The Gospel of Smoov

Free of obstructed views and fair-weathered opinions

Racial Stereotypes Prepetuated Through Media

The following is a blog post I put together for my Media & Society class. It was originally posted on my other blog domain which I rarely use; therefore I am re-posting this on here for your enjoyment.


It’s one thing when TV channels tailored to a predominantly white demographic, like MTV and VH1, portray black people a certain way. Look no further than shows like The Real World, Flavor of Love, I Love New York, etc. But it is devastating when BET, tailored to a predominantly black demographic, takes on this same ideology. One would expect BET to showcase African Americans in a positive light to combat the negative stereotypes. Instead, they have shown that they are willing to play into that stereotype for a cheap buck. Take this clip from BET’s “College Hill: Virgin Islands”:

Knowing the way that our minds work today, it’s a shame that EVERYBODY buys into the stereotypes and applies them in their everyday lives. A perfect example is this clip from “The Boondocks”:


Box office successes such as Juice, Boyz N The Hood and Menace II Society showcase the struggle that young African Americans face as they try to make their own way in the world amid all the obstacles of the ‘hood. But instead of focusing on the respective central ideas of these films, the media managed to place focus on the violence and drugs and use them as reasons not to be involved with black people. It’s such a shame that the message trying to be conveyed in these movies is greatly misconstrued and lost so easily among those that are believed to be oblivious to the situation at hand. Take a look at this trailer for “Boyz N The Hood”, where amid the strong violent nature of the film there are two key lines that truly define the message that director John Singleton was trying to get across:


The sports world falls victim to racial stereotyping as well. How often do we hear of African American athletes with “natural talent” or utilizing their “God-given gifts”? The phrases seem innocent enough on the surface. There isn’t any blatant name-calling going on. So how are these considered racist? With our better-trained ears in 2011 we can determine that the prevailing thought is by possessing this “natural talent”, it makes up for a black athlete’s lack of intelligence or work ethic. The same thought process holds true of black men who aspire to hold a position of power in sports, as late ex-L.A. Dodgers GM (and former teammate of Jackie Robinson) Al Campanis demonstrates in the following clip on Nightline from April 1987:


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