The reflection on the end of racial representation is a chapter that focuses on the racial outlook that exists in this day and age as compared to past years. The writer has concluded that we are facing an end to racism, but the media is making the process slowly. However, a lot needs to be done to say that racism is no longer an issue. The generation we live in still has not recognized the Black race as an equal race especially when pitted against the White race. Worse still, although the Blacks have managed to at least achieve great fetes especially in the athletics field, the race is still characterized by negative values and connotations. The media particularly has aided in this misconception. As such, the general population's especially the White attitude about the Blacks has always carried a negative bias (Entman and Rojecki 205-218). This paper is aimed at discussing the main points with key facts and arguments found in the twelfth chapter (Reflection on the End of Racial Representation) of "The Black Image in the White Mind; Media and Race in America."
The movies have always found it difficult to have a mixed couple as the leading couple in movies. However, these are bound to change in the coming days. Major names in Hollywood have never had a leading role with a Black actor especially taking up a leading role. On the other hand, some movies have both White and Black lead stars such as Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in four Lethal Weapon movies and Jerry Maguire (Entman and Rojecki 208). However laudable, there is still some racial tendencies albeit unknown in the castings for these movies. The far bigger star who is the focal point and the main character who drives the plot home as the focal point is the White actor. The differentiation in this instance is found in the patterns that have been developed to associate with these characterizations (Gilbert 1548). For instance, restrained prisoners are usually seen to be African American, unrestrained profanity associated with Black females and technical expertise disassociated with African Americans (Stowers 72).
A major issue of concern has been the imagined communities as is highlighted in Benedict Anderson's work which brings to fore the cultural-cognitive process which draws a line between the Whites and the African Americans. Mass media has over the years been a factor in aiding the imaginative process in the minds of Whites and in some instances, the Blacks themselves. For instance, there has been a misalliance that is associated with the description and image creation of the Black society (Entman and Rojecki 212). Their characterization falls in the extremes considered in the book as "liminality." The Blacks are either portrayed in mass media as either virtuous, supremely gifted, successful and at the same time, they could either be corrupt, dangerous and criminal. These descriptions fail to identify the number of African Americans that live in the middle as normal individuals and citizens which largely characterizes the Whites (Entman and Rojecki 214). A story brought out in Chapter 2 describes that the Blacks are either portrayed as successful athletes and drug dealers whereas, on the other side, they are poor, thieves and sickly (Stowers 73). Never does the media portray them to be normal people living normal lives like they do the White Americans.
The news particularly has been a major player in the unfavorable view that Whites have for African Americans. These have made it more possible for Whites to be afraid of engaging in Black territories. According to the findings that were generated by the study and interviews conducted in Indianapolis, there were few Whites if any who registered interactions with their Black counterparts beyond the workplace (Gilbert 1549). They are of the view that they fear the associations attached to Black neighborhoods and societies. Poverty and welfare cheating is another characterization of the Black social category even though lived experiences suggested otherwise. The respondents gave information about the frustrations that the news placed on Black political leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan as being opportunistic, corrupt and whining while at the same time neglecting the White politicians who matched the same description (Entman and Rojecki 210-215).
The Indianapolis sample found true the undermining of racial comity by the media. Political and social communication is affected by the journalistic norm that has been applied to social conflict appearing dramatically to have a bigger appeal. There is an emotional potency that depicts a misleading image holding and viewing the Whites being hostage to the Black advancements. The media portrays an image that the depiction of the Black with iconic ministers and leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan appeared as a symbol for the Blacks (Entman and Rojecki 208-212). The media have a way of dramatizing such issues that in the end carry a political implication. As such, there is a wrong and unintended political and social communication as explored in many chapters all through the book. The general characterization of Black issues that led to White hostility to Black interests are particular biases that may not have been defined by journalists, but carry a significant image for racism by the White Americans (Stowers 71).
In the end, the question that arises from this discussion is does the journalist have a responsibility of creating a mental image and representation in the audience's mind or does he/she create an accurate visual and verbal record an idea living the audience with the task of creating their own explanation and judgment about an issue? Are the representation as presented by Gilens about the over the presentation of Blacks as being poor and victims of criminal stories as well as perpetrators of crime necessary? The book offers recommendations such as the provision of an accurate and actual representation of facts, seeking the creation of dominant frames within the minds of the audiences, providing self-critical material that provides context and clarifies the reasons and the causes for the appearance of particular images (Entman and Rojecki 210-218). In the end, the media is creating a form of racism that is not actual racism but fear for certain possibilities. The Blacks should understand that this is not proof of irremediable racism (Stowers 74).
In conclusion, the media has failed in its description of Black society as a lesser group. Not only in the news or in advertisements, but also in the movies and films. In the end, although the issue of racism and the equal treatment of the Blacks and the Whites make it more difficult to say that equality reigns. Further still, the description and the general classification and embodiment of the Black society has made it difficult for the society to view the Black society as normal citizens, fathers, mothers, children and what not. Many studies undertaken in the book in the area around Indianapolis had a lot of racial connotations that have been created by TV and the media in general. However, there are areas that can be addressed to meet these issues and ensure that there are a better view and understanding of the Black society. The journalist can take care of the news by giving accurate information with the context that critically looks at the issue at hand.
Entman, Robert M, and Andrew Rojecki. The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America. U of Chicago P, 2007.
Gilbert, James. "Alan Nadel.Television in Black and White America: Race and National Identity.:Television in Black and White America: Race and National Identity.(Culture America.)." The American Historical Review, vol. 111, no. 5, 2006, pp. 1548-1549.
Stowers, Gwen. "Education, Racism, and the Media." Glimpse, vol. 9, 2007, pp. 70-74.
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