Racial Ethnic Groups Term Paper

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Blacks or African-American Groups and compare / contrast them with Whites people on the following characteristics: depiction in firms, treatment in society, and employment and education.

Depiction in Films

The mass media have long influenced the popular image of minorities. From the 19th century's journalism and ethnic cartoons to the imagery of contemporary movies and television, the mass media have contributed powerfully to the way that minority groups are viewed, including the ways minority members view themselves.

Hollywood has a long history of portraying African-Americans in a negative or stereotypical manner. In general, Blacks are presented as basically different from other people, as taking no relevant part in the life of the nation, as offering nothing, contributing nothing, expecting nothing. The negative images of blacks are fed by portrayals of blacks in movies, television and elsewhere, primarily portraying them as moonshine runners, criminals, and murderers. Some other depictions are blacks as dumb and eccentric people, country music lovers, back woods monsters, demented families, and confederates (Benzon, 1993).

Blacks are shown as dependent on whites and the film industry preaches the dictum of white superiority on the silver screen and the devaluation of the blacks in one-dimensional images as "criminals, servants, comics, athletes, and sidekicks."

Any discussion of the black race brings into discussion also the depiction of the white woman who is presented as the white man's property that runs the risk of possibly being stolen away by the black males (Benzon, 1993).

Public opinion surveys indicate that substantial segments of the United States majority population continue to hold stereotyped beliefs and prejudiced attitudes towards minority groups. According to public opinion research, widely-held "ethnic images" of both Blacks in the United States portray them, relative to majority-group members, as substantially less intelligent.

Onscreen and off, the history that Western culture has made typically denies blacks and black skin of historical reference, except as former slaves or savages. One of the prime codes surrounding blacks, particularly the black woman -- is seen as eternal, unchanging, unchangeable

Not very long ago, Blacks in film were relegated to roles in film that portrayed us as either bug-eyed, shuffling bucks, or big breasted sassy mammies and housekeepers. Those who refused to honor those stereotypes had to either dance or sing like their lives depended on it, or limit their careers to the few meaningful roles available in low budget films produced and directed by Blacks, which played exclusively to Black audiences, and enjoyed no crossover appeal (Collier, 1993).

Black people are sensual, anarchic free spirits who party, play loud music, dance, do drugs, speak in Ebonics, and don't seem to work. Black people act the way they do because it's natural and Who They Are. In films, black characters are defined by a single overwhelming trait: not being white.

Treatment in Society

Blacks in this country make up 13% of the U.S. population. Though large percentages of blacks are the descendants of families who have been in America for generations, some others are recent immigrants from the West Indies, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. It's estimated that every African-American experiences about hundreds of incidents very year from slurs hurled at them by whites to and a whole variety of other unclassifiable events.

African-Americans are one of the most segregated groups in the country. This segregation is evident at housing and residential areas. Blacks are also overrepresented in city public housing developments. All of these issues show the problems that blacks find less chance to associate with other sections of the society.

The problems of the ghetto cannot be solved without understanding the total inadequacies in economic, social, and injustice issues that blacks suffer in their everyday lives. For example, America's child-poverty rate is four times higher than Western Europe, and the rate of incarceration for black men is four times higher than in the days of apartheid South Africa. In the U.S., blacks earn only two third of whites' earnings and a black worker is likely to earn 12% less than a white in a similar job (Hacker, 1992).

In making social decisions, the perceptions and attitudes held by general public are particularly relevant for the success of the Blacks. Research interviews with such decision-makers in the United States typically indicate that they readily generalize about racial and ethnic groups, and the content of these generalizations is predominantly highly adverse to minority job-seekers. In one study in Chicago, for example,…[continue]

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