Free Essay on How Advertising Today Reinforces Racism and Racist Stereotypes

Published: 2022-04-25
Free Essay on How Advertising Today Reinforces Racism and Racist Stereotypes
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Advertising
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1910 words
16 min read

Racism still exists today in many ways that people often turn a blind eye to, or perhaps don't even notice. Several companies have released advertisements that play on, or highlight racism in a stereotypical way sometimes companies are not trying to be outright racist, instead trying to make a joke and incorporate humor that will ultimately backfire pretty quickly. The concept of racial profiling in the advertisement is not therefore always negative, or is not intended to have a negative impact on the viewer and the society at large. However in the event that an advertisement appears to be racial it can be harmful to the communities and individuals that perceives it to be harmful. In addition, the effect can also be felt with the company which has displayed the advertisement

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Racial stereotyping are used frequently in the advertisement. They can be said to be the metal ideologies that viewers assigns meaning to base on their social category in the society. In most cases it has been perceives as part of racism. Even though many people believe that racism is a thing of the past, it still is occurring in many ways, one of those ways being advertising. Stereotypical racism in advertising is unethical because it promotes and reinforces racial stereotypes, and is often used in a negative way which is offensive and promotes racial hierarchy. This paper will therefore address some of the ways in which the current advertisement reinforces racism and racist stereotypes as well as their impact to the targeted races.

Racism in advertisements promotes and reinforces racial stereotypes to the general public. In some cases it becomes difficult to detect racism in advertisement because society has become accustomed to the stereotypes being represented. It is not always a bad idea to have racial stereotyping in advertising, but in most cases, this concept wil be regarded as destructive since the reverberation of a stereotype makes it appear natural and hence therefore may seem normal. The advertisers of various companies will be using already available ideologies that are present in the community y and anchor their advertisement on them as a matter of fact stereotypes have been applied in advertisements for as long as they have been in existence and therefore it has become normal and difficult to detect. Although different commercials are considered to be more racist than others

Advertisers frequently use racial stereotype in their commercials. Though it becomes a matter to debate as viewers tend to allocate meaning based on where they belong in social and cultural category and therefore by definition stereotype does not convey positive or negative values. For this reason we realize different results as it can be positive based on the demographics in question or being targeted on the other hand it can be viewed negatively more particularly in circumstances where stereotyping becomes offensive.

Damaging advertising stereotypes can assume many different forms, which in some cases depict people black people dressed in skin of animal and in wilderness locale. Repetitive appearance of middle-aged Caucasian women, and white male-Asian female couples taken in native scenes as housewives or caretakers. The increased spread of genders, cultures and ethnicities frequently targeted by advertisers in their commercials results in the surge of groups affected by their work. This is elaborated by the examples below.

In most cases Asian Americans are always portrayed to be prosperous, people having well education people having a superb work ethic, and in most cases are featured in commercials that promote business and technology than Latino model or African American (austine). Both Latinos and African Americanse widely featured in various activities mainly at leisure or as outdoor or sometimes in the sporting pursuits, whilst it is recorded that 50% of the print advertisements that the Asian American featured they were shown to be at workplace .It is widely seen that the commercials that involve Asian American men in most cases propagate a stereotype of sacrifice and success in order to attain a reward that mainly is financial, such as Paek and Shah's (2003) example of a print ad, in the commercial it was reported that an Asian man is depicted talking to his wife that he will have to be working late tonight. The advertisement is suggesting that the man is at work and is giving first priority to the company's objectives and goals whilst willing to have his family and his life to come as a obligation.

A majority of people may argue that stereotype that portrays hard work and prosperity may appear to be positive and without causing any harm to the affected group. In American community to be successful and wealthy is a great advantage, however following the television and print advertisement passively, may shape the perception of the viewer and the reader respectively. This kind of representation of the Asian Americans in the advertst platforms can have damaging effects in so far as conveying incorrect representation of the entire Asia and the people found within that particular culture and beliefs.

Another example is recognized in a minority stereotyping is that of African American, where the males from this race are commonly featured in advertising and promoting hip hop music (yrr). They are always regarded as the representation of the hip hop culture, even though the reality is that over 80% of consumers of this genre of music are not of African American race. It is also common to find Africa America males majorly featuring in exhibiting sporting skills, like for example showing a young man taking part in basketball game in Kellogg's advertisement or a great number of player featured in EA sport commercials engaging in basketball and soccer video games.(bbvh). Bristor et al. (1995) suggest that this narrowed view of African Americans in non-occupational and mostly in leisurely related activities may have damaging effect in that it tends to suggest to the young members of this race that their fate is tied to sport and hip hop music and therefore have little else to work towards except for these limited options. In conclusion, they suggest that a wider options of duties and roles should be shown to the African Americans to reflect the true societal changing opinion, with a larger percentage needing to be appearing in positions of leadership and management.

It is widely that the Latinos are systematically being shown dark light as far as representation is concerned, they get the least representation in the media appearing with speaking role of merely 1% of the advertisements appearing in the televisions and having only 4.7% television commercials overall.(gfmf). In a study carried out by Mastro and Stern (2003) observing frequencies of different races in advertisement, this revealed that Latinos appeared in hygiene or soap commercials in 43% of all the ads they featured, this was followed by other non-occupational task of promoting footwear or clothing. The advertisements in most cases exhibit Latino models in more reveling clothes than their Caucasian counterparts and majorly taking part in sexualized characters. Mastro and Stern advice that this may influence the younger population in to believing that those aspects are the most vital features that they should poses even as they become adults.(ddd)

Paek and Shah too found Latinos to be underrepresented (2003), and the occupations the Latino models are portrayed to hold to hold are most often employment positions, followed closely by blue collar jobs(y s). It has been seen that underrepresentation can result in a community having false thought about the position minorities occupy in society, and also can negatively affect how minorities look at themselves, Bang and Taylor are of the opinion that stereotypes such inadequate or total lack of motivation or education can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, that may retard the economic empowerment of the community. Members of such society imagine themselves to occupy a certain fixed position in society and thus work towards that position, which would have negative impact to any culture or community if they hold the opinion of being less educated or unfit to hold higher employment positions.(trgrg),[via Pollay's aforementioned "mold" effect.

Apart from the already discussed negative effects of advertisement, it can lead to damages to both the advertiser and the viewer. The Advertisers may suffer from low sales of their products and serves arising from the absconding of their products by the negatively affected group. The low sales may be worsened if the other races or groups not affected by the commercial stand in solidarity with the aggrieved race. There are also cases where the advertising companies have lost large amount of resources due to litigations presented to the courts by the aggrieved community or race. Negative advertisement may destroy the reputation of the advertising company beyond repair and even be locked out of some markets by the authorities managing those region. The effect of negative advertisement to the viewers could lead to oppression and lower self-esteem of the affected group.

In 2008, L'oreal Paris was accused of whitewashing the skin of the singer Beyonce and hair colour as they used in on f their commercials . Her hair and skin colour became greatly lighter. There was tremendous amount of attacks that were directed at the advertising company as a result of the racial offence caused. Kilbourne indicates that the figure advertisers create is never real, it is artificial, it is constructed and impossible. At the is time the blacks and some of the coloured people felt offended as they believed that a mockery was made of their race. This advertisement sent conflicting messages to the young fan base that Beyonce has.

As per the earlier discussion people tend to naturally identify themselves socially, they ascribe qualities to themselves that can allow them to easily associate with people from other communities .This also can be described as an in-group. When people have close ties to a specific group, it is common to see group members take offence to something impacting another member. When advertisers apply racial stereotypes in a negative way, generally it gives rise to two different results, one; being that an individual takes offence and hostility directed at the advertiser emerges, and two; people start to question themselves and the society they belong to and can result in a form of self oppression. Social stereotypes that we encounter around us, may affect the decisions we make as well as define our self-identity Both of which outcomes cause damage to both the advertiser and the viewer and can be seen as unethical advertising. A lot of disharmony has been created by these advertisements whereby the races that lived together in harmony tend to drift apart depending on how they are portrayed from the commercial.

To sum up, this paper has demonstrated a myriad of ways in which the present ads support racism and racist stereotypes. It was also clear that some races have been targeted more than others based on color, education, wealth, and so on. Even though certain authors have argued that using racial stereotypes may present some positive outcomes, particularly if it targets a particular race, this paper has argued that its use is completely unethical as it only leads to consequences that tend to favor one race while neglecting the other. Therefore, it is important for authorities in charge of advertising in media to set up clear guidelines so that advertisers are more regulated to subsequently reduce its effects. To add to this, it is important for advertising firms to receive adequate education on the possible effects of utilizing negativ...

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