Media and Magazines
The purpose of this review of literature is two-fold. First, the review demonstrates that more research needs to be done on the way that the Black woman has been represented in the media, both in the print and electronic media. Despite the many contributions made by various scholars from an intersectional perspective, there have been few studies focusing on the stereotypical representation of black women in the media. Secondly, this chapter focuses on establishing some of the foundational stereotypes of women in the media, especially women living in the U.S.
Previous researches have been carried out concerning the portrayal of women in media both in the print media and in the electronic media. For instance, studies on media and its role in agenda setting have been conducted not only in the United States but also across the world. Many of these researches have used a qualitative methodology such as content analysis to conduct these researches. These analyses, especially the content analysis, tend to focus more on the portrayal of women in magazines, advertisements, television images and in music videos as well portraying women as the socializing tools that media uses to drive their agendas especially during advertisements.
Research findings have provided significant evidence that media plays a vital role in the socialization of children and adults, shaping their self-confidence, self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and how the society perceives them. Research proves that women are portrayed in media as agenda setting agents that drive stereotypes of both black and white men based upon the power and perception of the males. These stereotypes tend to hurt women’s worth leaving negative impressions of women and the space they occupy in the society. A research conducted by Sellers et al pointed out that ‘a pseudo-reality that is better than real’ as it is expressed in media imagery and idealization of fantasy vs. reality. Research suggests that ‘that these portrayals appear to reinforce cognitive linkages between black people and stereotypes. Many studies focusing on gender and class have examined women and the stereotypical images that are portrayed in the media, but few have focused on whiteness, as a property and the implications that the white supremacy as profitable using those images.
There are content analyses that have focused on the portray of images of women, especially white women, in magazines, advertisements and in music videos, but not laying much focus on the portrayal of the black women in the media. However, these researches have tend to focus more on the portrayal of women imagery as sex objects used to push particular agenda and to attract more viewers as well as readers especially in magazines and music videos. Moreover, these researchers have also focused on the effects that these images have on the women and their relationship with others in the society. The gender and media studies have carried an in-depth analysis at the images of women in magazines and in music videos. To date, not enough researches have been carried out to reveal portray of black women in the media due to the space that the black women occupy in the society, especially in a white dominated society. For instance, researches about black women on magazine covers and their dual roles have been carried, but not much focus has been placed on their findings and recommendations.
The stereotypical imagery that presents women can have an impact on gender roles and how the society views’s women. Gofffmans (1979) research about work and gender role(s) in advertisements provides one of the most popularly used reference to similar researches touching on portray of women in the society using imagery. However, critiques to Goffman’s work and findings on ‘Gender Advertisements’ argue that Goffman specifically chose advertisements to advance his work and to propose his observations rather than doing a random sample covering the entire media, both the print and the electronic media. The critics argue that the findings may not be good enough and may be below the bar set for referencing due to the limitations on the population used by Goffman to carry out this research. The visual imagery used by Goffman was not chosen so that generalization to a population of visual images could be made; instead, he deliberately selected advertisements that mirrored gender differences, sometimes ones that captured the nuances of social relationships. However, despite these critiques on Goffman’s work, his findings and observations in his research on ‘Gender Advertisements’ have widely been referenced by other researches conducting similar researches.
Stereotypes of Black Women in the US
In ‘Black feminist Thought, Patricia Hills Collins 2009, wrote about controlling images that are the stereotypical representation of the black women. The hegemonic images of the black women are meant to make racism, sexism, poverty and other forms of social injustices especially towards women of African descent to appear natural, inevitable and to look like they are part of our lives. They function as a ‘powerful ideological justifications’ for the various forms of intersectional forms of oppressions that black women go through. From early American history, with the justification for the oppression of enslaved Africans, these forms of oppression of the African women in terms imagery and media misrepresentations have evolved to meet the needs of the dominant group. In the 20th and the 21st century, the misrepresentations of the African woman has continued to be re-fashioned and re-circulated in order to fit in the more current versions of the controlling images of black women. This section provides a brief description of the historical controlling images of black women, which are more relevant to the analysis of this research about media imagery misrepresentations of the black women.
The mammy is the original controlling representation of the black women. She is the ‘faithful, obedient servant’ to the white master together with his family. The mammy is also reliable, selfless and trustworthy in her service to the white family. The mammy was an image of the idea black woman and mother, but only in relation to her care to the white family and not for her black family, black children or the black community. The mammy picture empowers dark mothers to raise their kids to be meek. The mammy picture too undergirds bigotry by supporting “the racial predominance of White businesses, empowering center-class White ladies in specific to recognize more nearly with the racial also, class benefits managed their fathers, spouses, also, children.” Moreover, the mammy was developed to cover up the monetary abuse of class. Mammies, “no matter how adored they were by their White ‘families,'” acknowledged their subservient position indeed despite the fact that they remained poor themselves. As society changed, the present day mammy came into unmistakable quality. The present day mammy picture drives Dark women to show “mammy-like dedication to white local concerns.” In prevalent culture, present day mammies settle issues for white ladies “without ever indicating at their claim severe circumstances.” The depiction of mammies moved accentuation from dedication to White families to Dark ladies’ occupations furthermore, bosses.
Another hegemonic portrayal of Black women in U.S. culture is the Black Matriarch. “The matron symbolizes the mother figure in Black homes. Similarly, as the mammy speaks to the ‘great’ Black mother, the female authority symbolizes the ‘terrible’ Black mother “who invested excessively energy working instead of remaining home to deal with her children.” From the dominant gathering’s viewpoint, the authority spoke to the fizzled mammy, a negative shame connected to African-American ladies who challenged dismiss the picture of the resigned, dedicated worker.”
The Welfare Mother
A present day hegemonic portrayal of black women in the U.S. is simply the welfare mother, who profits of government advantages to which she is properly ready to get. “While the authority’s inaccessibility added to her kids’ poor socialization, the welfare mother’s openness is esteemed the issue. She is depicted as being substance to lounge around and gather welfare, evading work and passing on her terrible esteems to her offspring.” Like the mammy and the female authority, the welfare mother picture reflects intersectional abuse. Since the welfare mother is not hitched, her disappointment is surrounded, for instance, the perils of not being engaged with a heterosexual marriage. The way the generalization accuses the black mother for living in poverty removes consideration from the auxiliary reasons for destitution inalienable in private enterprise. In addition, since the welfare mother is spoken to as neglecting to show her kids an appropriate work ethic; this gathered disappointment bolsters stereotyping African Americans as sluggish.
The jezebel picture was flowed to legitimize white men’s rape of black women in servitude, and this picture has been reconsidered into the current hoochie, who speaks to “deviant Black female sexuality.” Hoochies cannot get enough sex, as they are sexually insatiable and abnormalities. As indicated by Edwards, “the jezebel constitutes black women as “especially unbridled and sexually shameless.” There are four emphases of the hoochie: plain hoochies are essentially sexually emphatic ladies; club hoochies wear revealing garments to clubs and move like whores; gold-digging hoochies hope to get cash by getting pregnant by rich men and accordingly catching the men; and the hoochie mother is the poor black woman who has children and utilizations sex to get cash. The figure of the hoochie courses noticeably in pop culture. In hip-hop culture in the 1980s and mid-90s, black women rappers endeavored to talk about sex and sexuality, utilizing the music as a setting “to talk their own facts.” In any case, by the mid-1990s, hip-hop highlighted black women rappers, who, as indicated by Harris-Perry, were a debased exaggeration of the early women of hip-hop. Amid this stage, “hip-hop made dark ladies into noiseless, sparsely clad figures who squirm readily behind male craftsmen.” Harris-Perry likewise indicates the depiction of the hoochie figure of white women on unscripted TV programs, like six high student and pregnant on MTV. However, she does not talk about how the black women are depicted on these shows. Like the authority and welfare mother myths, the hoochie figure “permits open talks that accuse the casualty and overlook societal reasons for disappointment.”
The picture of the Sapphire “is predicated upon the nearness of the degenerate African American male, whose absence of respectability and utilization of tricky and guile gives her a chance to castrate him through her utilization of verbal putdowns.” Jewell keeps, clarifying that Sapphire “exhibits her ethics and ethics contrasted with those of the African-American male.” “As Sapphires, dark ladies were delineated as insidious, misleading, disagreeable, adamant and contemptuous.” Edwards composes that the Sapphire character on Amos ‘n’ Andy, “the pestering, petulant spouse of Kingfish,” was utilized “basically to make sensitivity in watchers for the dark male part.” The “Dark bitch” generalization de fines working class African American ladies and is a model of what not do to access the middle class, and this same rationale clarifies how the Sapphire capacities for this situation. In the event that black women need to prevail in the U.S. society, they ought not to be inconsiderate, disagreeable, or headstrong.
Edwards, Anne. Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
The in Number Black Lady
The last hegemonic portrayal of black women I address here is the solid black woman. The solid black woman is the “propelled, dedicated provider who stifles their enthusiastic needs while suspecting those of others. Their irrepressible soul is unbroken by the heritage of persecution, neediness, and dismissal.” Solid black ladies are self-reliant, solid willed and shrewd, they are constantly steady of their family regardless of whether this implies yielding themselves, and they do the majority of this without grumbling about, or notwithstanding alluding to, the racism, sexism, and different treacheries they endure en route.
From one viewpoint, the solid black woman is a wellspring of positive pictures of women of African ascent because she is spoken to as utilizing these qualities to gain success throughout everyday life, and this achievement is especially amazing as result of the obstructions she overcomes and her beauty in doing as such. Moreover, the solid black woman picture is the wellspring of negative requirements for black women. Since the solid dark woman is portrayed as prevailing in spite of all impediments, women of African ascent who do not succeed are liable to faulting and disgracing. The rationale works this way: if the solid black woman can do it, why women of African ascent cannot do it. The solid black woman picture makes doubtful desires for black women since it urges them to “satisfy an order for self-reliance while having couple of individual, social, and financial assets accessible to them.” What is more, since the solid black woman picture is difficult to imitate, it “urges dark ladies to accept industrious racial and sex disparity is merited.” Finally, similar to the other stereotypes and myths examined here, the solid black woman picture legitimizes the imbalance black women endure and underpins casualty accusing (on the grounds that it is their own blame), and jumbles the part that basic reasons for disparity play in the social area of poor black woman.
Social identity Theory
This theory suggests that there are two cognitive processes, namely, identification and categorization. These processes combine and work together to transform group membership into identity. The social categorization is not a controlled process, but an automatic cognitive process. Social identification is the manner in which we identify ourselves with others as social beings by what we have in common especially in a social setting. By drawing comparisons between the metaphorical us vs. them, we reinforce our in-group versus out-group designations.
The social identity process follows particular steps which include; Categorization, whereby a person subconsciously categorizes himself creating an in-group and out-group (whether belonging to the group or not) designation.
Social identification, whereby one can identify key concepts, values and ideas about a particular group he/she decided to belong to, through communication and observation. After one has decided which social group to belong to, there can be an emotional risk and investment that is gained or lost that connects one in the group.
Social comparison- a person will start to compare ones group to other after doing the social identification. This is guided by the individual’s bias and prejudice. The identity establishment can from both the in-group and out-group viewing highly affects how one creates meaning and connection with others and the society.
Social cognitive Theory
The social cognitive theory suggests that some of an individual’s acquired knowledge can be directly related to the observation of others during social interactions, experiences and the influences from the media. The theory suggests that when an individual observe a person performing a particular behavior and the consequences related to that behavior, the person tends to remember the sequence of events and those events tend to influence the subsequent behaviors of that person. A viewer’s behavior, according to this theory, tends to be influenced much by what he/she observes in his/her environment especially from the media.
The theory tends to suggest that people do not learn new behaviors by their own but by observing others perform them. The theory continues to suggest that the survival of humanity depends on the replication of the actions of others. The observer decides whether to replicate the behavior of another depending on whether that behavior is punished or rewarded.
Social cognitive is also a learning theory that is based on the idea that people learn by observing what others do. The learned behaviors can be central to a personality. The environment that a person grows up the personality of a person as well influences one’s behaviors and can greatly influence a person’s way of thinking. Thomas and Lorenzo explains the main concepts of this theory through a schematization of triadic reciprocal causation. The way an observed behavior is reproduced is highly influenced by an interaction of three main determinants namely;
Personal- whether the personal have high or low efficacy towards the observed behavior
Behavioral- the response that the individual gets after he/she performs the observed behavior. This provides the person a chance to experience a successful learning after correctly performing the observed behavior.
Environmental-these are the aspects of the environment that influence an individual’s ability to successfully complete a learned behavior.
According to Thomas and Lorenzo, social cognitive theory, media images and messages are a very good source of gender linked ‘knowledge and competencies’ and the expectations of gender roles and conduct, self-evaluative standards and self-efficacy beliefs. With the wide media accessibility, the public gets access to lots of information. This information regards social normative values and practices. Media outlets are a contributing factor on ‘how gender and race norms may be subject to selective reinforcement through media use. A research conducted by Ladson-Billings and William 2006 suggested that gender and race media preferences have consistently been found in empirical research. The socio-cognitive theory of mass communication suggests people tend to prefer similar role models since they get to identify themselves with people with characters that are similar to theirs.
Critical Race Theory and the Whiteness as Property
People create race and social categories. The critical race theory suggests that race is a critical part of the society. The perspectives of this theory are against the notions of objectivity, neutrality, meritocracy or color blindness. The critical race theorists suggests that such notions and constructionists are only aimed at maintaining a white privilege and portraying the blacks as inferiors before the whites and before God as well, thereby uplifting the systems of non-white. The viewpoint of white as a property can be derived from the illusions of this theory. Whiteness has functioned as self-identity in the domain of the intrinsic, personal and psychological, as reputation in the interstices between internal and external identity, and as property in the extrinsic, public and legal realms.
The critical race theorists continue to suggest that the standards of worthiness, beauty and humanization together with images, concepts and the values are forced upon the subordinate groups through the socialization of whiteness as a property. Whiteness of property tends to place people at superior positions, granting white people unwarranted privileges, while rendering these positions and privileges invisible to the whites. The use of blacks as white people’s slaves was used to benefit the whites in economic domination while demonizing and subordinating the blacks.
The difference between those in power and those not in powers allows the domination of the whites according to this theory. The powerful are able to control the media outlets, especially in instances where there is no freedom of the media. Whiteness as a property is validated by law and with the established systems of oppression against the people of color. This has seen the male-dominated African-Eurocentric perspective controls what is considered mainstream culture especially in the mass media. Moreover, the dominant group that is responsible for the control of the images that we view, and by virtue of their visibility, the views and interpretations of social phenomena are ruling ideas. Harris (1993) continues to suggest that ‘whiteness has functioned as self-identity in the domain of the intrinsic, personal and psychological as reputation in the interstices between internal and external identity; and as property in the extrinsic public and legal realms. Moreover, Tillery (2008) suggested that white identity and white skin became property that guaranteed ‘sources of privilege and protection.
Objectification theory, suggested by Barbara Fredrickson & Tomi-Ann Robberts 1997 is the frameworks for understanding of the different experiences of women in different cultures that tend to sexual objectify them. These theorists drew women experiences in these cultures. This theory suggests that, because of the women objectification, women tend to learn to internalize an outsider’s view about their body as a primary view about themselves. According to this theory, women begin to view their bodies as objects separate from their person. The theory is a hypothesis regarding the propagation of sexual objectification. The theory has since been approved empirically and extended by a number of studies.
In addition, the theory’s main aim is not to prove the existence of sexual objectification, but it assumes its existence in culture. According to this theory, self-objectification leads to an increased habitual body monitoring. The theorists suggest explanations for consequences they believe are brought about by sexual objectification. This theory suggests sexual objectification brings about increased feelings of anxiety, a decreased peak motivational state and a decreased awareness of the internal states of the body.
The study of sexual objection has been based on the notion that women and girls develop their primary view about themselves based on the observations they make on others. The women can make these observations in the media or through personal experiences. The theory continues to suggest that self-objectification of women tends to influence social gender roles and the inequalities that are experienced between the sexes.
When objectified, women are treated as just bodies that exist to just be used as pleasure objects by others. Certainly, not all men sexually objectify women; indeed, many elect not to and are likely to have richer relationships with women as a consequence. There are damaging consequences of adopting a third person perspective on the self, as the perspective tends to dehumanize a person since it ‘constitutes’ ‘personhood’ under the circumstances of depersonalization. For one to qualify as a person, one must be seen to possess a mind and a deserving moral consideration. Sellers et al continues to suggest that the objectification theory posits that gender socialization and sexual objectification experiences tend to define women by their bodies and experiences. The objectification of people needs to considered negative since it involves the treatment of a person as an object, in the sense of a mere instrument for someone’s else purpose. This tends to reduce a person to just a mere instrument. This not only dehumanizes the person, but also lowers the person’s self-worth and self-esteem. Objectification, therefore, is a very negative phenomenon since it causes serious harm to a person’s humanity. By reducing the person to just a mere object, the objectified person’s humanity is reduced.
In a comparative perspective of the objectification theory and critical race theory, black women may tend to feel a lot of pressure as inferiors in relation to the skin tone, color of the hair and its texture, facial features and the shape of the body as well. Media outlets are male ruled in their proprietorship and the chosen pictures and depictions of women keep on being founded on the dream of what it used to be a black woman in the United States. Regularly, those pictures and discussions from media outlets advance their plans to build up a susceptible watcher/audience that are not taught and trust pseudo reality as genuine reality with no disclaimer or channel of reference.
Research Question 1
What does the Bible say about who females of African descent are?
Stating from the creation chronicle, Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female.” In addition, God blessed them and said, “Have many children” so that they can continue conquering the world. The book of Num 12:1 provides a clear picture of females of African descent. Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses, as he had married a Cushite woman, Zippora. It is worth noting that a Cushite descent is from Cush, which is a region from southern Ethiopia. The Ethiopians are categorically known for their black skin. This can also be credited from the book of Jeremiah 13:23, where it states, “Can the Ethiopian (similar Hebrew phrase translated as “Cushite” in Numbers 12:1) change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” This is a clear indication that Cushite people have multiple colors. However, after criticizing Moses’ marriage, God was angry with Miriam. Consequently, God punished Miriam with leprosy. In Num. 12:10, God said, “You like being light-skinned Miriam? I’ll make you light-skinned,” “When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow.” Moreover, God did not punish or speak against Moses for marrying a black woman.
Apart from Moses marrying a black woman, many Hebrew patriarchs go into history by wedding women from Africa descent, and they were blessed with children. For example, Abraham had chidren with Kenturah as well as Hagar, both of them from Africa tribes, knows as Hamitic. In addition, Jacob had a relationship with two females from handmaidens, African tribes, where they were blessed with children who later became the patriarchs of the Israel’s two tribes.
The bible clearly speaks of females of African descent. Human beings are symbols of God (Genesis 1:27), which means that females of African descent are the image of God (Imago Dei). In addition, from the marriage of Moses to Zipporah, God punished Miriam for despising Moses’ marriage. This is a clear indication that God loves females of African descent. In addition, from the generation story, God blessed human beings to bear children (Genesis 1:28). Throughout the Bible, strong believers of God (for example, Jacob, Moses, and Abraham among others) had children with females of African descent. This is also a clear indication that females of African descent are blessed, and their generations will continue conquering the world. The Bible also sends a warning to any person that despises females of African descent. By going against God’s will, they will be punished, similarly to Miriam.
What interpretation does that Bible give that relates to the identity of females of African descent?
There are several interpretations provided in Bible to reveal the identity of females of African descent. For instance, in the Hebrew, Adam, also known as Ahdahm, is described as dusky, swarthy, and dark-skinned akin to a shadow as well as reddish-brown soil. It is worth noting that Aphar, which is the soil that Adam was made from, and it means clay and dust, dark brown and very black in color. God created a woman from Adam’s rib, meaning she also had a dark ascent.
The Bible also reveals the identity of females of African descent through various marriages. Abraham had children from two females of African descent, Keturah and Hagar. The two African women who had children with Abraham came from the Hamatic tribes. Hebrew patriarchs also married females of African descent and they were greatly blessed with children. Zipporah who was also a female of African descent was married to Moses. Moses was a God’s prophet and priest, and is popularly renowned for speaking to God directly through a burning bush as well as fleeing the children of Israel from Egypt, where Pharaoh was abusing them as slaves. By marrying a prophet and priest, it was a clear indication that females of African descent were God’s fearing and strong worshippers.
Are there females in the Bible that females of African descent can identify with, if yes whom, if no why not?
There are females in the Bible that females of African descent can identify with. One of them is Zipporah. Zipporah was a daughter of a priest of Midian, Jethro. The priest, Jethro was blessed with seven daughters, among them Zipporah. While Zipporah and her sister were fetching water, some shepherds pushed them away. Luckily, Moses was around and he did not hesitate to thwart away the shepherds and assisted Zipporah to fetch water. After narrating what happened to their father, Zipporah was ordered to invite Moses, whom he did not reject and he ended up staying there for more than forty years. Zippora, later, got married to Moses and they were blessed with two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. While residing at their father’s in law place, Mt Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai), it is during this time that Moses was called by God through a burning bush to go and resurrect the people of Hebrew (the Israelites) from Egypt, which was under the dictatorship of Pharaoh. Jethro and his family permitted Moses and his family to go and undertake God’s chore.
On their way to Egypt, it is during this time that the true characters of Zipporah are revealed. Exodus 4:24-26 states that, during the night, they had to stop in order to relax due to fatigue, but the Lord met Moses and wanted to take his life. However, Zipporah stood boldly and took a knife, cut off the foreskin of their son. Afterward, she touched the foreskin to the feet of Moses and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” As a result, the Lord abandoned the plan of killing Moses. The phrase bridegroom is here referred to as circumcision. Apart from being bold, Zipporah had a strong faith and was an influential woman of African descent. Zipporah had a strong faith to an extent of circumcising her own child and believing that God will spare her husband, which was successful.
Research Question 2
What role has the Big Six Media Giants played in the lives of people of color?
The media is a powerful that influences the public perception on certain issues on a daily basis. The power of the media has in one way or the other shaped different notions on various subjects. Consequently, it has influenced the mentality of individuals and groups. How the media portrays a subject in either good or bad light even though it has a neutral stand it s usually biased in one way. This considerably affects the opinion of the public on the matter put across.
Courtesy of Big Six Media Giants, African Americans who were arrested for committing violent crimes were twice as likely to be shown handcuffed by law enforcement on life television. This is a very powerful element in creating permanent perceptions of African Americans in the public. Such practice is very dangerous because African Americans are portrayed as dangerous and indifferent to law and order. The second empirical study finds that African Americans are featured in television and newspaper stories about crime and drugs. This labels the African Americans citizens violent individuals who have no regard for the wellbeing of their lives. Finally, another empirical finding indicated that many shows portrayed most African Americans as jobless and living in poverty. This creates the assumption in popular society that Africans are simply poor because they are very lazy.
Jean Kilbourne asserts that the construction of gender now targets young girls differently compared to how it targets boys. Young girls are taught from a young age to make themselves objects and to preoccupy themselves about their sexuality. On the other side, boys are encouraged to seek sex but to ensure they refrain from intimacy. Subsequently, this shapes their sexual attitudes and behaviors, their gender identities, their personal values, their capacity to love and make emotional connections, and to foster healthy relationships. A good example of this claim is found in clothing marketing campaigns. Marketers pick very skimpy outfits to market to young girls. On the other hand, young girls perceive such clothes as attractive since they get the attention of boys. Boys are marketed with clothes, which fit right and also adhere to weather conditions.
The second claim is that women have been targeted with various advertisement campaigns, which emphasize on the need for women to be thin. Subsequently, women are obsessed with the size of their bodies that it has led to various problems such as eating disorders and depression for those who are unable to adhere to the popular standard of the right body size. For example, runway models are perceived as the most ideal looking women because they attract the attention of people in magazines, television, and other tools of mass media. Other women covet such attention and its demoralizing when they are unable to achieve it. Finally, Kilbourne asserts that women are targeted with addictive products, which are of no use to them. In fact, women are addicted to buying lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics, which only make them enslaved to marketing schemes.
The underrepresentation of African women in national government is a direct result of historical gender relations in the United States. The suffrage of women occurred during the mid-20th century and to a huge extent, women today have more influence than ever before in national government. However, there are social and psychological factors which business and society has taken advantage of to shape the identity of women in society. African women have willfully accepted these roles since they have chosen to abandon the traditional role as the homemaker to that of an equal to men. A closer look reveals that the modern age has been turbulent for the identity of women. Changing times have forced women from taking care of the home to the work force. As women have poured into the work force, the institution of marriage has also gone under a lot of change. As women have learned to fend for themselves, women have chosen to explore their identity by enjoying the freedoms men have enjoyed for centuries.
In mainstream society and media, individuals still value traditional values when it comes to leadership. Consequently, the new modern identity of the independent woman still does not have much influence on male-dominated matters of governance. Despite improvement the increasing role of women in politics, it is difficult for majority of men and women to accept women in places of power. Therefore, the imitations on African women emanate from the combination of structural and symbolic barriers. Both of these barriers exert down pressure on women as they attempt to climb the power ladder. Interestingly, the representations of women mentioned by Kilbourne only work to facilitate gender inequality in society. The consciousness of this inequality also causes unnecessary pressures on women when they step into positions of influence. Subsequently, society perceives them as weak and not qualified to hold powerful roles in leadership.
The other live of people of color that has been portrayed badly by the Big Six Media Giants is that of Latino. The Latino identity as a minority has been created over a time in the U.S. In fact, since the mid-20th century, Latinos have been labeled as immigrants in country. During the post September 11, 2001 era, the Latino identity as a minority has continued to face more stereotyping until the current times. Today, Latinos are labeled as illegal immigrants even if they are naturalized citizens. The stereotyping the ethnic group faces has been very overwhelming to the point it controls every aspect of their lives. Without stereotyping, the Latino community should naturally merge into the wider American culture without having to identify as a separate ethnic community. However, these individuals are under constant threat of stereotypes. In the media, work, schools, and in public spaces, members of the Latino community are always being reminded that they are not real Americans because of their skin color.
The media is full of pictures and stories about Latinos, which portray them as farm laborers, construction workers, gardeners, drug traffickers, gang members, and radicals who do not have regard for law and order. Hitherto, many Latinos are prominent people in business, education, politics, fashion, and in the entertainment industry. Education among is a very sensitive issue when relating to Latinos in the popular society. As a result, when a Latino student steps into a class where the majority of students are Caucasian, the situation may lead the student to experience stereotype threat. Many Caucasians, through the influence of the media do not believe that Latinos are educated. Meanwhile, many Latinos are well aware of this phenomenon. In such a situation, the Latino student is bound to feel a heightened awareness of the stereotype threat and result in performing poorly in the class trying to avoid acting out the stereotype. In such a case, the student is bound to underperform in the class because he or she is being led by a vigilant frame of mind.
What traditional roles did females of African descent played in media and why?
Females of African descent are extraordinary human beings. Despite harsh hospitality during the slavery times, female of African descent managed to preserve their ancestry culture and presented both struggles as well hopes in their own images and words. The only way they were able to articulate their message was through art and literature. For instance, the first literature by females of African descent emerged around 1850s, during the renaissance of black literature. Some of the works were, “Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black,” by Frances Ellen, Watkins Harper and Harriet E. Wilson’s. In the year 1961, the work of Harriet Jacobs, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” became the initial autobiography done by a former female slave to be published. The book provided a clear picture on how females of African descent were sexually abused during the slavery.
During the Civil War era, there were many auto bibliographical works done by females of African descent. A good example was the diaries of Charlotte Forten, “Behind the Scenes; or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House” by Elizabeth Keckley and “Sketches of Southern Life” by Frances Ellen Watkins among others.
During the early 20th century, there was high rapid of visual arts produced by women of African ascent. Due to their tremendous work, Meta Warrick Fuller, who was an African woman, received the first federal commission due to her arts. One of the famous works of Fuller includes a sculpture of ‘Ethiopia Awakening,’ which was done in the year 1914. Females of African descent exploited the available media to send a message to the world about the racial discrimination they are undergoing as well as other brutal hospitality. In addition, they expressed their culture and tradition through arts. It was noting that the tradition method of communicating was through arts.
Another notable artist during the 19th century is Kara Walker. In her work, Kara Walker, made room-sized tableaus and silhouettes to restore humanity to those who exploited others and the one who are exploited. The perpetrators and individuals involved in racial, gender and sexuality violence should be shunned and segregating other as if they are monsters. The form and content of her work indicates how the society is under the ethnic lines. For example, Walker indicates how race makes other to segregate innocent victims and treat them like monsters. In her work, she reveals how race was bred by slavery and she indicates the underlying concept associated with racism; hence, superiority and inferiority originates from other external factors like individual color and the country of origin. Additionally, she indicates that dark imaginations and other insidious desires make one to claim superiority at the cost of another human being. Through such dark imaginations, people think that they are going to be superior to others; hence, they are going to enslave them, separate them in line with gender and sexuality. She achieves unity by point and discouraging the social evils in the society such as racial discrimination along ethnic lines, violence and gender inequality among others. The images reveals how the society in late 18th and 19th century, thus, she tries to unite individual in the current century.
Walker involves the viewer in her work so that she can remind the viewer how racial discrimination, violence and slavery are destructive and inhumane. Since the images are designed to educate and make awareness about such vices, she has to involve the viewer in her work. Additionally, she wants to create a new relationship and vision to those who still live in dark traditions. The silhouette is an image of an individual or an animal with a solid shape and black color that is presented in light background. The use of Silhouette is important in her work because it reveals racial segregation between the African Americans and the white. Though her aim is to warn people about race, class and gender using silhouette Walker does not offer clear position concerning the issues, rather she leaves the audience without specific resolution to the shocking silhouettes.
Walker states that she “needs a viewer like an author needs a reader” because she wants to ensure that everybody is out of ethnic, race, gender and violence cocoon that make one to feel superior than others; hence, he or she cannot respect others. Additionally, Walker feels the need of making sure that a new relationship between human being regardless of their color and gender is established. The deception and truth must be revealed; hence, she needed more viewers, as an author needs a reader.
Racial grouping, violence and sexuality are main vices in the society, which make other to feel superior to others. Because images talk more than words, Kara Walker decided to communicate about such issues so that she can enlighten people on how they should treat other and live in harmony. Slavery was common in the United States, thus, she had to condemn it in term of images.
What is the history of media and how and/or what ways has it stereotypically predispose people of color?
Historically, media has been very critical of African Americans since it has only been used to tarnish their identity. Interestingly, the American media is owned by billion dollar organizations, which are dominated by Caucasian Americans. Prejudice against people of color is a prevalent attitude in the U.S, which works to deprive colored Americans from accessing social, economic, and political benefits. Through racism, African Americans have been deprived equal education, communal funding, affordable housing rates, business loans, and access to good paying jobs. It is only until the late 20th century that many African Americans were able to step into the public limelight and prove the media and popular society wrong. Nevertheless, the oppressive system of prejudice, which has affected African Americans since slavery continues to hinder their upward mobility socially, economically, and politically.
Research Question 3
What are the negative images of media that impact the psyche of people of color?
The negative images portrayed by the media impact people of color deeply. The racial discrimination portrayed in the media towards the judicial system have caused minority groups, like the blacks and women not to trust the judicial system to be fair and just making them feel like the other groups are more superior and the government is only for the superior groups. The minority groups are discriminated during policing and during court proceedings. Policing, is when the police find you in a crime and take initiative to present you to a judicial system. When the police wrongly accuse you of something because of your color, it is called racial profiling. In the United States, according to a recent survey, the police get into frequent contact with people during traffic stops. The survey also showed that although all races were stopped at the same rate, blacks felt they were sometimes stopped for illegitimate reason. Unlike the whites who go off with mere warning either written or verbal, blacks and Hispanics were likely to be arrested and taken to court for the same reasons. Local police officers were the most affected by making decisions according to racial orientation unlike state patrol officers.
In addition, courts were also the most affected by discrimination amongst race and women. Discrimination is seen when the judicial systems sentence the minority groups. The first way of punishing lawbreakers is the use of bails. In a study in 1997, in Washington, it was found that more black people were required to pay bail before they were released. The black social capabilities are not like the whites, and therefore, the black people were less likely to come up with bail money, thus were more likely to be jailed. The disparities of race remained even after factors, like failing to attend court proceedings were taken into consideration. It was also found that more people of color were likely to be jailed before fair trials took place.
The legal counsel provided to minority was also a major racial disparity concern. The minorities were likely to be represented by defenders of the public. The public defenders are known to provide representation that is of low quality. Based on the amount of cases they deal with every day, they do not have time to study their cases well. In a recent research, it was found that more people were likely to be found guilty when represented by a public lawyer unlike those with their own lawyers. The minority and the poor also are not capable of appealing their cases as much as the whites appeal. The sentences also passed on the people of color are harsher as compared to those passed on the whites. The same offense was given a longer sentence if the person is of a minority group, like black. In recent times, the judicial system has been restrained by guidelines of how to sentence and compulsory minimum sentences, but racial disparity has not been completely eliminated in the sentencing of law breakers.
Statistically, the blacks were the most racially discriminated people by the judicial system. Black men between 30 to 40 years were 6% in prisons while the whites were only 1% and the Hispania’s were 2% of the population. Around 2724 people of the black race had sentences of over one year while whites were 465 amongst 100000 people of same race. At the age of 18 and 19, blacks were imprisoned at a rate of 10.5 times more than white people of the same age were. Between 1195 and 2000, 682 people found guilty were sentenced to death. Among them, 48% were black, 29% were Hispanic and only 20% were white. Consequently, this makes them feel like the law was set to punish them only.
Does racism have a direct as well as indirect impact on how media is perceived?
Racism has both the direct and indirect impact on how media is perceived. For instance, whites own majority of media houses and they are the roots of racism. An employee working on a given media may halt offering his or her services to the firm due to racism. Employees’ turnover can greatly affect the company, since it will be forced to set aside an additional funds for recruitment as well as training. Moreover, the turnover for new employees cannot be compared with that of experienced ones. In addition, when a media portrays racist content, it may lose viewers both from blacks and whites among other race. It is worth noting that not all whites people support racism, thus the impact for both direct and indirect can be very severe.
How could positive images impact people of color and why is this a missing link to help promote the identity of people of color?
It is worth noting that racism has been seen as a social concept since the 18th century and the people of color have been victims for many times. The period of slavery in the end of the seventeenth century was when the people of color were referred as the blacks. Since those days, there has been a high level of racial discrimination in the U.S. The racial changes have been happening due to the changes in economic developments in the region as well as positive images towards the people of color. As a result, the blacks have been able to access education, and therefore, they have owned property in the US. Through positive images, the racial composition can has also changed, where most people from other parts of the world joins the neighborhood. For example, there are more Africans than there used to be in the past and more Indians than before. Most of these people are attracted to the area by the business activities.
The other part of the racial changes is with the police departments and the security forces. There has been a case of police officers exercising unfair security protocols on the blacks and the Latinos in the region. This has been a challenge that the local authorities have tried to fight with for a long time. For example, research shows that there is a higher chance for a black person or a Latino to be frisked by the police as compared to the whites. The stereotype is that the black people and the Latino are more likely to be criminals. This inequality has faced the people of color, making them to defend their rights through demonstrations and lawsuits. Through positive images, these situations can be solved and the people of color may feel as a part and parcel of the U.S community.
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