The 20th century was a period of significant progress for minority groups in American society towards autonomy and equality. The American society comprises of the dominantly white races. White supremacist ideologies prevail despite equal political rights and powers. The American society is largely driven by ideologies of white supremacy and dominance with oppressive treatment and overlooking other races. Race and ethnicity are just natural and physical attributes. However, the concepts have been misinformed and negatively used against the minority in the society (University of Missouri-Columbia).
The growth of mass media over the period has been influential in shaping the way people think of themselvs and others. In the contemporary Western countries, whites have had a preferential treatment that is rooted in the beliefs of privilege and superiority. The minority race is struggling to with inequality and injustices propagated by the negative stereotyping out of media bias. Television is the most influential media device with extensive coverage across the region. While many people are keen to follow programs and films on television, they are not aware of the social impacts brought about by the interpretation and misinformation. While the entire society boast of massive progress towards establishing equality and justice for all people irrespective of their racial group, the media industry lags behind in reframing the society (Luther, n.d).
For decades, the white-dominated media field has negatively portrayed the black race referring to them as second-class citizens. The American society is entirely white. The minority black people arrived here during the era of the slave trade to work on the plantations and their descendants. Previously, the black were subjects to their slaves. Slaves had no rights nor privileges. The negative ideologies attached to being black have been passed on through generation. The 20th century recorded the massive development of media technology. The most prominent form was television. The film industry began to explore the concepts in their society. The misinformed stereotypes of white supremacy and treating blacks as second-class citizens influenced the developments of film industries. Film producers engraved the negative attachments of racism to the stories. Further, they refused to hire black characters due to the dehumanizing stereotypes that reinforced white supremacy attitudes. The blacks were negatively constructed and it became part of the popular belief in the white society (Dixon, 1560).
The media is an important component of the society. Unknowingly, media plays a major role in the construction of a society. With the negative attributes attached to the black race, the media at the time set the tone for cultural, moral, values views and perception. The concepts of minority black being treated as second-class citizens and subjects created the belief among others that the black stereotypes are true and not mere fiction. While people followed programs and films, consistently portraying the black people as inferior and fewer equals, they formed in their minds influenced perceptions. The media industry has significantly grown over the century. However, the industry is way off from deconstructing the views and perception of blacks as fewer equals. The negative attitudes will only fade off when the directors and producers eliminate with the stereotypes and discrimination (Dixon, 1562).
The media industry is dominated by white players in all areas. The blacks had little opportunities to venture into media directions. During the early productions, white directors overlooked blacked characters and hardly hired any. Black players have endured in the struggle to influence the media industry as producers or characters. Sam Lucas was the first black actor featuring a lead role in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” back in 1914. During that time, Director Griffith D. W. released his latest creation “The Birth of a Nation” which supported white supremacist and white purity sentiments in South America. It was this release that triggered the formation of the race films that produced black movies. Race films were determined to change the view and perception of black people as fewer equals. The firm treated blacks with respect and inherent dignity to try and create positive stereotypes. Since then, black film producers, directors and actors entered the fray. They have made significant progress to deconstruct the perceptions and degrading mindsets (Barlow, n.d).
During the popular American pop culture, television innovations increased. It became the most used media technology. Assessing the impacts of television on the society, it is right to say that it affects the socialization process between individuals knowingly or unknowingly to them. Socialization among human depends on our beliefs and values. Television has the potential to influence the way individual perceptions. The way directors portray players and characters in their films influence perceptions about them as such, attaching negative sentiments against black people propagated equal treatment in the real society. The black directors came in with new strategies presenting all people as equals in a bid to counter the negative attachments.. Additionally, black producers would have to find means to increase their view time influence relies on the opportunities for viewing. (Wilson n.d).
Television and film industries improved remarkably in showcasing the diversity and embracing hiring minority characters. The directors are beginning to piece together articles portraying blacks as people of prestige and influence as compared to the non-participant roles at the beginning of television evolution. There is a great revolution in the way different media creation presented the minority. However, there are still producers who propagate negative attitudes and insensitive sentiments towards the minority. Black representation and diversity have increased with reduced stereotypes over time. blacks are currently starring as wealthy and respectable people. In modern-day creations, blacks are taking up better positions than whites. Modern creators are embracing more insightful thoughts compared to the themes of criminals and violence in black backgrounds (Happer, 332).
Despite making massive progress and changes in the media industry, the society is far from realizing equality treatment. The industry is still struggling with homogeneity and bottom line concepts in the quest of deconstructing the complexity of the prevailing conditions in media and society. To change and migrate from primitive perception and treatment, the wave has to be all-inclusive. Equal treatment and preference must be accorded to the creations. The changing tide must have drivers from the top to influence increased participants, portrayal, and themes. To achieve true cultural sensitivity, developers and creators must focus on abolishing the stereotypes based on race and ethnicity. While there have been massive changes in the media industry, more is still needed. However, we must recognize the challenges towards achieving mindset change. The blacks are being portrayed better and treated better, unfortunately, it will take longer to see people of color ascend to the prestige of white players in the industry. There are still too many challenges including using the minority to play at more inferior positions. Real change will be achieved when the media presents equality for all races, however, it will remain dangerous and volatile.
University of Missouri-Columbia. “Black athletes stereotyped negatively in media compared to white athletes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150602130644.htm>.
Barlow, K. How media portray African American males. University of Pittsburgh University Times. 2011. [Online] http://www.utimes.pitt.edu?p=18764 [Retrieved, April 28, 2018 ]
Dixon, T., & Maddox, K. Skin Tone, Crime News, and Social Reality Judgments: Priming the Stereotype of the Dark and Dangerous Black Criminal. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(8), 2005, p. 1555-1570.
Happer, C., & Philo, G. The Role of the Media in the Construction of Public Belief and Social Change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), 2013, p. 321-336
Luther, C., Ringer Lepre, C., & Clark, N. Diversity in U.S. Mass Media. Malden: Wiley Blackwell. 2012
Wilson, C., Gutierrez, F., & Chao, L. Racism, sexism, and the media: Multicultural issues into the new communications age (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. 2013.