Word Count 2025How Racism Propagated By The Film Industry Is Shaping The Society: Unfair Portrayal Of African Americans In The Film Industry.

Published: 2022-03-29
Word Count 2025How Racism Propagated By The Film Industry Is Shaping The Society: Unfair Portrayal Of African Americans In The Film Industry.
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Human resources United States Finance Law
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1814 words
16 min read

Racism is one of the most significant ills affecting the current society. It refers to the act of segregating people by their skin color. In spite of globalization and technological advancement in the recent past, humanity is yet to eliminate racism. Apparently, it is affecting how people relate and interact. Also, racism victims are denied recognition and opportunities for progress in life. According to Kiuchi (2012: 17), visual culture can alter people's perceptions and consciousness. In other words, it is a powerful tool that can affect one's worldview and impression of other people. Instead of providing equal access and coverage the media has been promoting racism subsequently shapping the society. In essence, the media possesses a racist perspective. African Americans have suffered immensely from negative depiction by the media. Precisely, the US print, television, and film industry have distorted the image of African Americans hence creating barriers for their advancement in life.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Coverage of drug use is one area where the film industry has unfairly targeted the African Americans. According to Meyers (2013: 118), the film industry has linked hard drugs such as crack cocaine to the black communities. On the other hand, the industry has disregarded the use of cocaine among the wealthy whites. Similarly, the author highlights the stereotyping of a black woman as a drug addict. The African American woman is also tagged a "she-devil." According to the author, the film industry also depicts the black woman as being responsible for the birth of crack babies who suffer from a poverty of values. According to Meyers, the story as portrayed by the film industry fails to capture challenges facing the Black women. On the contrary, it highlights a negative image which only serves to increase their discrimination. In addition, the author indicates that the depiction is consistent with other cultural studies which revealed that the industry represents the ruling class' interests. In this case, the presentation of the views of those in power as natural and inevitable helps build consensus around the common ideology. Subsequently, anchoring them on daily beliefs and practices of the society. For instance, Meyers (2013: 112) highlights how the media's depiction of racial violence tends to legitimize the criminal system. Consequently, supporting the upholding of law and order while at the same time depicting the African Americans as a threat to the social order. These assertions reflect those of Kiuchi (2012: 17) regarding the role of the film industry in the society. According to Kiuchi, the film industry has the power to alter the way people perceive or address specific issues. In the case of the Blacks, their portrayal as being against the social order has heightened arrest and incarceration rates.

Besides being linked to illicit drug use, the Blacks have also been associated with crime and poverty in the neighborhoods as exhibited in Giuliani Time. Torres (2003: 73) indicates that contemporary policing has emerged as a civil rights approach to dealing with the urban poor who are predominantly Black. As depicted in Giuliani Time documentary, the only aspect hindering the development of perfect cities is the existence of black people in the streets. This perception was behind the Mayor's (Guiliani) decision to formulate a plan of eliminating African Americans from the city. The measure was achieved through criminalization of the groups (Blacks and the poor) and accusing them of having committed "quality of life offenses." In this scenario, there is the depiction of African Americans as being the cause of social ills within the New York community. Hence the determination to have them banished. The above-highlighted activities are reflected in Kiuchi's (2012: 25) findings which revealed culture as being the primary impediment to African American's inclusion into the mainstream society.

The US film industry has also limited the Black women's employment opportunities to household tasks. Apparently, such jobs require low to no skills with minimal pay which makes them less popular. The television show "Gimme A Break" exhibits an African American woman providing care to a white family. According to Fuller, (2013), the black woman (Nell) highlighted in the movie, bears significant resemblance to Aunt Jemima Brand of 1889 which illustrated the black woman as being a voluptuous maid who invests in the happiness of the employer. Further, Fuller (2013) asserts that in spite of the passage of time and the changes in people's perceptions regarding racism little has changed in the film and television industry. From the author's perspective, the role of Nell in "Gimme a Break" was finetuned to suit the perceptions of the society. The depiction of Nell as a humble and loving woman suits the description of Kiuchi (2012) on the qualities given to black characters. From Kiuchi's analysis, the Blacks were denied roles that could give them authority or control over the whites. In regards to "Gimme a break," Nell is submissive to Kanisky.

The film industry has often given the Blacks less favorite roles. According to Kiuchi (2012: 20), Hollywood has often denied Black actors roles which would have shown them as being strong or having authority over the whites. The author indicates that such roles would have been perceived as a threat to the Whites. An example given by the author is that of Sydney Poiter who had played a role in 1967 "Guess who is coming to dinner." The film portrays the black character (Sydney) getting into a relationship with a white actor (Katharine). According to kiuchi, the interracial relationship was considered normal and acceptable because Sydney possessed virtues of a white man.

In addition, the adverse depiction of African Americans has culminated in the demoralization of athletes and professionals in various fields. McKay and Johnson (2008: 86) highlight how Serena Williams- one of the best tennis players- was regarded as not appropriate for the sport due to her physical appearance. According to Kiuchi (2012: 17), the media can influence people's consciousness and by extension pushing them to a new direction. The depiction of the African athletes as being less appropriate for the tennis sport as compared to the whites has affected their performance and how their fans perceive them. Consequently, the victory of African American athletes has often been downplayed with the accusation that they are too powerful to compete with other players.

The depiction of African Americans as being inferior to the American whites has been attributed to myriads of factors. However, the fact that whites direct most movies is the most significant contributor. According to Gray (1995:71), though most 19th century films included black characters, they did not feature strong black themes. From Gray's (1995: 71) point of view, the fact that whites lead most of the said movies implies that there has been a predominant inclusion of white perspective in the stories conveyed. In other words, the white directors have often approached the Black culture and themes from their viewpoint as opposed to that of the Blacks hence distorting the message (Kiuchi, 2012: 17). In addition to that, challenges affecting the African Americans have not received adequate coverage. Consequently, some of the pertinent issues affecting minority groups are not captured thus leading to the decline in quality of life to the concerned. Pierson et al. (2013: 157) were at the center of attention for highlighting the plight of African American women. The race was the primary reason why the women's health challenges had not been covered. The instant fame of the TV comedy reflected the interest among members of the society to understand the problems of the black women.

In conclusion, it is clear from the above-highlighted evidence that the film industry has had a significant impact on the society and in specific the African American's image. Issues such as drugs and crime, for instance, have become linked with the Blacks in spite of the fact that the other races are involved in the same vices. The negative portrayal has had an immense impact on the Blacks as they find it difficult to coexist with other races or even participate in activities such as athletics. It is therefore critical that the film industry restructures its approach of African Americans to ensure fairness and fruitful coexistence of different races.


Fuller, Jennifer, 2013. "Gimme a Break! And the Limits of the Modern Mammy." Pp. 105-120 in Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences.

This article evaluates how the television industry has depicted the African American image. Fuller highlights the role of Nell, a black woman taking care of a white family. The article established a similarity between the casting of a black woman in the current generation and the previous years. This article provides information on how the black woman has been portrayed by the film industry that is essential for black women empowerment in the 21st century.

Gray, Herman, 1995. "The politics of representation in network television." Pp. 71-92 in Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for" Blackness." U of Minnesota Press

The article focuses on the management of the film industry and how it has influenced the African American image. The article concludes that the presence of white directors have ensured that the African issues are not reflected in the films as they should. The article is relevant to the 21st century as it provides an insight on how the film industry can provide best incorporate black topics and subsequently enhance inclusivity.

Kiuchi, Yuya, 2012. "The Black Image in the White Pathology." Pp. 17-33 in Struggles for Equal Voice: The History of African American Media Democracy. SUNY Press.

The document presents a chronology of how the film industry has incorporated African American themes and ideas over the years. The article is appropriate for the 21st century as it explains how the film industry has developed through time, which is essential for the industry planners.

McKay, James, and Helen Johnson, 2011. "Pornographic eroticism and sexual grotesquerie in representations of African American sportswomen." Pp. 85-94 in Social Identities. Gender, race, and class in media: A critical reader, edited by Kellner, Douglas, Gail Dines, and Jean M. Humez.

This article delves into how soft pornography has disadvantaged black athletes. From the author's analysis, black athletes have always appeared less attractive compared to the whites. This factor has resulted in the emergence of negative comments, which have affected the performance of black athletes. Sports is one of the most prominent activities of the 21st century, as such addressing factors impeding its progress is critical.

Meyers, Marian, 2013. "Crack mothers in the news: A narrative of paternalistic racism." Pp. 119-136 in African American women in the news: Gender, race, and class in journalism. Routledge.

This article addresses the depiction of the black woman in the media. The author mentions how the Blacks have become associated with the use of hard drugs such as cocaine. It is appropriate for the 21st century since it addresses the issue of drug abuse which has become prevalent in the recent past.

Pierson, Eric, et al. 2013. "Prioritized: The Hip Hop (Re) construction of Black Womanhood in Girlfriends and the Game." Pp. 157-171 in Watching while black: Centering the television of black audiences. Rutgers University Press.

This art...

Cite this page

Word Count 2025How Racism Propagated By The Film Industry Is Shaping The Society: Unfair Portrayal Of African Americans In The Film Industry.. (2022, Mar 29). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/word-count-2025how-racism-propagated-by-the-film-industry-is-shaping-the-society-unfair-portrayal-of-african-americans-in-the-film-industry

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism