Stereotyping Essay, Research Paper
Stereotypes of a black male misunderstood and it s still all good raps the Notorious B.I.G. as I turn the volume on my stereo louder. The song entitled Juicy illustrates the struggles the Notorious B.I.G. went through before making it big in the music industry. The song insinuates drug selling, living in poverty, and gang violence. These are just some examples of stereotypes that are being placed on young black males in today s society.
Everybody has stereotyped an individual or a group because of what we saw on television, read in the newspapers, or heard on the radio. It s nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn t necessarily mean that your are prejudice or a racist. You simply have misjudged another by the small percentage of people who create these stereotypes. It is the media s fault for selling these commercially packaged stereotypes to the public. We are a culture based on images, where everything we perceive must be true. Society buys into these stereotypes and tends to generalize people by grouping them with certain characteristics. It s an indication that our society is ignorant to understand qualities of the individual. It is easy to stereotype a person because we make assumptions that if one person is like that , then everyone with the same qualities must be that way. Thus, individualism can t be achieved in today s society because the media s stereotyping influences an individual into a faction.
The media has the power to shape the way people think. It impacts the fashions, defines a beauty in a person, where we eat, where we live, what to buy and so forth. So, why can t the media influence how we perceive others? For years, television has portrayed black young males as drug dealers, criminals, gang members, and violent people. It has led up to the point where we associate them as negative characters and avoiding them at all costs. This affects not only blacks but also those who believe in these stereotypes. Those who believe in these stereotypes are afraid of driving into a black community fearing that they might be robbed or cringe while standing next to a black male, thinking they will be violently attacked. As for being black, they are not trusted and respected as opposed to a white person because of stereotypical notions. For example, since, they are portrayed as being lazy and uneducated, they do not get the same courtesy as a white person would when applying for a job. It seems that the media has taken away the ability for us to think on our own. The media thinks for us because it has brainwashed us to think that all black males are this way.
The media is to blame for our insecurities toward black males. News programs tend to report on the negative activities, which involve blacks while ignoring the positive actions of the black community. We see them as criminals because the media sees them as criminals. How are we supposed to let blacks blossom into individuals, when society identifies them all as criminals? Society creates their identity by labeling blacks as convicts before they are even born. The media has filled our mind with lies with stereotypes of a black male s character and personality. Instead of judging blacks on our own, we already have a preconceived notion of how a black person is. People are like snowflakes in which no two people are alike and much detail is used when examining a single one.
On the contrary, the media s stereotype placed on black males has also been used to glorify their lifestyle. Many things go into the making of a young thug, Brent Staples writes in his essay Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space. In today s society, especially with young male minorities feed off these stereotypes of black males. Many rap artists (primarily made up of African-American males) have a bad boy image that young minorities want to be. They have an attitude that they do not give a fuck, and that they are just as thuggish as the next guy is. Song lyrics refer to past criminal activity, drug use, and gang affiliations. Numerous rap artists portray themselves as thugs while living the lavish lifestyle. Young minds want to associate with this by trying to personify them. I can relate to Stapes when he recall[s] the points at which some of my boyhood friends were finally seduced by the perception of themselves as tough guys. My childhood friends sold drugs, stole cars, and got into fights, they lived the lifestyle of a thug which is so appealing to young minds. They dressed like them, acted like them and even talked the way they talked. They did this to gain respect among peers, and at the same time, being able to intimidate potential enemies. What they didn t know was that they fell victim to living out stereotypes without even knowing it. They get the wrong idea that in order to be accepted by peers, that they must sell drugs, provoke fights and engage in criminal activity. Young people are afraid to be themselves nowadays fearing that they would be ostracized by their peers. It would be easier for them to conform to the passing fad rather than to exhibit their true selves. We live in a world where image is everything unfortunately, poor and powerless young men seem to take all this nonsense literally when they believe in order to be accepted, they must live out these stereotypes.
It is sad to think that the media has a great impact on stereotypes because we have the power to control it. Yet, we still portray black males as being uneducated, lazy, and criminals. The fact is that society itself is uneducated, for we are lazy to see the truth from this social injustice. It appears that our society can not think on our own, for we assume the media supply us with the only correct information. Individualism can never be achieved because the media greatly influences the way we think. Rather to think on our own, we conform to society s perception on standards. It is dangerous because it s a continuing cycle where the next generation will believe these stereotypes. Until the cycle is broken, stereotypes will continue to exist.