Depiction of African Americans in American media
Some people argue that African Americans are still invisible in most media outlets. One such author is Professor Rudolph Alexander of the University of Ohio. In his book “Racism, African Americans and Social Justice”, the latter author argues that in most movies, films and novels, African American are almost never depicted as heroes even when they played an important part in the story.
Alexander (2005) points to the fact that there are cases of racism in the media. For instance, in the news, white persons normally take centre stage with little attention going to the black race. For instance media coverage of the Iraq war brought this out very clearly. When a female US soldier (Jessica Lynch) had been captured in Iraq and then rescued, she was given the status of a heroine. On the other hand, another US black female soldier had (Shoshana Johnson) been captured and rescued too, media outlets paid very little attention to her story yet both these women had acted valiantly on behalf of their nation. Consequently, one can assert that there are certain biases in these media outlets.
Alexander (2005) also discusses a number of entertainment media outlets that have furthered this principle. For instance, he criticizes the Movie “Boys do not cry” in which the white characters in the movie were made heroes while a black man who had been killed in the movie was completely cut out. The latter movie was a true story that had failed to really show what the African American had achieved in his life.
This black actor was just a side show in the movie yet in real life the story was about him. The latter author claims that in most films highlighting true stories. Hollywood producers tend to dissuade the audience’s attention to the white actors in the movie even when black people ought to be centre point of the movie. This author ends his book by asserting that informative and entertaining media outlets actually reflect what happens in reality. He believes that African Americans are victims of social justice and that inequality in courts, schools and the military all reflect this harsh reality in the media.
Entman and Rojecki (2000) in their book “the Black Imagein the White Mind” assert that the attitudes held by Whites about African Americans are shaped by the media. In their book, the authors assert that many whites may not get a chance to interact with blacks or get to know what their lifestyles are really like.
Consequently, large numbers of them rely on the images depicted in the media. Entman and Rojecki (2000) bring out the idea that most media forms depict a racial hierarchy. In these patterns, whites take the highest position while blacks are placed below. Additionally, media forms create a sense of racial differences between various groups.
The latter writers also claim that American media tends to exaggerate the effects of poverty in the lives of African Americans. Additionally, they highlight the fact that most of the discussions made by experts in these forums are usually related to dialogues about certain themes in the outlets.
These researchers claim that the issue of participation is not a problem because televisions, newspapers, the internet and so many media outlets have tried to represent African Americans. However, their problem is with actual portrayal. They claim that through the media, most other races end up having a negative image of African Americans thus reinforcing racial differences. Some of the statistics quoted in the book include;