The Role of Media and Advertizing in Today's Society

The Role of Media and Advertizing in Today's Society

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Media and advertising play a very important role in today’s society. Therefore as humans it can affect our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Society gains these negative perceptions from media, unfortunately not from personal relationships. African American males are portrayed in a negative manner in media, such as that all African American males are troublesome, inadequate fathers, womanizers, and are uneducated.
“Research has disclosed that most serious crimes such as (homicide, rape, robbery ,and assault) in inner cities are committed by a very small proportion of African American youth, some 8% by estimates.”(Balkaran)”. Also African American males are 4 times more likely to be featured on the news when committing a crime, unlike their white counterparts. Susan Smith who had kidnapped and killed her two children, told the police that an African American male had committed the crime. This led to police searching for African American males, looking for the culprit. But after nine days she confessed, that incident itself changed the perception of African American males to being criminal in nature. Movie blockbusters such as “Menace II Society and “Boyz In The Hood”, although entertaining portray black males as hood’s and brutes.”
There are inadequate father’s everywhere, no matter the race, but the media portray’s black males as the main source of the problem. On television shows in the last decade, most black male father figures have been absent. This is how the media manipulates people into believing that most black males are absentee fathers. The television show “TI And Tiny The Family Hustle shows the rapper T.I, who the media would portray as a poster boy for being a inadequate father. With his seven kids in one house, and they are a close family unit. Sure there are African American males absent from the home, but there are a lot of good African American fathers who are very much involved in their children’s lives.
Being a womanizer can have many different connotations to it, but most people all agree that it has a sense of achievement tied in with it. The media portray’s that being a womanizer is t normal for African American Males. The television show “Love And Hip Hop Atlanta” is a very good example of this. There are two African American males featured on the show named Stevie J and Lil Scrappy who throughout the show fluctuate between women. This creates the impression that this is how all African American males are and how they are supposed to be.

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Based on the reading titled “Selection, Slanting and Charged Language” written by Newman P. Birk and Genevieve B. Birk”. We as humans are influenced by the principle of selection which means we consciously or unconsciously notice what is worthy of attention”(Birk 394). This ties into my point about media, is that we as people notice what we want to notice, and don’t want to. Therefore it is not hard to gain negative perceptions about black males, if all you see are black absentee fathers in media.
There is a very strong negative perception of African Americans being uneducated as a whole. But the negativity goes deeper for African American males such as the television show “GoodTimes” where Jimmy Walker was made to look uneducated and foolish. Also there have been other popular African American male television show characters such as Waldo from “Family Matters” and Cole from the hit television show “Martin”. The media portrays this in the most entertaining and subtle ways as possible, but you might as well be viewing black minstrel shows dating back to the early 1900’s. William Lutz the author of “Weasel Words: The Art of Saying Nothing at All,” stated that “Unfinished words abound in advertising because they appear to promise so much”(Lutz, 450). This statement can also pertain to media portrayal as well, the uneducated black males on television often have catch phrases they say. Such as Jimmy Walkers famous Dynamite line, I feel that this is used to create a playful, family friendly mood, but this is all the tricks and foolery the media uses, because in reality it is nothing but demeaning banter.
“The plight of the African American male seemed to be the only newsworthy aspect of his life in the 1960’s (LaPierre)”. This trend still continues into today’s generation, perception is everything in today’s time and it is very important that you have a positive one. But for African American males this perception is almost always negative. We all sometimes fall prey by the persuasion of Media and Advertising, but it is our job to separate fantasy from reality. It is hard enough being an African American male in society, so let us please portray the race in the respectful and truthful manner it deserves to be.

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