Friday, April 30, 2010

Final Project: Peer Reaction to Race and Racism in Media

The concept of this blog was to make myself and others more aware of the underrepresentation or misrepresentation people of color endure in media. Throughout the course of my blog, I have learned there are many issues of race that I myself was not aware of despite being a Comparative Ethnic Studies major. The idea for this last blog post/final project is to interview Washington State University students from various educational backgrounds to compile a series of interviews on how they position themselves in relation to the media they consume and the misrepresentation and lack of representation of people of color within that media.

The five WSU students interviewed were diverse in terms of their areas of studies and views on racism.

The students were:
  1. Hank: Freshman, Business Major
  2. Tanya: Junior, Finance Major
  3. Hayley: Junior, Psychology Major
  4. Kevin: Senior, General Studies Major
  5. Emily: Senior, Political Science Major
They were all asked ten questions on race and media:
  1. How many hours a week do you watch T.V.?
  2. How many hours a week do you consume other media forms and/or advertising? (ex: blogs, message boards, pod casts, video sharing)
  3. How many hours a week do you participate in social networking sites? (ex: Facebook, Myspace, twitter)
  4. Is there a specific group of people of color that you feel is misrepresented or underrepresented in media?
  5. What are some stereotypes of Asians in media?
  6. What are some stereotypes of African Americans in media?
  7. What are some stereotypes of White people in media?
  8. Do you notice racism in unusual places like kids movies, Disney movies or advertising?
  9. Do you think its okay for people to be racist or for networks to air racist programing if it's for "comedy" or "entertainment"?
  10. Do you feel your perception of people of color is at all influenced by what you see about them on TV or in movies?
THE INTERVIEWS:

video

RESULTS FROM INTERVIEWS:

1. How many hours a week do you watch TV?
Hank: average of 14 hrs/week
Tanya: average of 2 hrs/week
Hayley: average of 70 hrs/week
Kevin: average of 15 hrs/week
Emily: average of 30 hrs/week

A study from the University of Michigan found T.V. consumption is at an all time high citing "TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. The vast majority of this viewing (97%) is of live TV" (http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm)

2. How many hours a week do you consumer other media forms and/or advertising? (ex: blogs, message boards, pod casts, video sharing)?
Hank: average of 3 hrs/week
Tanya: average of 0-1 hrs/week
Hayley: average of 0-1 hrs/week
Kevin: average of 0-1 hrs/week
Emily: average of 0-1 hrs/week

Youtube is an example of "other media."
Ari Shaffir aka "the Amazing Racist" has been posing videos on YouTube portraying his racist views and activities. His videos often get over 5 million views and are extremely offensive, yet YouTube continues to allow these videos to be posted. Here is a link to one of his videos.

3. How many hours a week do you participate in social networking sites? (ex: Facebook, Myspace, twitter)?
Hank: average of 21 hrs/week
Tanya: average of 4 hrs/week
Hayley: average of 4 hrs/week
Kevin: average of 20-25 hrs/week
Emily: unknown (was asked but could not estimate)

Facebook groups contain racist content such as calls for the death of President Obama with racist pictures of him. Other groups like one called "Men's Rights" contains vulgar posts of racism as well as sexism and its location is Pullman, Washington.

4. Is there a specific group of people of color that you feel is misrepresented or underrepresented in media?
Hank: felt Asians were underrepresented
Tanya: felt all minority groups were underrepresented
Hayley: felt all minority groups were underrepresented
Kevin: felt Asians were underrepresented
Emily: felt Indians were underrepresented

5. What are some stereotypes of Asians in media?
Hank: smart, "brilliant"
Tanya: smart, good at math
Hayley: smart, "karate types," bad drivers
Kevin: doctors, nerds, they have "high-end jobs"
Emily: bad drivers

6. What are some stereotypes of African Americans in media?
Hank: ghetto, do drugs
Tanya: ghetto, "players," gangsters
Hayley: low-income, gangster/ghetto
Kevin: thugs, street smart
Emily: gangsters

7. What are some stereotypes of White people in media?
Hank: positive
Tanya: broad, "white-collar," positive with the exception of "hillbilly"
Hayley: always in suits, "Leave it to Beaver" types, all-American
Kevin: with the exception of the "hillbilly" are positive
Emily: successful, rich, positive

8. Do you notice racism in unusual places like Disney movies or advertising?
Hank: yes, in advertising
Tanya: yes
Hayley: yes
Kevin: no
Emily: no
The Lion King is Disney's most popular family films. Despite the popularity, many critics noted racial undertones within the film such as the three hyenas who were supposed portrayals of African Americans who were hustlers, living in the ghetto (elephant graveyard) and one with an obvious drug addiction. Here is a critique of the film. This billboard advertising for Tecate beer boasts "finally, a cold Latina."

9. Do you think its okay for people to be racist or for networks to show racist programing if it's for "comedy" or "entertainment"?
Hank: yes
Tanya: no
Hayley: yes, to a certain extent
Kevin: yes
Emily: yes, for comedy

10. Do you feel your perception of people of color is at all influenced by what you see about them on TV or in movies?
Hank: yes
Tanya: yes
Hayley: yes
Kevin: yes
Emily: no

In conclusion, all but one of the interviewees felt it was okay for people to be racist or for networks to show racist programing if it was for "comedy" or "entertainment" purposes, yet all but one recognized that their perception of people of color was influenced by what they saw about those people on TV or in movies.

Overall, media is an institution that practices policies that constitute a globalized perception of people of color that stresses the economic and social inequalities between people. These inequalities are on a global scale yet TV, films, advertisements and other media capitalize on these inequalities to reap the benefits from global consumers who have the power to reinforce the racist stereotypes attached to people of color.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Resist and Change: Alternatives to the Norm


The truth is Media is dominated by images of white privilege with little outlet for people of color to get accurate representation. Because it has become clear people are being influenced by what they see on T.V. isn't time consumers demand more from it? Isn't it time change be made to those outlets who reinforce the racial binary and promote the underrepresention of people of color in media be held accountable for the damaging stereotypes they reinforce?

A study by the University of Michigan found:
  • "TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. The vast majority of this viewing (97%) is of live TV" (http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm)


Yet despite the diverse place the United States has become, representation of such diversity is not apparent in media. This article by ABC news shows interesting paradigms on the underrepresented minority in media http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=2412723&page=1

Comedians often use "humor" to reinforce racial stereotypes. This racial stereotype reinforcement is rarely acknowledged because it is viewed as "entertainment" and "funny."
  • Dave Chappelle
  • George Lopez
  • Jay Leno
  • Conan O'brien
  • Ari Shaffir (aka "the Amazing Racist")



Ari Shaffir aka "the Amazing Racist" has been posing videos on YouTube portraying his racist views and activities. Here is an example of one of his videos:

His videos often get over 5 million views and are extremely offensive, yet YouTube continues to allow these videos to be posted.

As a woman of color, and as a consumer of television and other forms of media, I expect representation. Since its seems impossible for a television show to be made about a woman of color, going to college and being effected by messages in media, I have to look for ways to voice my concern and make others aware of the racial binary media creates and continually reinforces.

Click HERE to open the feedback tool

Friday, April 9, 2010

Resource Guide

This is a comprehensive list of helpful resources available for anyone interested in learning more about race and how media enforces the notions of racism and hinders the breakdown of the racial binary.

1. http://www.yale.edu/ypq/articles/oct99/oct99b.html
"Mass Media and Racism" by Dr. Stephen Balkaran
Essay on the history and theories of racism and key events that have been influenced by media.

2. http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/articles/diversity/stand_racism_media.cfm
"Taking a Stand Against Racism in the Media" by Carol Tator
A progressive article discussing the fundamental role media has in enforcing racial binaries. Takes an active approach and suggest ways in which un-racial media can be possible.

3. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/383480/bias_in_the_media_racism_sexism_and.html?cat=9
"Bias in the Media: Racism, Sexism and Homophobia" by Lisa Grace
An article that takes an opinionated look at the different facets of inequality in mass media. Also looks at Sexism and gay issues.

4. http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3538/
"Missing: Minorities in Media" by Laura S. Washington
An article on the absence of people of color in media. This article points to specific events, both historical and contemporary issues to disclaim the notion of a color-blind society.

5. http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/ethnics_and_minorities/index.cfm
Media Portrayals of Ethnic and Visible Minorities: Introduction by Media Awareness Network
An educational essay on the absence of minorities and unrealistic depictions of people of color in media.

6. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/insidelocalnews/behind_women.html
"Women/Minorities in Media" by PBS
A PBS network narrative on the overall absence of people of color in media. Specifically notes the absence and inaccuracy of Black women in media.

7. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-06-15-missing-minorities_x.htm
"Spotlight skips cases of missing minorities" by Mark Memmott, USA TODAY
A USA Today article on the media's selection of "missing person's" cases to broadcast.

8. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2005/08/b959321.html
"Remove the Barriers to Minorities in Media" by Mark Lloyd
An article discussing the issues on the glorification of the Black male gangster on network television.

9. http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1999/09/09-14-99tdc/09-14-99dops-column.asp
"Media images of minorities contribute to cultural problems" by the Daily Collegian Online
An article linking media's imaging of people of color to significant societal problems facing people of color.

10. http://www.marketingcharts.com/television/minorities-women-underrepresented-on-cable-news-448/
"Minorities, Women Underrepresented on Cable News" by Media Matters
Charts available showing the underrepsentation of people of color in News programs as well as women.

11. http://dailyuw.com/2001/3/2/o2.fridayconv/
"Are minorities really under represented in the media?" by Bob Larner
An article that takes a skeptical look at people of color in media. Links the "unreality" to reality television.

12. http://mmtconline.org/
Minority Media and Telecom Council website.

13. http://www.namme.org/
Nation Association of Minority Media Executives website.

14. http://www.allbusiness.com/information/internet-publishing-broadcasting/707168-1.html
"The Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television" by Dana E. Mastro
An article on the lack of people of color in prime time television. Breaks down statistics of such by racial group.

15. http://www.asianweek.com/2009/08/25/lack-of-minority-representation-in-media/
"Lack of Minority Representation in Media" by AsiaWeek.com
An article calling for a change in media.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CES 301 Concepts and Race

The recent (un)natural disaster in Haiti devastated the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and although the media attention allowed a way for the country to get help, it also became a way for public opinion to be voiced. Christian televangelist Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson was quoted as justifying the Haitian events as acts of god. Check out this YouTube clip of Mr. Robertson's own words. "

Pat Robertson's very public and very Christian driven comments on the Haitian tragedy (as well as his comments on Katrina) attached god to the disaster placing the blame on the people who suffered. All social responsibility for the conditions of Haiti were thus wiped away because god divinely punished through retribution.

Besides news stories like this, Haiti has become a way to market products. Corporations have taken to mass advertisement to promote their products coupled with the consumers being able to donate. All of these companies have chosen to advertise their product through their announcements of donations to Haiti.
  • Tide
  • Time Warner
  • The Red Cross
  • Bank of America
  • Google
  • HP
  • Target
Commodity fetishism was discussed on the first day of class and defined to mean an exchange of cash and/or credit for use of resources.
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/MODERN/FETISH.HTM
This definition relates to the concept of race in media because media revolves around the exchange of cash for the resources of those seen in media. When those in media are rarely people of color, it hinders the chances for more people of color to be portrayed in media.

After the earthquake the media did everything within it's power to show as much footage as possible. After a few days however many media outlets chose to do human interest coverage versus raw coverage many originally focused.

Adoption and celebrity involvement in Haiti became the new norm for news coverage. Check out http://www.haitiadoption.org/ to see a website focusing on Haitian adoptions after the earthquake.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Images of Oppression and Inequality

Many people would find it hard to believe that there are still instances where "Black face" and "yellow face" performances are still used for humor and advertisement but they still are.

Here, French Vogue did a spread in it's November 2009 issue using white models painted Black to sell clothing.

Dutch model Lara Stone wore black body makeup in the November 2009 issue of French Vogue magazine.

In the film "Tropic Thunder" faced controversy from people angry over its slanderous use humor when referring to people with mental illnesses but also featured Robert Downey Jr. as an Australian actor who undergoes "skin darkening" to play a Black military leader during the Vietnam war. http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0062597/bio



Robert Downey Jr. in "Black face" in the film "Tropic Thunder" which grossed $110,416,702 (US as of November 9, 2008) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0942385/business

The film "I now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry" featured a cameo from Rob Schneider who played a Canadian Asian minister who barely speaks audible English.



Rob Schneider in "yellow face" playing an Asian minister.The film grossed $119,684,970 (in the US as of October 14, 2007).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0762107/business



In every image above, the directors of this media form felt a person not of color would demonstrate a point better than an actual person of color. In the case of the white, dutch model in "Black face," the intention was to sell clothes. In the case of the film "Tropic Thunder," they felt it would be more entertaining to have a white actor play a Black actor instead of just hiring a Black actor. Equally damaging and yet perhaps less acknowledged is the use of "Yellow face" in the film "I Know Pronounce you Chuck and Larry," where the character was not only acting out exaggerated stereotypes but also reinforced the negative ideologies put upon Asian men.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

History of the Underrepresentation of People of Color in Media

When consuming mass media in either forms of advertising, film, radio etc. have you ever noticed the absence of people of color? This phenomenon has been occurring since the beginning of mass media. Films like "Ethnic Notions" (1986) by director Marlon Riggs suggests the first form of mass entertainment was in the form of Minstrel shows. Minstrel shows and other caricature entertainment is a dramatic example of the under-representation of people of color in media facets.

Although these shows aimed to imitate and dangerously mock how whites felt [all] Black people acted, usually the actors were white, males performing in "Black-face" makeup designed to exaggerate stereotypical Black "features." Only on rare occasion did Black men perform these caricatures; and when they did, they too had to wear Black-face and act out the same skits meant to mock and keep Blacks in a submissive role. Check out this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LMrdcs4ucc&feature=fvw YouTube clip demonstrating the extreme popularity and damaging effect of these Black-face performances and other Black stereotypes had.

Most minority groups have faced some sort of prejudice, bias, stereotype or under-representation in media. "Yellow-face" is another example of white, male actors dawning yellow face makeup and exaggerated stereotypical features of Asians. The film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) starring Audrey Hepburn grossed $14,000,000 and used famed [white] actor Mikey Rooney to play Mr. Yunioshi (a Japanese man) complete with yellow-face makeup, thick glasses and buckteeth.

What is further damaging about these "funny" displays is that they are purely racist masked behind the title of "entertainment." Minstrel shows, as well as the audience influenced by them are a good indicator of the influence the historical context and formation of political and social narratives had.

Contemporarily, people of color still struggle to get fair representation in media. John Stossel's article for ABC news titled, "Hollywood Stereotypes: Does What We See on the Screen Affect What we Think of People?" attempts to break down one of many layers of under-represented minorities in Hollywood. In this article, an interview with B.D. Wong of "Law and Order" states how he has only ever been cast as a doctor. Similarly Black people are cast as gangsters while Italians are mobsters, Latinos are drug-lords and people not of color are cast as leads and saviors.
Check out the full article at http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=2412723&page=2

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HERE for the grading template!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BLOG assignment ONE: Overview of Topic

The topic of my blog will be on the underrepresentation of people of color in media forums and popular culture. Through media forms such as film, television and visual news and printed news, people of color are under-represented in relation to those of non color. Although it is not new news that there are inequalities among people of color, by focusing on these forms of media I hope to show how there are immense inequalities among people of color and people not of color in ways that may be overlooked. Not only are people of color underrepresented, they are often used to reinforce the damaging stereotypes already placed on them. Furthermore I hope to examine how certain forms of media keep people of color in a submissive role and how in doing so more global inequalities are made.
This topic relates to the themes of the class “Global Inequalities,” because media is a universal influencer. Since media in the United States is focused on constructing ideologies that better first world peoples, it thus affects those who do not live in such a world, almost all of which are people of color.
I want to show how things viewed as “popular” or media can end up hindering something when it’s announced intended purpose was to be “funny” or to educate. I also wish to use my research and interest in further explaining how all of the above topics are constructed, executed and maintained almost exclusively by the privileged group.

Check out this link for an interesting article by John Stossel.
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=2412723&page=1

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