How the Media Degrade African American Women

How the Media Degrade African American Women The media has a role to inform the public about important occurrences and maintain the level of knowledge among people. However, the media has been criticized of degrading the African American woman. The media represent all available channels and technology that are used to convey information from the source to the audience. The African American women has been used by the media to represent negativity or the negative side of humanity particularly poverty. The modern generation media such as the Facebook and Twitter has also contributed to the degradation role played by the traditional media. This paper will therefore discuss how the media has degraded American women of African descent. Most media hold strongly to different stereotypes about black women. The media uses these stereotypes to pass its intended message to different audience with the aim of emphasizing their message. Firstly, the media use the black woman to represent poverty in the society. Although African American women are more affected by poverty than the men are, it does not justify the use of African American women to represent poverty and disasters. This phenomenon is mostly evident when the media is try to depict disasters such as famine (Rokeach, 1973), earthquakes and war using women. When representing such scenes the media use an African woman irrespective of the society under consideration. During the last earthquake in Haiti, most world Medias such as the BBC, and CNN mainly focused on the African women to show how devastating the earthquake was despite having been women from other races who were also affected by disasters. Similar scenes were witnessed in Japan despite the country having few African American women. The media has different reasons that make it rely on these stereotypes to emphasize its message. The first reason is that the media want to use the easiest way possible to inform the people. The media also wants to use little effort to inform the people about certain occurrence. In such case the media uses or apply what is already known by the people. Different representations about black woman are well known by the people. The media therefore relies on such stereotypes to reduce the effort required to pass a certain message. Although this aspect is useful to the media it contributes to the problems experienced by the black women particularly those who have international roles. The position of the African woman as created by the media hinders development among African American women by increasing cases of discrimination among them. In most societies, the issue of sexuality is not discussed openly. This is due to the evil factor attached to sex. The media to depict evil among Africans have long used the stereotype about black women and sex. Most media particularly the audiovisual media degrades the African woman by using her as a symbol of sex and evil. This is evident in most music videos and films that use the black woman to represent sex scenes and other scenes that are considered evil by the society. The print media also has the preference of using a black woman as a symbol of sex and evil behavior. It is believed that most sexual immoralities happen in Africa and therefore the relationship between the African woman and sex (Media Awareness Network, 2010). In addition, issues of sex are considered a taboo by most African societies who do not talk about the subject. This is a contradiction since issues of sex mainly affects the women. Issue of genital mutilation has also been common among African societies. This operation was mainly carried out to control the sexuality of the African woman as it is beyond that of other women. Africans are also associated with wickedness. The media has often used the black women to represent evil in both the entertainment and informative media. In entertainment the black women is used as a symbol of dangerous people. Particularly movies use the black women to represent the bad guys (USA Today, 1993). This gives the African American woman a negative image and portrays her as an untrustworthy person. Although the black American society is involved with most crimes committed in America, it is not right to associate the black American women with crime. This is because people from other races are also involved with crime (Smith, Bond, 1993). In addition, men are more involved with crime than women are. It has however been noted that most criminals, drug dealers and gang leaders always have female accomplices who are usually from African American societies. This portrayal of the black women has increased their chances of victimization by both the criminals and law enforcers. In conclusion, different media use the black American woman to represent different situation resulting into a disgrace of the African American women. Different stereotypes associated with the African women are the main cause of such degrades. Association of black American women with sex, evil, and crime by the media has contributed negatively to their credibility as American. This has made them to lose trust among people and increased their chances of victimization. References Media Awareness Network. (2010). Media Stereotyping – Introduction. Retrieved from Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York: Free Press. Smith, M. Bond, H. (1993). Social psychology across cultures: Analysis and perspectives. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. USA Today. (1993). Black women on TV still stereotyped. Retrieved from