What does racism mean? Racism is a belief that the many differences between races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others. Racism is one of the world’s major issues today Race is a set of genetic, biological characteristics, and area related characteristics. One influence on racism is the media. The media has a big effect on the way races are viewed by society. The media is made up of television, newspapers, magazines, film and radio. Racism is ramped in the United States. This racism is fueled not only by the people but also by the media. The media in the United States has a very racist point of view.
The television is the most popular spread of racism. These are the easiest way the media leaks racism to America. In certain television shows the media is trying to capture certain audiences, and many of those audiences that they are trying to aim for are white. For example shows such as “Friends” and “Seinfeld” are aimed toward the audience white middle class.
On television shows, there is little interracial and combined ethnic groups because there is usually actors of one race on each television show. Most of these shows are of white people. The media has now consideration for the black people and when they do have black people on these shows they usually portray them as idiots .
This barrier between different races on television is a problem. First the television shows are not showing the diversity of America. These shows present a society made up of one race. This is not a proper representation of the American society. Secondly, these shows may be the only thing view audience may have with a certain race or ethnic group. What people are not seeing is that this affects children. Children are very easy to impact, and the also spend many hours watching the television. When children are shown only one race, it creates negative thoughts towards other ethnicities. This is a stereotype that the media portrays through television shows and makes children be close minded and prejudiced.
One of the most popular television shows, The Simpsons. It has many stereotypes. There are many racial stereotypes in this show, but the Indians are the most stereotyped in the show. Some of the Indian stereotypes include that the grocery store worker is Hindu and is named Apu and has a stereotypical Indian last name, Nahasapeemapetilon. The writers are making a racial stereotype that ALL Indian people that work in grocery stores practice Hinduism as their religion.
Another show which stereotypes a race is “The Sopranos.” In this show, the character Tony Soprano, an Italian American, is the head of a criminal family. The media is stereotyping that all Italian Americans are criminals. The show called “Growing Up Gotti” is also stereotype about an Italian American family portrayed as a criminals.
Recently, William Bennett, former Education Secretary, made some comments about crime and black abortions. Bennett said “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, your crime rate would go down.” Bennett is stupid to think aborting babies would lower crime. He is stating that most of the crimes in America are committed by black people. Bennett is stereotyping all black people as criminals and creating even more racism in the media. This distorted view of Bennett’s comments by the media is one example of how the media spreads racism by using statements made by popular people in the United States.
Every news story does not get an equal amount coverage by the media. This is shown in the missing person cases. On May 30, 2005, 18 year old Natalee Holloway disappeared while on a graduation trip to Aruba. On July 18, 2005, another girl named LaToyia Figueroa disappeared in Philadelphia. LaToyia was five months pregnant and the mother of a seven year old and comes from a lower income family. She just happened to be African American. Natalee’s disappearance received extensive media coverage while LaToya’s received very little if any. LaToya’s family picketed a street corner to get the media attention, but the only media coverage on LaToya’s disappearance came from BET and black radio stations. The missing women that are covered by the media are mostly Caucasian. Media seems to focus on disappearances of attractive white women like Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks when countless numbers of missing Black and Hispanic women gain little or no attention from national media.
A few minority women have disappeared and received barely any media attention. Evelyn Hernandez was 24 years old at the time she disappeared and was nine months pregnant and her decapitated body was found in the San Francisco Bay. She disappeared a few months before Laci Peterson but received barely any coverage by the media. Ardena Carter was a 23 year old Black graduate student who was pregnant and was last seen alive on her way to the library in Georgia in 2003. Ardena’s remains and the remains of her unborn child were found in the woods two months later. Just like Evelyn’s disappearance, Ardena Carter received no attention from the media.
There are many reasons that there is not equal news coverage on every story. One reason is because there is little to no diversity in newsrooms. According to the Radio-Television News Directors Association, minorities make up 22 percent of newsroom staff. The American Society of Newspaper Editors reports that 13 percent of journalists are minorities. The lack of more races in the media staff causes a misinterpretation of minorities in the news. This racism by the media is not done on purpose but is done because of no exposure to the minority races.
Another reason inequality occurs in the news is because very often reporters and journalists go for stories that will attract more audiences. These audiences do not care about what happens in the lives of poor people, but are more interested in the lives of rich people. There are some people who actually think that crime is normal in Black and Hispanic cultures and is not a big deal. This stereotype adds to the misrepresentation and little to no coverage of minorities in the news.
Stereotyping of a race by the media also happens in movies. Some movies that stereotype African Americans are “Friday,” “Hustle and Flow” and “Boyz N The Hood.” “Friday” is about two friends hanging out on their porch on a Friday afternoon. “Hustle and Flow” is about a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis who attempts to become a successful rapper. “Boyz N The Hood”is a movie that shows the lives of a group of young friends growing up in a poor Los Angeles community. All three of these movies take place in the bad part of the city which mostly known as the ghetto. All of the characters use illegal drugs, have illegal jobs, are in some type of criminal activity. None of them speak proper English. These stereotypes portray African Americans as being stupid, lazy, and drug dealers..
Movies like “Scarface” and “Goodfellas” portray Caucasians as gangsters. “Scarface” was about a drug lord named Tony Montana who was well known and feared by. His greed, jealously, and using his own drugs influence his downfall. “Goodfellas” is about a gangster who slowly begins to make his way up the mob hierarchy.
Then there are movies like “White Chicks” which is about two African American FBI agents who go undercover to protect the Wilson sisters, who are Caucasian and happen to be hotel heiresses. In this movie, Caucasian females are being stereotyped as being stupid, fake, spoiled, and rich which most are not.
The movie “In The Mix” has many stereotypes about Italian Americans as well as African Americans. After an African American named Darrell saves a mob boss’s life, the mob boss gives him the job of watching over his daughter, Dolly. Darrell and Dolly end up falling in love with each other. Some stereotypes made about African Americans in the movie are that all African Americans can dance very well and that the only thing that African Americans eat is fried chicken, collards, and cornbread. Stereotypes made about Italian Americans include that they in the mafia, have odd Italian names such as Salvatore and only eat pasta.
“In The Mix” also deals with the issue of interracial dating. Interracial dating is not a new thing to society and is becoming accepted more and more by society. Besides this increase in acceptance of interracial dating, there are many people who believe that people should only date within their own race. This happened in the movie, and Dolly’s father was objected to them being a couple at first but then accepted it.
Yet another movie that deals with interracial dating is “Save The Last Dance.” In this movie, a white girl named Sara moves to the city of Chicago from the Midwest and starts dating a Black guy named Derek. Sara is the only White person in her school and experiences a lot of racism hatred. After her and Derek are dating, many people are object to them being together. Sara’s friend even a goes with a statement made by Derek’s ex-girlfriend that White girls always try to steal the few good Black men that are left. Sara’s father also objects the relationship. Sara and Derek literally have to fight for their love. Both Sara and Derek get into confrontations with people trying to defend their relationship.
The book “The Black Image in the White Mind” by Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki looks at racial patterns in the mass media and shows ways in which these images portrayed by the media of African Americans often shape the minds of Whites towards African Americans. Some things they found was that a mug shot of an African American is four times more likely to appear on the television news one of White criminal. They also found out that the name of the accused is two times more likely to be shown on screen on the news if the defendant is Black, instead of White. When comparing some statistics for the top movies of 1996, Entman and Rojecki found that 89 percent of black female movie characters shown using vulgar profanity and only 17 percent of White female characters. Other statistics include 56 percent of Black female movie characters shown being violent and only 11 percent of White female characters. These statistics show that African Americans are portrayed by the media as being violent people who use a lot of profanity. This creates a negative light on African Americans to Caucasians and can lead s to even more stereotypes towards African Americans and other minority groups.
Entman and Rojecki argue that this distorted view of minorities in the media makes even more conflict, division and a racial hierarchy. Another argument they made was that black experts are mostly used when talking about black themed issues and that black politics are distorted on the news. Entman and Rojecki conclude that these images in the media are harmful and create a barrier between races and ethnicities.
There is also racial stereotypes from the media in magazines. Certain magazines are aimed towards certain people. Magazines such as Glamour, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan try to get the middle class 20- 35 year old Caucasian females. This assumption can come by reading one copy of each and seeing how few minority models there are. An astounding percentage of the models in these magazines are Caucasian. In the November 2005 issue of Cosmopolitan, there are nine minority models. Out of theses minority models, seven of them were African American and two were Asian. These nine minority models only make up less than ten percent of all the models who appear in Cosmopolitan magazine. This small amount of models that are not Caucasian in Cosmopolitan shows in other ways in which minorities are misrepresented in the media. This again creates the problem of not showing the country’s diversity and many nationalities. These magazines portray society as being almost completely similar with very little diversity and this is clearly not true. By putting seven African American models in the magazine, society is being portrayed as being one made up of only Caucasian and African American and if you are any other race you just do not exist.