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Michael Short Comm 10 Final Paper

Michael Short Comm 10 Final Paper - Michael Short 803781208...

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Michael Short 803781208 Communications 10 Final Paper Topic #2: What messages do entertainment television programs send about race? How are different racial groups presented? Are all groups depicted as interchangeable, or are distinct differences presented? Are some groups stereotyped? Are some groups shown as better than others in some ways? You can focus on one group, or you can compare and contrast different groups. A cause of conflict in this country since its inception, it is obvious how the social construct of race would influence the television industry. For over five decades, producers and creators for major television corporations have created programs that not only depict racial stereotypes, but also help to enforce them. The racial stereotypes seen on American television are not specific to one or two cable channels, but in fact carry across the entire spectrum of television broadcasting networks, from Disney to Music Television (MTV). With these networks portraying each race similarly, the question arises, what type of messages are these networks trying to instill in their viewers, and why? The answer to the question why is simple, to make money; these stereotypes are what we know and relate to and are therefore easy to sell. However, the more difficult and pressing question is what messages do these networks send to its viewers? The answer to this, I believe is unique to each individual, but what it does to the country, as a whole, is concrete and enforce stereotypes about various races. As individuals we all observe and react differently to race and television based on our own personal experiences and observations. However, even though each individual reacts differently to what they see on television, the racial divides and stereotypes ever-present in television help to further generalize races and separate people along racial lines. This becomes
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evident when comparing several different television series and networks, airing over the span of several years, and analyzing how these networks portray different races. In this essay I will be focusing on ways in which television networks enforce racial stereotypes in regards to Caucasians (whites), and African-Americans, the messages they convey, and how it has affected me personally. In recalling the television shows I watched throughout my childhood and adolescence, they were all dominated by white actors. Growing up I was aware of this fact, but never questioned how this affected my view of whites and other races. In
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