firemen, generals, entertainers and educators.
No other oppressed class of people anywhere else in the world has advanced its standing in a society this quickly”. This has not been made possible by the media. In fact, the support of White Males in the media is astounding, in contrast. Black men have been forced to emulate, always trying, to some extent, to be White to be right. Being a Black Male in and of itself had become the crime. In an instant the constant barrage of misconceptions and prejudices perpetuated by the media, come to the fore. Passing a Black Male in the street, let alone a dark alley, becomes cause for fear; simply
This is not to say Black Men do not commit crimes, or leave their offspring. As with any racial group or denomination, there will be those who either don’t care to or just do not measure up. However, the media has painted a sharp contrast from biased news reports that suggest the only crimes being committed are by Black Men. They have painted the White Male as the ever constant hero and the Black Male as the ever constant villain. Again before TV, the main source of media – the Bible, painted the Devil as Black. This proves there has been a disproportionate support of Black as bad and therefore the Black Male as malicious.
“Last week the New York Times published an article about the plight of American black men. The article was another example of major media outlets using negative statistics to consistently cast black men as the scourge of this country. It is not surprising that editors and journalists pursue and use these stories. Gloom and doom sells”. In closing “SINCE the very day that White European men ventured into the advanced civilization on the continent of Africa, there has been an open season of assault, murder, misinformation, miseducation, incarceration, and character assassination of the Black male.
Every, means necessary to minimize the Black male in America has been employed. The because one has little exposure to the other except for images of a dark reality in the media. psychoses of slavery have many of us shackled mentally, emotionally and psychologically. Yet the Black male in America has endured every challenge and succeeded. Due to the fears of many in the White community, Black males are targeted at earlier ages before they can begin to climb the ladder of success politically, socially and economically. ” There are a disproportionate number of Black Men in jail versus University.
This does not mean they commit more crimes by nature or in reality; this means they have been sought out to pay the price for members of society that are not being exposed; strung up and crucified. The Bible said Jesus had “Hair like wool and skin like bronze” and we know he was persecuted for being different. Being persecuted, Black Men suffer by losing their lives or livelihood; maybe their ambition too, to land a role in a cast where White Males are favorite. Naturally, if every time the news broadcasts a crime we see a Black Male or other minority, we will learn to cringe, at the sight of them.
Or perhaps we will pull our hand back when giving change. Or perhaps we will arrest the wrong man, simply for being the wrong color. For many generations, being born a Black Man meant being born at the wrong place at the wrong time; with times now changing, perhaps that has come to an end. President Obama has led us, as Americans and Citizens of the world, to see a future where being educated speaks to ambition, and the colour of skin speaks to the temperature of the sun that one evolved from; and not the other way around.
With enough exposure to the way the other half of the Black Male community lives, the myth of the unsuccessful Black Male will be destroyed. In its place a reality check and perhaps the breeding ground for tomorrow’s Men; most notably, Black Men; but above all Men. The media is capable of creating accurate depictions, to both emulate and to recreate lives worth living. Little White Girls starve themselves based on the propaganda of what a White Woman should be. Black Women scorn themselves because they are often depicted as unworthy, attitudinal and aggressive.
A Black Man is cheated his innocence when it is assumed he has none; a false prophecy worth denouncing. Better to watch a child with no preconceptions and let him prove his worth than to tell him who he is, through the media or otherwise, and watch him feed our disillusionment. Bibliography There are no sources in the current document. http://archive. newsmax. com/archives/articles/2006/3/30/140755. shtml http://www. boston. com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/05/27/stereotyping_black_men/ http://archive. newsmax. com/archives/articles/2006/3/30/140755. shtml http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_6_59/ai_114477402