Misrepresentation In Media
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Misrepresentation In Media

An accurate representation is all we ask

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Misrepresentation In Media
al

I just want to help people understand that at this time in America the misrepresentation black people have gone through. I feel if black people were properly represented in media or at all it would be a tremendous leap for our nation.

I want to justly explain how unfair this is to my people with 2 key points and a few clips here and there. Stereotypes, lack of recognition in general, and basically everything else!

So now onto my first point. I want to bring to your attention the two most common stereotypes used in current and past media. These Mammy and the Sapphire. They have been defined by Marilyn Yarbrough with Crystal Bennett in their Journal of Gender, Race and Justice in 2000. As proof that these stereotypes are still being used, I am going to use two examples from current media to elaborate.

The Mammy is first and foremost asexual, typically a dark skin, thick (or fat) woman. She is a maternal and deeply religious woman whose main task was caring for the master's children and running his household. The first Mammy used in media was ACTUALLY NAMED MAMMY in Gone with the Wind, but let’s talk about a more current character. The perfect modern day example of this is Abilene Clark from The Help. If you haven’t read the phenomenal book or at least seen the movie, you should know The Help was set in the mid 1900’s. So slavery wasn’t a thing anymore, but blunt racism was very much alive. Abilene was a maid for a white family, who’s main job was to care for the house owner’s daughter whom Abilene cared for just like her own daughter. Such a strong and well written character who was still forced into a box so she’d fit a stereotype.

The second common stereotype is the Sapphire, and just by the picture you all probably know exactly where I am going with this. She’s loud, she’s sassy, and doesn’t take anyone’s shit. This stereotype was created from the early show Amos 'n' Andy, a show where two white men dressed in black face for a radio show then to sitcom. Their friend Kingfish was married to the first ever portrayed sassy black women named Sapphire, and thus the Sapphire stereotype was born. As most of you all know, Cookie Lyon from Empire is all of those thing and then some, not much explaining needed there.

This last example to the left is what black people should have portrayed as more often, if they could do it back then we could do it now. Dwayne Wayne is one of the main characters on the old show called ‘A Different World’. The show follows the lives of students at a historically black college/university called Hillman University. Dwayne achieved a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT. He is best known for his flip up eyeglasses/shades and sense of morals. You would rarely see Dwayne doing anything truly wrong and the best part is he is a feminist. Dwayne is the type of man I aspire to be like; I wish I had more characters to look up to like that when I was younger.

Next, I just want to point out 3 examples of people who have hardly, if ever, been represented weather it’s in movies made about them or simply acknowledging that they did change the world for the better! Some might be a lot more relevant than you think.

Let’s first talk about something a little more current that just so happens to tie into the past accomplishments of a black women. If you haven’t been keeping up with current media or don’t use twitter that much, you might not have gotten wind about Marc Jacobs fashion show where he had CAUCASIAN models rocking dreadlocks, yet not the black models. So when people called him out on cultural appropriation[a1], instead of apologizing for his simple mistake he decided to go out and post a response on Instagram. Since it was a long message I’ll give you the spark notes version. Basically, Jacobs said that he can appropriate hair because black women straighten and relax their hair just like white people do so they’re appropriating white culture. When I am sorry to say it, but a black women popularized straightening hair and that was the one and only self-made black female millionaire Madam C. J. Walker who was actually the one who invented the straight iron according to PBS.ORG. Try again Mark, xoxo.

Even when black characters or just characters of color in general are given main roles in media, it is still stripped away from them by having white people to portray them instead. There are so many examples, but I just want to focus on one today. In A Mighty Heart a 2007 drama film based off the life of Maryanne Pearl’s life Angelina, Jolley portrays this African American women when it would have been just as easy to cast Gabriel Union or Taraji P. Henson. A few more examples of miscasting like this are Natalie Wood as Maria in West Side Story, Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, and lastly Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia.

My last point is more of a fun fact than a full-fledged point. For the past 2 years, ALL the Oscar nominees have been white, when I bet you all could name at least 5 actors right now who aren’t white that most likely deserve an Oscar. How are these phenomenal actors supposed to be proud and self-confident in their work when they can’t even get a Oscar nominee? It’s just upsetting to think that after all the work these people do, they don’t get enough recognition for what they work so hard for.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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