Mya Davis IWA Rough Draft - Media Influence in the...

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Media Influence in the Public’s Perception of Minorities (1908) Stereotype. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a stereotype is a typical mental picture that is held in common by members of a group. This picture portrays a simple opinion, attitude, or judgment about a type of person. The media uses stereotypes to their advantage when trying to promote a particular agenda or idea. With around 41.5 % of American citizens belonging to a racial minority group, I wanted to know, what are the effects on the stereotyped group? In the stimulus documents, there was a constant theme of stereotypes and prejudices which inspired me to research the idea of the media influencing the public and the effects it can have. As Dr. Edward Kessler, stated, “The Social Media can also overcome ignorant stereotypes and combat prejudice, (although it is also (ab)used to promote prejudice).” Although his research focused on social media and its influence in the spread of ideas within the development and movement of interfaith dialogues, it still presents several views and ideas relevant to this topic which will be further looked at. The media influences how the general public perceives each ethnicity. It tends to group certain races by stereotypes, portraying them often times as “bad” people who want to cause harm to the United States. For example, a study found that in music videos, ¨ 29.0% of aggressors and 75.0% of victims were black¨ (Rich at. el). This can be detrimental to the way these minorities live and feel about themselves. This affects their psyche, the way the white majority views them, and how people of color (POC) are treated in when it comes to crime. The Use of Stereotypes in History The media has had an influence on the way the public views minorities throughout history. These views were often exacerbated during war times through the use of propaganda and
yellow journalism. Yellow journalism is a term coined for the ay newspapers produce sensational headlines and stories in lieu of actual facts (Office of the Historian). Kessler contributes the use of these tactics “for the sake of generating controversy and greater publicity” (Kessler 8). Yellow journalism was used during WWI in the sinking of the Lusitania. The Lusitania was an American cargo ship carrying civilians that was shot down by German U-boats during WWI. Sensationalist headlines such as “Toll of Lusitania Victims Laid to German Murder Lust” written by the Washington Herald in 1915 helped gain support for the United States entrance into the war. Before the attack, the US took an isolationist approach towards the war and only sent supplies to their British allies at the time. The attack and news headlines helped propel the US into war. As a result of the yellow journalism surrounding the event propaganda against the Germans also began to appear.

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