Date of Award

12-2005

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Tina Passman

Second Committee Member

Margo Lukens

Third Committee Member

Marcia Douglas

Abstract

What would you do if the Constitution said you were just as good as everyone else but some people still acted as if you were something they had just scraped off their shoe? This sort of thing happens to millions of people on a regular basis. Americans of African, Asian, or Mexican descent are all subject to this kind of treatment. Caucasians are as well, but it is not as publicly notarized as the aforementioned. Most of these feelings towards another of a different skin color are deeply rooted in our minds from previous generations. When a black person does not wear baggy jeans or say slang phrases such as, "Yo homie, sup", people would often describe that particular person as being too "white." Similarly, if a white person plays basketball or listens to rap music, we might think of him or her as being too "black". All because of the stereotypical views implanted by the media and our ancestors in our brains. Movies, music, mass media in general all put these ideas in our heads. One perfect example of just how far mass media has delved into racism and discrimination is a story about Danny Glover. Danny Glover, a famous African-American actor, was in New York City. It was late at night and he was trying to hail a cab. None of the cabs would stop and pick him up because of the fact that he was an African-American male. Stereotypical views like those of the cabby's are not rare. Mass media has divided the working class and stereotyped young African-American males as gangsters or drug dealers. As a result of such treatment, the media have crushed youths' prospects for future employment and advancement. The media have focused on the negative aspects of the black community (e.g. engaging in drug use, criminal activity, welfare abuse) while maintaining the cycle of poverty that the elite wants. Pop culture has and will continue to portray a self-serving negative stereotype of the minority community. The societal and economic factors of racism have become more than just a bias. They are also a profitable industry, in which the elite will continue to suppress the minority class in order to maximize profits. According to Harvard professor Cornell West, 1 percent of the elite holds some 48 percent of America's wealth. This means that media, racism, and stereotypes will continue to be employed so that those elite can be sure of their continuing economic stability.

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