Growing up I was always told I talked like a “white girl” or acted like a “white girl. “I never was quite sure how to interpret that or how to feel when someone said that to me. What were they trying to say? When I asked my mother if she had any idea what those people meant she straight up told me “don’t pay attention to the ignorance.” I was still confused, but then I slowly started to realize that a large some of the black community correlate the term “acting white” as speaking proper (no slang), being educated, dressing in tight clothing, and being snobby. Acting black” would mean to speak using a lot of slang, wear baggy clothing, and having the “ignorance is bliss” state of mind. I thought to myself, where are people getting this? Then it hit me clear as day, the media is the culprit.
In the media we typically seen blacks shown in an unfavorable light? We are typically shown as the theft, the murdered, the aggressive one, the savage, the stupid one, the lazy one, the drug dealer, the threat, and the menace to society. All though African- Americans make up a large portion of the entertainment world, it seems to be that’s all we are good for. According to the media if we are not out shooting hoops we are out stealing cars on the prowl for a hoe. These stereotypes of African Americans have been around since the beginning of time and in my opinion the media today sets African Americans back about 100 years.
Since the start of media, in all forms, blacks have always been portrayed as the bad guy. Minstrel shows were theatrical shows using blackface make up to stereotype black people as lazy, dimwitted, musical, and happy. Even cartoons highlighted negatives aspects of African Americans, for example Disney is the absolute worst when talking about stereotypes and racism. Disney for years has ridiculed African Americans and other nationalist and races for many years and it was actually okay.
What makes today so much different than the times when minstrel shows were popular? Well, instead of white performers in black-face the actual person being ridiculed is an actual black person! We may not realize it but when I watch the First 48 I find myself to become extremely frustrated because I have yet to have seen an episode where they are investigated a murder in a community other than a black or Hispanic community. Also when it comes to the music industry I can go on and on. The music industry, particularly hip hop, has been what people try correlate black culture with the most. If we are not acting, dressing, and talking like Jay-Z and the other entire artist out there then we are posers and trying to hide our true self.
Some people don’t realize the actual impact watching the media can have on someone’s real life. If someone who lives in an environment that is not very diverse what they see in the media is all they are going to know. So if a person that never grew up around black people suddenly came across a black person they are going to think that this person is automatically what they see on T.V. If they are not what they see on television however, then they are considered trying to be someone they are not.
With my research, what I have come to conclude is that somethings will never change.