ArticleS Analysis Essay Research Paper In Jacqueline

Article`S Analysis Essay, Research Paper In Jacqueline Bobo’s article, “The Color Purple: Black Women as Cultural Readers”, it is discussed how black women create meaning out of the mainstream text of the film “The

Article`S Analysis Essay, Research Paper

In Jacqueline Bobo’s article, “The Color Purple: Black Women as Cultural Readers”, it is

discussed how black women create meaning out of the mainstream text of the film “The

Color Purple”. In Leslie B Innis and Joe R. Feagin’s article, “The Cosby Show: The

View from the Black Middle Class”, they are explaining black middle-classed responses

to the portrayal of Black family life on “The Cosby Show”. In their articles, Bobo, Innis

and Feagin are investigating the representation of race, particularly African American

race, in the mass media. However, these two shows are better portrayed than what was

seen in the first article. This article “Midnight Ramble” portrays a much earlier media

perception of African Americans. The information shows the first blacks in films, as well

as the white actors who were painted up to portray the black characters. “Midnight

Ramble” occurred between WWI and the 1950’s. This, while not an excuse, does at least

show that things have changed some.

The chief concerns of the investigations of the articles, lie in how African Americans deal

with the way these representations portray them individually and their social group as a

whole. This paper’s purpose is to compare the issues in each article and analyze the

larger sociopolitical implications of these media representations.

In Bobo’s article, the chief concerns of the author are “the savage and brutal depiction of

black men in the film”, “black family instability”, and the way that black women embrace

the film and use their own reconstructed meaning of it to “empower themselves and their

social group”(Bobo, 90-92). Film, as a medium, starts out with many potential limitations

and problems when it comes to representing a whole race of people. No two people are

exactly alike no matter what race they come from, so there is no one film that can

represent all people. Unfortunately, many people believe that this is possible. Some

believe that a certain depiction of black people characterizes all black people, which is

certainly not the case. This is dangerous because it involves stereotyping and


The viewing public pays for movies, therefore, movie producers have to tailor their

product so that the majority of viewers will enjoy, and agree with their product, so that the

majority of viewers will enjoy, and agree with the ideas behind the film. The majority

still, almost always means white America. Even African American based movies are

made for white audiences. The representation of blacks in this type of environment does

not always portray the real African American person. The film “The Color Purple” has

been the center of controversy since it was made in 1985.many feel that the film is a bad

portrayal of black family life, and that it is stereotypically portraying black men as evil

and brutal who imprison and abuse women. The main purpose of Bobo’s article was to

find out why black women loved the movie so much and if they saw the film as helping or

hindering their cause. Bobo did find that while many black women loved the movie, they

found things inherently wrong with the way black men were portrayed. They did find the

film positive, though, because it did portray black women in a more positive way than

most other films. The women found power in the film and were able to identify with this

search of power and their own identity.

“The Color Purple” presented a new type of feminism to black women who were used to

seeing black women characters portrayed as slaves, maids, or nannies. “The women saw

the film as a little bit of truth wrapped in a blanket of stereotypes” (Bobo,102). They did

believe that it was a story that needed to be told. The larger implications of “The Color

Purple” are very serious. Black family life is presented as dysfunctional. Women are

seen as fragile and easily abused by their men. And, even though it is suppose to be a

middle classed family, it is portrayed as a lower classed family.

In Innis and Feagin’s article, the chief concerns of the authors are how black middle

classed people are viewed on television, particularly, on “The Cosby Show”.

Unfortunately, television presents many potential problems. This occur because it is

watched by such a wide variety of people, there has to be some identifying characteristics

to tell people who is being presented and what they stand for. Usually this type of

identifying information consists of stereotypes for comic relief. Also, due to the nature of

television sponsors, writers are unable to tackle pressing issues, and challenge the

majority. Instead, it uses stock characters and scenes to tell the same stories over and

over. This leaves little room for showing reality.

The authors conducted a study. They gathered 100 people and recorded their views on

the show “The Cosby Show”. The responses varied from harshly negative to extremely

positive, depending on who that person related themselves to on the show. People who

said the show was negative had no similar experiences to compare themselves to the

Huxtable family. These people felt the show was too “white” and did not portray the

living experiences of a black middle classed American family. Others felt “The Cosby

Show” made respondents feel that real problems suffered by black families such as

racism, classism, and lack of opportunity, were irrelevant because they were not even

mentioned on the show.

According to the article, the shows popularity has set back race relations because its view

of black assimilation fails to take into account the context of the world outside of the four

walls of the Huxtable household. (Innis, 692). “The Cosby Show” shows easy upward

mobility with no signs of discrimination at all. This is hardly what people consider to be

the typical black experience. If after watching “The Cosby Show”, “white America” takes

the previous idea as true, black people will have an even harder time gaining equality

because whites have a false vision of what blacks have been through, and may just

believe that they are lazy and don’t want to better themselves. In reality, it is a great

challenge for black Americans to overcome all of these preconceived notions and are able

to be themselves.

In analyzing these articles, the studies of how black people respond to how they are

represented on television and movies, we see that a lot more ground needs to be covered.

This especially is true in the areas of equality and political correctness when it comes to

the media. We can see, however, that people are not just sitting blindly in front of the

televisions. People are thinking about images presented to them and analyzing them once

they are presented on the screen. This idea shows that people can be good media

consumers and can make good choices as to what is and is not good media. Television

may never be a rainbow colored nation that represents us all, however, it is hoped that

what is portrayed will at least one day be close to true, and will not harm how society

thinks of a group of people.


Bobo, Jacqueline. “The Color Purple: Black Women as Cultural Readers”. E.D. Pribram (Ed.) Female Spectators: Looking at film and Television. London: Verso, 1988.

Innis, L. and J. Feagin. “Views from the Black Middle Class”. Journal of Black Studies, 1995, Vol 25, pp. 692-711.

Stewart, Neil. “Midnight Ramble.” Modern Times. 1998. Online. Internet. 28 Apr. 2000