Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Does Black media perpetuate or dispel racial gender based stereotypes?

Does Black media perpetuate or dispel racial gender based stereotypes?

In order to appropriately address this question first we must establish a working definition of what Black media is. If Black media is defined as Black owned and Black run mediums for providing information about topics pertinent to Black culture, then Black media inadvertently dispels racial stereotypes by presenting the images that the majority of educated Black people actually want to see. However, if Black media is defined to encompass medium run by other ethnicities that attempt to appeal to what they think Black people want to see and hear—we’ll call this mainstream Black media, then mainstream Black media overwhelmingly perpetuates the stereotypes that originate from post-Reconstruction era America. The racial gender based stereotypes that are most prevalent in mainstream Black media include the over-masculinization of the black male and the presentation of the Black woman as hyper sexualized. Similarly the most prevalent gender based stereotypes prevalent in mainstream media are of the over-masculinized male and the hyper sexualized woman. So is mainstream Black media perpetuating racial stereotypes, or just capitalizing on the dominate ideas of today’s culture.
Mainstream Black media is defined by music. It can be said that in society music is the taste maker for a culture. The most prominent genre of music that makes taste Black culture is Hip Hop. Since its inception during the late 60s and early 70s, Hip Hop has served as the representation of black culture. In the beginning Hip Hop was an underground movement that was created by Black people as a response to the politics of abandonment in the projects of New York’s boroughs. Hip hop has grown and sprouted many offshoots--gangster-rap, horrorcore, g-funk, alternative rap just to name a few—however the most widely excepted subcategory of rap is the rap that continues to perpetuate racial stereotypes. I believe that the glorification of the racial stereotypes of the over-masculine black male and the hyper-sexualized woman just represent the values of American society. The movie we watched in class presented a statistic that I think underscores this notion perfectly. 70% of the consumers of mainstream Hip Hop are white males. What this statistic means to me is that mainstream Black media really has no intention on marketing  to the Black consumer, with tastes as varying as the entirety of society and a population that is not in majority (meaning  not profitable).  The job of mainstream black media is to sensationalize the black experience and sell it almost as if it were a trip to some far of exotic place but when the presentation is dissected, at its core Mainstream Black media follows the form of every other type of Mainstream media.



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