African-American Images in the Media: 
Alice and Me in Wonderland
African-American Images in the Media: Alice and Me in Wonderland

What is the influence of the media on Black culture today? How do music videos, newspapers, magazines, television, and movies effect how Blacks are perceived in American society? Has this changed from the past? Is the case for equal rights being helped or hurt by the media's depiction of Black Americans?

When first approaching this question, Alice and I took it to be a question specifically related to black history. Upon further examination, we recognize that the influence of the media on our culture is not specific to the Black race. At one time, the bad news of the day was tendered with human interest stories and other positive happenings. In today's society, it's not a question of how Blacks are perceived; but it is a question of how human nature in general is perceived.

Most recently Black Americans are represented by figures such as Clarence Thomas, O.J. Simpson, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. These images do not help Blacks to be portrayed in a positive light. On the other hand, stories of Jack Kavorkian, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Jim Baker present an equally bad image of the white population. Society demands media coverage that is sensational and perverse. Even since the days of yellow journalism, the media has concentrated its energy on presenting negative stories rather than positive ones. It has distorted events to sell papers, boost ratings, and break box office records.

It appears to us that this negativity in media coverage is almost specific to the United States. Even when crossing the border to Canada, the United States is perceived as a place of excessive brutality, sexual perversion, and economic shambles. This opinion may not be unfounded if it is based on American newspapers, magazines, music videos, and movies. These images are not even close to the violence that goes unreported in most of the world.

Media representation of Blacks in America definitely does not help in the fight for equal rights. The reform need not be specific to Blacks but to the way that all of American is portrayed to ourselves and to the world.

Julie S.
Alice S.

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