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Racial stereotypes refer to the specific qualities and ideas normally assigned to particular race which leads to discrimination with diversity being ignored. Existence of stereotypes has brought about racial categorization. This is a reflection of the way of placing individuals into distinct groups on the basis of variation in phenotypic physical features of body and face such as hair color, eye shape, texture, lip fullness, and nose width. Discrimination, racial stereotyping, and prejudice depict the erroneous human tendencies of conceptualization and value given to certain phenotypic configurations differently and proceed to act on those feelings in daily interactions with the members of a certain racial category. Occasionally, many people, more so students of prejudice, can manage to conscript from memory vivid forms of racial bias as well as the consequences. Therefore, there exist a number of racial stereotypes in the contemporary American traced from earlier days and this essay is focused giving an in-discussion of notable racial stereotypes.
Indisputably, racial stereotypes have been found to impact people differently. One of the positive impacts noted is making such people strive harder towards fulfilling a positive feature associated with their race that which they tend to feel more entitled to own. It also negatively impact individuals by having a tendency of setting goals that just set them up for total failure or putting an a lot of negative expectations
Mummy is a term that falls in category of stereotypes in America. This features heavy frame, dark skin and large bust and general matronly appearance, fully complemented with an apron around the waist and a kerchief wrapped on the head. The woman is dressed in gaudy clothing and is overweight as well as spiritual, genial and churchgoing. Also described to be complaint when a white authority shows up as depicted in the Mammy characters as portrayed in Margaret Mitchell and Aunt Jemima’s Gone with the Wnd’s thus forming standards of such archetype. Mummy is variant of mother normally used in many instances by black people residing in the South at the time of slavery and even after. Most white people employed the use of this term in reference of black female servants, caregivers and slaves who engaged in caring for white children and the slaveholder’s household. Occasionally, white people used the term sentimentally by most black Americans regarded it as patronizing insult on them. In the contemporary America, application of the word mammy is used for black women seen to be pejorative.
The media employ the use of stereotypes as a shorthand method for character definition in ways that enhance easier identification and categorization. Nevertheless, the bottom-line is that they all reduce to become single-sided, exaggerated and superficial in depicting depth, real variety and complexity of a people. Negative stereotypes are known to be prejudicial judgments that allot negative qualities to other races. It all oozes out of ethnocentric view of the world in which a person’s own race is the center of everything while other races enter rating in reference to it. Media try to play safe by using repetition in normalizing stereotypes since repeating them perpetuates and validates them. Due to the fact that racial stereotypes have a “kennel of truth,” people widely accept them as truth. However, it all turns out wrong to apply specific tendencies noted in a particular race to apply to every member of that race. That is because racial stereotypes generalize people within a race, putting more emphasis on sameness and disregarding individual variety.
The Media have and will continue with their bad practice of portraying self-serving negative racial stereotypes especially African-American community. In fact, the economic and societal factors of racial stereotyping have emerged to be beyond biasness. This owes to the fact that it is a profitable industry whereby the elite intend to supppress the lower class with the purpose of maximizing profit gains. Harvard professor Cornell West said, 1% of the elite holds 48% of the total American wealth. It translates to the fact that media and racial stereotyping will still have a place so that those elites can continue their economic stability.
Racial representation in sports, media, and politics is unequal in the US. Actually, whites form the majority in all areas. Due to this kind of disparity, media is known to divide stereotyped young African-American ales as drug dealers or gangsters. Focus on the negative aspects of blacks has been noticed due to the large number of whites in media. In politics, it has come to light that African-Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in Senate because of their greater presence states that are highly populated as compared to lowly populated states. In sports, the disparity is not as big as earlier in the country.
There are many non-white role models young people can follow. President Obama is the one man whose leadership and oratory skills remain admirable. To young people, he symbolizes dream coming true and the possibility to overcome racism in pursuit of a dream. This also applies to the world of entertainment. Some of the most famous musicians in the US are African-Americans. They include the late king of pop Michael Jackson whose music was loved by all races and who shared platform with people of all races. Others whose music is loved by people across races are Rihhana, Beyonce, and the late R. Kelly.
In conclusion, the future of race relations in America is bright. With the increased campaigns and close watch against racism, relations would thrive. Besides, with the field of entertainment covering people from all races, racial relation would be fostered especially during concerts, movies, shows, and more gatherings that bring people together. The use of stereotypes in America today is not much thus giving hope of the end of racial stereotyping.
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