In a persistent tone I will point it out to the audience that contemporary mass media present the society with many stereotypes, the discussion will be based on the article “Taking Back the Music” by Stanley Crouch and will explain that the stereotypes formed by the mass media create a negative image for Afro-American women and that this image significantly affects the lives of these women.
The modern world keeps battling racism every day, and even though the worst and the most severe stages of it are over now, there are still a lot of judgments, stereotypes, and prejudices remaining. Prejudices should not be underestimated by society; they are truly dangerous and destructive. They bother millions of people and interfere with their lives.
They can penetrate the brains of the smartest and most pleasant people creating certain images and frames, which will influence these people’s attitude towards certain events and individuals. As a result, every society ends up having categories of people or even whole communities constantly and painfully suffering from being misrepresented, mistreated and unfairly judged for something they never did or someone they never were.
One of the categories of people that have many negative experiences with prejudices and judgmental attitude is Afro-American women. The article by Stanley Crouch explores the kind of image contemporary rap music has created for the American black women and explains the protest of the community of African American hip hop and rap musicians against this embarrassing stereotype (Crouch, 3).
Practically, the modern mass media are helping create a negative collective image of an Afro-American woman and feed a list of destructive stereotypes, which influence the lives of women, it is impossible for a human mind to have no stereotypes whatsoever, as creating stereotypes is a normal way of thinking for us, though an application of critical and logical thinking helps avoid becoming closed-minded and judging people unfairly.
Social stereotypes can be based on different aspects. Not only Afro-American people suffer from the negative consequences created by the prejudiced social groups. Other forms of discrimination exist in modern society and affect people of all kinds, races, ages, and social statuses. The war with the stereotypes and prejudices seems to have no end because this happening is impossible to take under control, as we live in a world where everyone is free to have their own opinions.
Stereotypes can certainly be called the disease of the modern society, and all kinds of treatments have been applied to defeat this disease, from time to time it tends to go into remission in certain areas, yet it still keeps showing up after a while, infecting more people and harming more lives. Modern mass media have a great range of influence these days; the themes they bring up and the images they shape tend to stay permanently in people’s minds.
Sometimes this happens by accident, or unconsciously, sometimes it is just a coincidence, yet the result is the same, the public opinion is formed in a certain way, and in many cases, it ends up creating a lot of discomfort for some people. Mass media are aware that they should be very careful portraying different categories of people, but the audience should also be aware of the conclusions they make based on the information subjectively presented by the mass media.
As a result of neglecting of these rules, Atlanta “was set afire by the emotion and the hard thinking of black women” (Crouch, 3). Unfortunately, the phenomenon of wrong opinions and prejudices exists not only in the world of rap and hip hop music. It has been a common complaint of all African Americans that on television, they do not see enough positive images of their community.
In the movies, shows, social media and music there is a certain list of stereotypical characters presented, which makes it look like all African American people possess the same negative traits, lead the same kind of lifestyle and have the same manners and behavioral patterns (Walton, par. 2). The main complaint of African American ladies comes from the point that due to the stereotypes formed in the society, these women are viewed as dangerous, aggressive, and masculine (Rooks, par. 1).
There even were cases when black women were asking for help and in response, people around just ignored or rejected them, or, in worst cases, felt threatened by these women and tried to protect themselves by attacking the women.
The mass media has been nourishing the images of bad looking unhealthy black women, inappropriately young African American mothers, and angry women. Besides, the music industry has supported the images of violent ghetto queens, gold diggers and overly sexual and indecent black girls. The society of nowadays tends to divide and categorize black women to put them into groups matching certain stereotypes (Wilkerson, par. 8).
Human minds work through creating stereotypes. Stereotypes were what helped people survive and evolve. Therefore, we categorize things, events, experiences, and we learn their qualities and memorize them. This is and has always been our main scheme to gain, collect, and process the knowledge.
This is why I think that not using stereotypes whatsoever is impossible for a human being. We do it unconsciously. Social issues of the modern days keep bringing our attention towards the prejudices and judgments that are offensive for some groups of people. Most of us had experienced situations when we were unfairly judged, and it was not pleasant.
The most effective way to create an open mind is to apply critical thinking to a certain issue. This is why the way out of this situation suggested by Crouch is to “declare it uncool for white guys” to support the wrong stereotype. Ethnical groups should not be treated as homogenous categories of people sticking to the same behavioral patterns. Moreover, every member of the society has to be viewed as an in-individual, as an independent person with its own characteristics.
Critical thinking is not easy to learn; the key to it is the awareness. One has to be aware of the matter they are thinking about and try to stay out of side-influences. No one should ever judge anyone without collecting enough knowledge about that person and getting to know them.
In conclusion, creating stereotypes is something we cannot live without, yet it is crucial to stay out of the influence of unfair negative judgments. Open-mind is a necessary trait for a modern adult or a young person, and the only way to keep the mind open is to avoid forming opinions about people based on someone else’s points of view.
This is why the impact created by the mass media has to be persistently pointed out to the audience. This principle should be applied not only towards black women but to all categories of people around us.
Crouch, S. Taking Back the Music. Daily News.
Rooks, N. Renisha McBride and Evolution of Black-Female Stereotype. Web.
Walton, D. Time to end Negative Stereotyping of Black Women. Web.
Wilkerson, A. Eight Stereotypes About Black Women That Need to Die. 2012. Web.