I Have a Dream of Equality in the Media
I Have a Dream of Equality in the Media

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal." A portion of the dramatic, "I Have a Dream", speech, delivered on August 28, 1963 by Martin Luther King Jr. Nearly thirty-two years later his dream is being realized with the help of television networks and record companies. Equal rights is being leveled by the media in efforts to portray Black Americans in a positive light.

Most of the stars in television shows centered around blacks are upper class families attempting to portray the idea of "togetherness" and family values to their children (along with a good bit of humor). The Cosby Show gave the kick start to such shows. Following in the tradition of this loving family was the A Different World spin-off, and Family Matters. A Different World was a sitcom following the college career of the second Cosby daughter, portraying an intelligent young black woman and her daily problems. The positive image given by Family Matters combines comedy with the ups and downs of the Winslow family. All three shows are examples of Black American families toughing their way through life with the support and love of their families.

If you are a regular MTV, or VH1 viewer, you are familiar with artists like Boyz II Men, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Desiree. Each of the artists mentioned have completely different styles but do have something in common, the color of their skin. Boyz II Men is a group of black men from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their unique style of harmonizing creates a feeling of music which comes from the heart. A newer female African American artist is Desiree. Her song "You Gotta Be" has a theme of having high self-esteem through life, another positive artist. On the other hand Snoop Doggy Dogg is an African American rap artist who received an American Music Award for rythmatic speech about murder. As you can see for the most part African Americans, with a few exceptions, are using music in a positive way to influence minds of other Americans.

Everyday on the news the majority of stories you hear about are blacks. This is according to to an everyday of the Baltimore 5 o'clock news. For example, the issue of racism was brought into the O.J. Simpson murder trial. On the face of it the case has nothing to do with racism, media seems to stress the racism issue. Susan Smith, who killed her two children, blamed her gruesome act on a black man. This was publicized nationally so people began to fear every black man they saw. This was not fair to the Black Americans.

The news also shows blacks in a positive way. For instance some people thought so highly of Michael Jackson, that they thought he could do no wrong.

The use of the media, through television, music and news, has created a positive image of Black Americans. For the most part it has put the spotlight on well deserving Black Americans. The ratio of whites to blacks in the media's positive image is not quite equal but our society is working to achieve this goal.

Sources: "I Have a Dream" speech,
MTV, VH1, Television Networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS

Sarah R.
Jessica K.
Crystal L.

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