Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Black culture has been portrayed by mainstream media as negative, disrespectful, ignorant, and most of all violent. Television shows, radios, music industries, and America have portrayed blacks as degregrating, unidentifiable, and a lack of knowledge group of people. The defining elements of black culture are merely a social front, something practiced but not necessary to identify. Many positive aspects of black culture are abandoned, because of the feedback from mainstream media. Race relations during this time have changed and had a significant change on the black culture and African American community.

Television reflects our racial, ethnic, gender and sexual values. It creates and sustains the majority's accepted social stereotypes of minority groups. When we see blacks on TV, it seems as if we have came a long way since the days of Amos and Andy, Birth of a Nation, and Shaft. What is harder to see is the underlying messages and stereotypes of African-Americans that still exist.

These stereotypes are presented in a format that is flavorsome to today's white viewing audiences. Nothing shows this more clearly than the fact that black media do not give serious attention to television and movies, two of the most powerful media developed by man. Not a single black newspaper, not a single mass-circulation black magazine, not a single black resident has a resident film and TV critic. (The Emancipation Orgasm, 141) Black characters in television often degrade themselves and their race to play their parts. Most people watch actors like Martin Lawerence, Whoppi Goldberg, and Will Smith bugg their eyes, pout their lips, say stupid stuff, and look stupid just to get the laughs of white audiences. Typically, TV and movies reiterate racially stereotyped images of blacks as comics or criminal secondary figures. Television's portrayal of blacks today does not differ significately from...