Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US: Subtle Reinforcement by Popular Culture

By Francis Ebenezer Godwyll and Collins Annin.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper analyses how popular culture perpetuates the issue of racism and sexism in the United States.

Keywords: Racism, Sexism, Popular Culture

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.41-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.191MB).

Dr. Francis Ebenezer Godwyll

He is currently an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at Ohio University in Athens. He was a Lecturer in Education at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. He was an adjunct faculty at the University of Education at Winneba in Ghana and the National-Louis University at the Heidelberg International Campus. He served as an instructor at the Institute of Behavior Modification in Heidelberg, Germany a subsidiary of the Institute of Special Education at the University of Education at Heidelberg. He has consulted for the Ministry of Education Ghana, Ghana National Association of Teachers, SOS Village projects,Ghana. He is an author and co-author of books, book chapters, articles and presented at national and international conferences.

Collins Annin

Collins is currently pursuing his PhD in Cultural Studies in Education at the Ohio University. He holds an MA in International Affairs (Development Studies), Graduate Diploma in Sociology and B.Ed in Psychology from Ohio University, University of Ghana and University of Cape Coast respectively. Collins before his Masters degree worked with The Ark Foundation, Ghana, as an Executive Coordinator to promote rights of women and children. He now works with the Department of Residence Life as a Graduate Resident Director at the Ohio University.

Reviews:

Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US: Subtle Reinforcement by Popular Culture Review
2008/05/01
By Megan Mallett

Megan Mallett
Reflection of Journal

Society today has its ups and downs. There is a lot of controversy about television, music, and overall how the media portrays information to the public. Although television forty to fifty years ago did not include many racially different people and very little empowerment towards women, it did emphasize more of the facts and fairness we lack on the news today. The Journal in which this paper is inspired by is a bit of an eye opener to one who does not think about America’s mass media.
The large majority of television and advertising is based on sex. They say that sex sells, which it does. This also tells you a lot about the majority of people who watch, read, or stare at the screen. It is degrading to me as a female when I see certain people acting obscene on television. This only creates people believing false images of women. Not that I blame only men of this, women bring it on themselves as well, but T.V. implies all women act a certain way. This is not only unfair to women but to men as well. When women are only seen as caregivers and part-time employees it says that men only care about their work and that they are not family oriented. I know a lot of men who give everything for their families and the media is not depicting this very well.
Television can have such a big impact on adults and children that in today’s society people are acting out a television show in real life. Children especially are persuaded by what they see and at a young age will believe anything they watch. This in turn creates people of bad caliber. Television, for the most part, just implies people to look at the outside beauty, not the inside. I think this is why so many times in schools you see children being cast as outsiders. They may not look or act like the people introduced to them on the screen and the kids are automatically shunned from the crowd. I think this happens a lot in the schools because you see a lot of People of Color acting a certain way. They act as they are portrayed. I agree with the Journal when it says that African Americans are only seen as good in sports. Well, why are they seen this way? It is racism over many years that make people believe this.
I was surprised to read about how much of a lack there is on minorities in television. I personally think African American people get the most air time out of all the minorities on American television, but they certainly are not portrayed to their full potentials. On most shows they are seen typically as loud and rambunctious with anger towards White people. I know this is not how all people think, but it is tempting to believe it when that is all you see. All people who are not around a certain type of person believes what they see or hear from a source. This source being primarily from a majority output. I do not understand why people are represented in this way all the time. The Journal suggested that it is out of fear and our own ignorance to make people believe the wrong ideas. From this statement I guess I can only believe White people fear a minority will take over, and no one wants to be downsized. My question is why. Why does a certain group have to be the leaders? In this day and age we should be looking towards equality towards all men and women. It has taken us a long time from the Constitution to understand this concept. We are not there yet, but hopefully some day we will be. “They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself,” we can only do this by first changing the way we perceive people.



Perpetuation of racism and sexism in the US
2008/05/01
By Katrina Wukelich

I really enjoyed the article titled “Perpetuation of racism and sexism in the US”. I had always been aware of the media’s biased coverage of certain issues. I had not, however, put much thought into the impact that it has on people’s thinking, especially children’s. This piece provided a lengthy and adequate description of the multiple types of racism and sexism displayed in the media. The idea that popular culture contributes to racism and sexism in the United States is a terrifying notion although, since reading this article, I have viewed more and more instances where this is true. Dr. Godwyll and Mr. Collins stated that much of the population believes that they are unaffected by the media. I previously had a similar mindset. I knew that the media and popular culture influenced me in some ways but I had thought that they were minimal. I have been looking into myself and have made a shocking realization. The media greatly impacts much of the decisions that I make although I am unaware. Whether it is the clothing or groceries that I purchase or the new fancy car that I dream about, these decisions are greatly impacted by the media. Furthermore, I believe that the media has the power to subconsciously instill beliefs about certain people and cultures due to their inadequate coverage and storylines which pertain to these groups. A section in the article that really grabbed my attention was the part where the authors pointed out how the coverage in places such as Africa only shows negative images. I have seen this many times myself. Many people’s beliefs about how Africa looks, how its population behaves, and the lives that they lead is strongly misguided and inaccurate. In addition to the media coverage of places and people, the article pointed out how television, through sitcoms and so on, portray people of multiple races and men and women. As I had with the previous information, I had failed to pay attention to aspects such as these. After reading the article and the example it contained, my mind rushed with examples to reinforce this idea. The idea that African American women are usually portrayed as the strong family leader in sitcoms is accurate. Whether it be shows such as The Cosby Show (as the article mentioned), or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, this seems to hold true. While the males play authoritative roles, the women typically make final decisions. On the other hand, while watching a majority White sitcom you will find that the women typically do not work (unless part-time) and their chief responsibility is the home and the children (if any are involved). My family members are huge fans of the sitcom The King of Queens. While this show does not display these characteristics as boldly as others, some still remain. Even children’s shows such as Zoey 101 has underlying sexism. The dean of the school is always a male as well as anyone else in a position of power or authority. It was shocking, yet refreshing for me to read this exciting article. I am excited to further search for other injustices in the media and within popular culture. I am now able to filter out some of the images and make decisions on my own (as I believed I previously was). I will use this knowledge to influence my children to search for injustices as well as informing them on the inadequacies. As a future teacher, I hope to incorporate this information into my classroom. I think the idea of culture studies in schools is an excellent one. Children need to be aware of the misleading material that constantly surrounds them. I hope to have my students search for injustices in the media and challenge them to prove them wrong. Changing the media’s bias could do a great deal of good when it comes to changing the bias of our population.



Racism and Sexism Review
2008/05/06
By Megan Mallett

Rusty Winland
4-25-08
Paper on Perpetuation of Racism
and Sexism in the U.S.
The article Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the U.S. has many good points that I never thought about or realized before I read this article. It made a good point at the very beginning about how we are still talking about racism and sexism and we will keep on talking about them until all the problems associated with them are eliminated and forgotten. In order to eliminate this problem the U.S. as a whole is going to have to change the way they think today and the rest of the world also.
Culture is defined as the norms, values, and the beliefs or expressive symbols of any particular group or society. This is different from Popular Culture in the fact that popular culture deals with the culture shared by a large number of people regardless of race and sex. Popular culture deals with the daily interactions, needs and desires, and everything else that makes up the everyday culture of the dominate group. This is what makes the individuals of society who they are because they are raised to be the same as the rest of the society.
The Iceberg Concept of Culture made an interesting point but a strong one. This aspect said that we judge a particular group based on just a small amount of what we actually should. In other words we judge people by what stands out to us at first glance like we would judge the size of an iceberg in the ocean at first glance instead of actually observing what is under the water or what the person has to say and who they are. There is more to a person than what you see just like there is always more to the iceberg than what you can see.
Hegemony is the power or dominance that one group of people holds over all the others. This is not just based on economic factors. This is not something that is permanent it can be gained or lost at any given time. Hegemonic will for sure fail if the forces of social resistance and change become stronger than the perfect way that they are use to.
Racism is a system of advantage based on race. This is usually associated with anyone that is not white in the U.S. This is a serious problem for the non white people because every thing from salary to income is lower than the White people in the U.S. Racism and sexism go together because they are both against a group of people that the group can do nothing about. Sexism usually involves the men getting farther ahead and the women just getting what ever they can.



I Agree
2008/05/06
By Ryan Steen

A Review of “Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US”
It goes without saying that these issues have been heard before, but the compilation of the facts prove with overwhelming evidence that racism and sexism continue to plague the US’ society. We have all been groomed with the knowledge that the media influences our lives in insurmountable ways. What is interesting however, is the fact that the media is pulling ahead as the primary influence above that of churches, schools, and even parents. Regardless of the fact of whether there are too many media influences in our lives is neither here nor there what is important to remember and what I have garnered from this paper is the fact that people are being influenced and as the old adage goes “You are what you eat,” or in this case you are what you see and hear.
Those who would argue that racial and sexist media are in decline or exist in only small increments would only have to view what is being put forth for our viewing and listening. I am in agreement with the authors here that whilst there is more minority representation on television programming the racism and sexism persists just in more subliminal ways. I offer an observation of my own. After the years of The Cosby Show and A Different World there was a lack of people’s of color in sitcoms. This gap existed for many years and whenever this issue was brought forth people would refer back to The Cosby Show as if to say - well there was that isn’t that good enough? Even today The Cosby Show seems to stand as testament to programming for proving diversity in television, but I digress. What I really was trying to point out were the years following The Cosby Show. It seemed as if the big three networks couldn’t see any other color than white and then came the WB network. Recognizing there was a lack of shows catering to minorities the channel put many into their scheduled line-up. It soon became a joke. Whenever there was talk about the lack of black or any minorities for that matter on network television, there was always a response – there’s the WB. Some might say at least there is that, but I have another point-of-view.
I saw the WB as the perpetuation of segregation. There were the big three networks for the whites and the little side station not even available in all areas for the blacks. So indeed I agree that the media is perpetuating racism even in subliminal methods it’s quite damaging.
So does this mean we should turn away from media – turn off the televisions and radios? No says the authors of this paper and interestingly they wish for us to embrace them so much as to use them even within our educational system. By incorporating the media within our classrooms we can effectively make students aware of the inequalities. It is evident that a well informed society will be able to recognize the injustices in the representations presented in the media and if we wish to have that well informed society we must first start by educating the youths. Then as a result of a society educated they will carry over to the problem areas i.e. the media.
Over all the authors here are making a valid point to address the issues of racism and sexism. Due to the fact that the media is the primary avenue for gaining information in America and if America wishes to be equal and just then the media must be changed to reflect equality.
-Ryan Steen



Reflection of Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US response
2008/05/14
By Vanessa Miller

It is amazing to see that racism is still very much so a part of our culture today. Although we want to believe that we have completely risen about slavery days of oppression and made a complete one-eighty against sexism and racism, it sadly remains that this is not the absolute truth. As the article brought out, racism and sexism are very prominent issue in society, even in the 21st century. The influence of the media is one major topic discussed.
The media has such a large impact on society as a whole. The article states that:
“With respect to popular media culture, the central message offered by advocates of a cultural studies approach to education is that popular culture does not simply provide passive entertainment or value neutral information, but contributes significantly to how people read and understand the world. Currently, popular culture is too often socially detrimental in that images of racism, sexism, classicism, violence, and hyper-individualism are rampant” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 42).

This statement is what we see today. Children are impacted by these images just as much as adults. This should make each teacher concerned. Teacher will need to be aware of these images that exist so that each one can provide the students with positive and realistic approaches to discuss them. This can lead to a better understanding of how to pull down the walls. As educators, we must take the first steps with our children.

The impact of television is so staggering. Some of the statistics presented are mind-bending. It is no wonder that it has so much control and influence over individuals’ lives, considering the amount of television watched today. I found the statement by Willis (1990) quite funny because I could so easily relate. Willis noticed that adults watching television “are far from passive in that they shout back at the screen, make sarcastic comments about people’s hair-styles and dress sense, sing along with advertising jingles and talk about the programs among others” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 44). Personally I know that the media has a strong influence on me. I often find myself so involved in the television programs I watch. The characters seem so real. I may shout at them to “watch out,” or say “don’t do that,” or other comments. I even notice myself singing countless jingles from even the commercials that annoy me. If television has become such a major part of society, what keeps it from taking over our views and thinking abilities? The article brought out that “advertisers now tell the stories that influence our children” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 44). So, it is obvious that the media has a strong hand in the issues that reach our children.

The images and stereotypes depicted by the media are imbedded in many people’s minds. The media constantly portrays women as “young, thin, sexy…, acquiescent, provocative…, and care-givers. Men characters… tend to be shown as: knowledgeable, independent, powerful, successful, tough natural leaders and breadwinners” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 45). These sexist images are what people are exposed to every day. Children likewise in turn learn to strive for such attributes.

The toys produce for children give these same ideas. Barbie Dolls and baby dolls are for girls and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Tonka trucks are for boys. These ideas are portrayed and children learn them quickly. They believe these ideas and try to “maintain” them. They know that “real boys do not play with Barbie, unless it is to deface it” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 46). I know a lot of individuals that agree with this thinking. They believe that if their sons play with dolls, they will be wimps, sissies, or turn gay. I personally do not agree with these stereotypes, because toys can be enjoyed by either sex. I think that girls can play with truck and boys can play with dolls. It could teach the child to be more sensitive. By showing him how to hold, touch, and play with a baby, a little boy could foster ideas of how to be a good father and husband in the future. Why teach him to throw and hit dolls, when you can teach him to be kind and love them? Those teaching can cause more harm for their future too. The boy could think that it is okay to hit a woman or child because he is a strong boy and that is what they do. Therefore, even those stereotypes can have a detrimental effect on children and their futures.

The perceptions about race in the media are deceptive as well. The media usually depicts Blacks as being “good in sports.” Also it is shown that “in historical documents and movies in America, Blacks are depicted as: lazy, happy servants, ugly, inferior.” It is interesting that “when Africa is depicted in the US, media 7 out of 10 times you can be sure the depiction will be war…, poverty, starvation, remote and under developed settlements, the wild and sometimes outmoded customs of a sect is depicted as the general way of life of an entire continent” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 45). White individuals, however, are shown as “powerful, good in: leadership, business, politics, enthusiastic about their job, innovative and industrious” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 45). The article also gave the disturbing report that “less than 10% of human appearance time [on television] includes any non-Whites, and most of these are African Americans, leaving Latinos and Asian Americans almost invisible” (Godwyll, & Annin, 2007, pg 46). These misrepresentations and biases are influencing the understanding and acceptance of racism and sexism.

There are so many issues of importance that need to be discussed. But, time is the key. Every problem will not be instantly solved by man, but steps can be taken. Teachers will need awareness and understanding about the issues that exist today. By gaining this familiarity, they can empower the students with accurate knowledge. Then the battle against racism and sexism can begin. The positive aspects of media cannot be dismissed, because pleasure and good things do come form it. However, it is important to remember that racism and sexism are issues that influence everyone today. It really is there.



References
Godwyll, F., & Annin C. (2007). Perpetuation of racism and sexism in the US. The
international journal of diversity in organizations, communities & nations. 6 (4), 41-49.



Reflection on Article - Janet Hughes
2008/05/14
By Janet Hughes

Janet Hughes
EDCS 301
Prof. Francis Godwyll
Article Reflection
Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US

The media plays a large part in the shaping of popular culture. “In short, popular culture is a crucial force that helps to mold individuals and their perspectives of the world” (42). Media in the home it has a large influence on how people view each other. Media influences how we view cultures outside our own and the female gender. The media influences what we buy, where we eat and how we view ourselves. People in the United States have the keeping up with the Joneses mindset. Whatever our neighbor has, we must get the same thing bigger and better. We see what celebrities have and think if it is good enough for them then I must have it also. The media takes advantage of this by showing directing their commercials to those in the middle class showing characters of the upper class enjoying a luxury car and then adding a catchy slogan stating that you too can enjoy the good life.
The media affects the body image of most especially women. Anorexic thin models are shown in a bikini surrounded by men. Even though most women know that model has been photoshopped we still want that body for ourselves and will go to any lengths to achieve that look. The advertisers also objectify women, they will give female attributes to an inanimate object such as a car and the voice over directed at men will tell them they can enjoy the feeling of slipping behind the wheel and mastering the car through any road course. Further promoting the dominance of man over women.
What I remember as a child of Blacks on television was of Diahann Carroll in Julia. The main character Julia was a widowed woman with a child, which a stereotypical view of black women. Television portrays black women as dominant in the family structure. The father, if he is present, is shown as weak, loud and boisterous or as a buffoon. Redd Fox in Sanford and Son a comedy about a father and son. The father, Fred Sanford, was loud and a buffoon. They were owners of a junk yard. On the one side, it did show a black family owning a business, however it was not a glamorous business and many episodes showed them struggling to make a living. Their house looked as if it was decorated out of the junkyard. I think this further perpetuates the media’s view of people of color as trash or keepers of trash.
Another show I remember watching was The Jeffersons, the main characters George and Louise Jefferson had succeeded with a chain of dry cleaners and “moved to a big apartment in the sky”. They left the neighborhood into predominately-white apartment building. One researcher in the book referred to black who thought a sign of success was moving into a white neighborhood. The character of George Jefferson was of a loud obnoxious, extremely cocky man. He reminded me of a Banny rooster. This is the first show that I remember where the husband and wife were together. Most of the television shows that I remember with black characters the woman was alone raising her children. They were alone for one reason or another. The mothers were struggling, barely making ends meet and the children were raising themselves. The shows, Good Times and What’s Happening followed the same stereotypical patterns.
Though you criticize the Cosby Show for not raising cultural issues for once I saw a successful father and mother who happened to be of color. I saw that they had the same family issues as my family. Brothers and sisters arguing, children breaking rules and parents talking to their kids instead of the yelling seen on previous shows with black characters, they talked and discussed with their kids family issues. It was the first time I saw black art hanging on a wall in a home (even thought it was a television set).



Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
2008/10/16
By Anthony Reasbeck

Anthony Reasbeck
EDCS 301
Reflection: Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
Dr. Godwyll

Until I read this article, I never gave much thought to the effect pop culture, specifically television programming and advertising, have on people’s attitudes concerning race and sex.
Most television advertisements portray women in domestic roles. We see women mopping floors to a shine, using the Swiffer duster, carpooling children. Men on the other hand are running through airports to meet deadlines, using the most modern technology, and driving sports cars. Advertising is definitely “gender specific” and people are influenced without consciously being aware. You never see a guy mopping the floor. That’s an unfair perception because there are so many successful working women in this country who probably never touch a mop. They have to be offended, whether they are a successful Black woman or a successful White woman.
When people react to television programming, they are reacting to their interpretation of the action and the characters. It is true that minorities are seen less on television and on film than Whites, but it seems as if their roles and the perceptions of minorities are changing. For example, three Grey’s Anatomy doctors are Black, one being a world class cardio-vascular surgeon. Law and Order has Black detectives and crime specialists. Years ago, The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire showed an affluent Black family with a successful father and mother and Harvard educated son. Will Smith is still a highly successful Black actor, showing young people that Blacks can portray success. There aren’t a lot of Black characters, but their roles are improving.
One area of the pop culture where Blacks have dominated has been the world of sports and music. As the article said, the common perception is that Blacks excel in sports. Just watch any professional football game or basketball game. The Black athletes dominate. The difference is if a Black quarterback makes a mistake, he is perceived as “dumb”. If a White quarterback makes a mistake, he just made a mistake. In music, Blacks reign supreme. They dominate the industry, receiving every televised music award. These accolades in music and in sports do not change the basic perception that some Whites have in regards to race. As the articles explained, the movie industry and the television industry too often portray Blacks as having no ambition, having no wealth, having no looks, having no brains, and in short, being second class citizens.
Women fare even worse in the media. As the article says, women are mostly portrayed as beautiful sex objects. In sit coms, they are mostly mothers, or half-brained, or incompetent. In some instances, women are portrayed as doctors, or investigators or lawyers, but somewhere in the script their sexuality and their fragile nature become an issue.
No where has the role of the media become more apparent than in the current presidential race. Obama’s affiliation with the controversial Reverend Wright became a huge issue. Television screens were full of shouting, liberal rhetoric, portraying the Blacks as radical and unpatriotic in an attempt to make these traits universal. Just because Obama is Black, the media, consciously or not, associated this behavior with him and influenced White America to do the same.
Hillary Clinton’s gender was an issue throughout the media, and the media had a blatant bias against her. She even described the “glass ceiling with 18 million cracks”. No male candidate had to overcome a glass ceiling. The media did not portray her as a presidential candidate, but made an issue of her being a female presidential candidate, and made the American public well aware of it as well.
As the article states, school curriculums have to change to eliminate the biases and stereotypes based on race and gender that pop culture, specifically the media and advertising, and even consumer goods such as toys, create in the minds of children.
I liked the suggestions in the article to have students create their own productions with unbiased scripts and have students examine their own perceptions of race and gender in our society. Also the suggestion for students to look closely at television shows, movies, consumer goods and determine their message could be a useful tool. This activity would make students aware of possible bias and allow them to assess their own ideas and pre -conceptions and possibly this will serve as an agent for change.
As part of a child’s education, schools have the responsibility of educating students on the effect pop culture has on personal opinion and beliefs and to educate children in critical thinking skills to sort through and make wise, fair, decisions about all groups of people who co-exist in the world. Hopefully, students will arrive at the conclusion that “all men (and women) are created equal”, with equal opportunity for all.



Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
2008/10/17
By Pamela DellaMaggiore

Talk about an eye opener! As a female I know this is probably bad to say but I had not put much thought into the way pop culture affects attitudes towards race and sex. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age we still have to deal with issues regarding racism and sexism. By simply turning on the T.V., flipping through a magazine, or listening to the radio, I now have realized the message that I am supposed to have been receiving. Take T.V. for instance, how many commercials or shows feature a woman who is cleaning, caring for her children, or waiting hand and foot on her husband. The woman normally has fewer spoken words then the man does and she will be more provocatively dressed. Unless of course we are talking about a black woman in that case she is shown as sexually available! Women regardless of color are shown with a non typical body type, thin. Now, think about your radio station, have you ever heard a D.J.’s voice coming through the speakers who spoke with an accent, or did not sound white.

It is no wonder people think and act the way they do it is stamped into their brains at a very young age. Thinking as a child I did not play with my brothers Ninja Turtles or Hot Wheels nor did he play with my Barbies. The only time he was interested in my Easy Bake Oven is when he was hungry. And while I am on this toys tangent I might as well say that it took one of my friends bring her dolls over to play for me to realize that her Barbie looked like her and not like me. They wore the same clothes, drove the same Jeep, and lived in the same house but their skin color was different. As with all people today! I wish we could see what we are doing to children that we are not even realizing.

If we want people’s perceptions to change we are going to have to change what the media is presenting. And if we can not change the message that the media is presenting then we are simply going to have to teach around it. The article discusses changes that a teacher can do to change the classroom setting. I loved the idea of students rewriting productions that have stereotypical images. Making students aware of the sexist and racist actions that are being displayed in all forms of media will open their eyes and see what is still happening. Children today are the future of tomorrow, if we are able to help children see what is happening now it is only going to help the future.

I am saddened to think that children, even at very early ages, are aware that their blackness makes them different form most kids their age. I am sounding redundant by saying this because it has needed to change for many, many years, but something needs to change,. Hopefully my children will not have to say the same thing.



Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
2008/10/18
By Nick Hansel

Nick Hansel
EDCS 301
Dr. Francis Godwyll
10/17/08
Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
After reading this article, I thought to myself of how well it was written and how much of a deal racism and sexism still is today. After reading it, I also realized how much of an impact society really has on people especially on women. I also noticed after reading the article that women are tortured most by the media.
As soon as you flip on the television you immediately see a commercial for cleaning products. And what do you know, as soon as they show a human being in the commercial it has to be a woman. Time and time again, every commercial that has to deal with children also has a woman in it. Take for instance a Neosporin commercial. When the child on the commercial gets hurt, it is automatically a woman fixing the child’s wound. I personally find it degrading to men because the commercials are implying that men are always working and women are always taking care of the home and children.
Women are also tortured by the media in many different ways. One way is on MTV where young women and sometimes even teenagers are portrayed to be (lack of a better word) “sluts”. If a young child happens to watch this certain program, the child will think that this is the normal thing to do. Just as the article says “Over 98% of households in America have at least one television set.” Since this fact is so prevalent, it is bound to happen that a poor innocent child will slip into this.
Women also always have to feel better about themselves because of the Media. Women see 100 pound famous celebrities and feel like they have to be like that. Its unfortunate but, some women even develop severe depression and/or eating disorders because of this.
Since the article is also about Racism, I will get off of my soapbox and discuss that. It seems to me that on television, such as the show Cops, the criminals are always African Americans. Even many of the family sitcoms that are on television are almost all white families. But this is not true! There are many great shows that have African American families as the starts. As the article pointed out, take for instance The Cosby Show, this is one of the greatest television shows of all times and guess what, they are African Americans. To me, and it is stated in the article many times that whites feel superior to blacks. There are also many more great television shows that have African Americans as great actors.
Although, the media has found another way to shine and that is with the current presidential election. Just watching the debate the other night, NBC had a broadcast where Ann Curray interviewed a panel of undecided voters. One of the questions was as the following: “How many of you know people that will not vote for Barack Obama because of his race?” When I heard this I was outraged! As the article states again and again race should not matter.
All in all, this article was a great representation and explanation of racism and sexism in the United States. Before reading this article, I didn’t have a clue that racism and sexism was still this prevalent in the United States. Although, after reading this article I felt like it “opened my eyes” and I could see where the authors were coming from. This article was great in providing many resources that they used, and also many facts to greatly support their stands. Great Article!



Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
2008/10/18
By Penelope Wallace

The article Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US was very interesting and gave me new things to consider. I have never given the term popular culture much thought. In reading this article I have a better understanding of the term and its effects on society. Reading that our government, education, media, and economic production are all influenced by popular culture was eye-opening for me.
The impact of media is not new. As the article states over 98 % of households in America have a least one television set. Americans are watching more TV now than ever and advertisers are well aware of it. It wasn't long ago that Americans were pointing out that some advertisements on TV had subliminal messages. It was interesting in the article to read that in all forms of advertising people consciously feel they are ignoring them, but the subconscious mind is completely tuned in.
As I read about the studies of adults being far from passive when watching TV, I had to chuckle. Even when watching football I am a very active participant. This study then mentioned that if people actively interact with images and programs on TV, that we need to take seriously the stereotypical images that are depicted about women and minority groups and we should take media seriously when there are misrepresentation or under representation of a group of people. This was a great way to conclude the study. I agree that TV does misrepresent social issues and serves the dominant ideologies and economic interest. The dangers that the media can have on influencing an adult are many and children are more impressionable.
The prejudices, blatant and subtle, occurring in the media is something that until reading the article, not much thought was given. How whites are portrayed and how blacks are portrayed is completely different. Whites are viewed in a more positive way, and blacks in a negative distorted way. The use of the Cosby show was a great example of Black entertainment. The article however neglected to mention how many years the Cosby show was number one in ratings, with black and white viewers alike. The show may have ignored most important social problems and paid little attention to racial issues, but it did portray a black American family in a positive light and on Thursday nights many families across America wished their families were like the Cosby's.
Television does under represent many nonwhites. There are not a lot of programs or commercials where nonwhites are represented. The majority of commercials where blacks are portrayed, they are portrayed by sports figures. There are not many networks that carry a mixture of black and white programming. Separate networks have been set up to carry only non-white programs.
The gender difference in the media was very interesting. Programming and advertising that target either boys or girls with specific products affect the child's way of thinking as well as the parents. There are not many fathers who approve of their sons playing with a Barbie doll.
After reading the article, I agreed with the statement “Knowing that racism and sexism are socially constructed and that popular culture provides the vehicle for their reinforcement, there is the need to work towards deconstruction of sexism and racism in popular culture.” The suggestions of how to deconstruct racism and sexism in popular culture, through the use of cultural studies and creating awareness inside and outside the classroom, were well laid out.



Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
2008/10/18
By Penelope Wallace

The article Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US was very interesting and gave me new things to consider. I have never given the term popular culture much thought. In reading this article I have a better understanding of the term and its effects on society. Reading that our government, education, media, and economic production are all influenced by popular culture was eye-opening for me.
The impact of media is not new. As the article states over 98 % of households in America have a least one television set. Americans are watching more TV now than ever and advertisers are well aware of it. It wasn't long ago that Americans were pointing out that some advertisements on TV had subliminal messages. It was interesting in the article to read that in all forms of advertising people consciously feel they are ignoring them, but the subconscious mind is completely tuned in.
As I read about the studies of adults being far from passive when watching TV, I had to chuckle. Even when watching football I am a very active participant. This study then mentioned that if people actively interact with images and programs on TV, that we need to take seriously the stereotypical images that are depicted about women and minority groups and we should take media seriously when there are misrepresentation or under representation of a group of people. This was a great way to conclude the study. I agree that TV does misrepresent social issues and serves the dominant ideologies and economic interest. The dangers that the media can have on influencing an adult are many and children are more impressionable.
The prejudices, blatant and subtle, occurring in the media is something that until reading the article, not much thought was given. How whites are portrayed and how blacks are portrayed is completely different. Whites are viewed in a more positive way, and blacks in a negative distorted way. The use of the Cosby show was a great example of Black entertainment. The article however neglected to mention how many years the Cosby show was number one in ratings, with black and white viewers alike. The show may have ignored most important social problems and paid little attention to racial issues, but it did portray a black American family in a positive light and on Thursday nights many families across America wished their families were like the Cosby's.
Television does under represent many nonwhites. There are not a lot of programs or commercials where nonwhites are represented. The majority of commercials where blacks are portrayed, they are portrayed by sports figures. There are not many networks that carry a mixture of black and white programming. Separate networks have been set up to carry only non-white programs.
The gender difference in the media was very interesting. Programming and advertising that target either boys or girls with specific products affect the child's way of thinking as well as the parents. There are not many fathers who approve of their sons playing with a Barbie doll.
After reading the article, I agreed with the statement “Knowing that racism and sexism are socially constructed and that popular culture provides the vehicle for their reinforcement, there is the need to work towards deconstruction of sexism and racism in popular culture.” The suggestions of how to deconstruct racism and sexism in popular culture, through the use of cultural studies and creating awareness inside and outside the classroom, were well laid out.



Reflection on Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US
2008/10/18
By Staci McKee

Staci McKee
EDCS 301
Reflection paper

As a parent of two boys, I have to admit that I was severely unprepared to raise girls in this society. When my doctor told me on two seperate occasions that we were carrying a girl I was terrified. It had been hard enough to keep certain influences such as violence away from my boys. How was I going to keep my girls out of the grasps of the media and popular culture that makes it acceptable for 6 year old girls to dress like Brittney Spears? I was right to be scared and I still am, but it is a battle for my kids that I continue to fight each and every day, and I know that I am not alone.

This article brings to light the amount of freedom we place in the entertainment industry. A an example I look back at film over th elast 20 years. I wonder if society catches on that movie 'bad-guys' are reflective of whatever nationality this country fears at the time. To look back at the movies from the 80's and 90's we see villain's from Russia and Eastern Europe. We can see this in such blockbuster's as Die Hard, and the Indiana Jones films. In the earlier films of course, Indie was fighting the German's. This is of course reflective of the Cold War era, and the inner most feelings of mainstream society. At some point in the 90's and continuing into the 21st century our villains have transformed in to the Middle Eastern face of terrorism. This has of course been even more concentrated since the incidents on 9/11. How can we expect American's to not fear each and every person of Middle Eastern descent when we allow Hollywood to monopolize on this blatent racism? The answer is that we cannot. We have to change what is acceptable to society.

I find the concept of Hegemony very interesting and a scary fact. Much of our mainstream media is owned by mogals such as Ted Turner. What American's see, or read is often reflective of what these mogals believe and hold dear. I think that they use their power to alienate those who they want to remain oppressed. I reflect back to when the country group the Dixie Chicks were involved in making negative comments about President George W. Bush. I was surprised by the backlash. I was even more surprised when in th ematter of two weeks, they became initially black-listed. At least two local radio stations released announcements that they would no longer play their music, and never would again. Of course they went along to win a Grammy for album of the year even without radio play last year. I was furious. Not because I listened to their music, but because they were being censured not by the American public, but by the mainstream media. It is no wonder that people cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy. It is as though our brains are scrambled to not be able to tell the difference.

It is scary when we look closely at how influential the media really is, and the even scarier fact is that our children are their primary targets. As educators we have to be able to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate media for the classroom. I agree that teachers should integrate media in the classroom as well as how to correctly read it and how to be objective. In addition we should be able to teach our students not only how to be objective and critical in their thinking, but also to be respectful of themselves.



Article Review
2009/06/27
By Milea Maxwell

Dr. Godwyll and Collins Annin bring up many good points about racism and sexism in the United States’ popular culture, especially in the media. It is true that many of the popular programs on television poke fun at gender roles and racial issues, which actually reinforces stereotypes of different groups of people. They mentioned that the average person spends three hundred twenty-four hours per year watching television commercials (Godwyll, p. 6). This is an exorbitant amount of time where advertising companies directly influence people’s stereotypes and schemas of the world. The other amount of time given to the producers of the actual shows is additionally alarming. This is especially too much airtime given to a few people, and therefore, they can promote stereotypes and over-influence society as a whole. Those few people have the advantage of promoting whatever messages they want without considering the feelings of the general public, especially people of minority cultures.
If we consider the iceberg theory of culture, we realize how much we do not see from an outward image of a person. Pop culture is mainly based on the outward characteristics of a culture, proving that, “the elements portrayed in pop culture which shapes our perception of any given group is only a tip of the iceberg, (Godwyll, p. 4). We have to look past the external images known as the surface culture to really understand someone. “Perceptions formed based on this [surface culture] would be incomplete and if we based our attitude towards a group of people on this fraction of knowledge about who they are we would almost certainly err,” (Godwyll, p. 4). It is scary to me that many young people today are unfamiliar with different cultures and rely solely on television and other media to explain what other cultures are like. Children watch many hours of television, and even if they do have other non-racist and non-sexist messages exposed to them by there parents and other people, it is hard for them not to pick up on the racist and sexist views presented in the media.
One version of racism is in the form of neglect. Whether intentional or unintentional, people of minority cultures are often not represented in United States media. “In both television programming and commercials, studies show that less than 10% of human appearance time includes any non-Whites, and most of these are African Americans, leaving Latinos and Asian Americans almost invisible,” (Godwyll, p. 8). The mere 10% of airtime given to non-Whites is often full of negative situations or stereotyping. Since I am a member of the White culture, I cannot be certain, but I would be willing to bet that non-White people would often be frustrated with listening to media that doesn’t relate to their culture.
I like the suggestions that the authors give about what can be done in today’s classrooms concerning racism and sexism in the media. I do not think that we should keep pop culture media out of the classroom, but rather use it as a tool in teaching about society’s problems. There are many ways to expose students to the hidden agendas of television, radio, video games, and other forms of media. Students should be given the time and opportunity to dive into the issues concerning our nation and then act upon them. Having student-led video productions, newspapers, etc. are a great way for students to gain experience with media. Teachers or facilitators of those types of projects can lead conversations around what is appropriate and inappropriate for certain publications.



Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism
2009/07/07
By Micah B. Freeman

Perpetuation of Racism and Sexism in the US: Subtle Reinforcement by Popular Culture
F. E. Godwyll and C. Annin
A Review of the Article by Micah B. Freeman, July 6, 2009

This article provides an in-depth analysis of how popular culture is perpetuating racism and sexism in the United States. The authors, Godwyll and Annin, begin by defining popular culture, then explain how the popular culture is used and maintained to keep the status quo. They examine the hegemony displayed by the mass media, the impact that media has on people in terms of perpetuating racism and sexism by how race and gender are portrayed, and then provide some suggestions for combating the negative effects of popular culture and media on Americans.
The article begins by explaining popular culture and how this popular culture is portrayed in the media. They present the “Iceberg Concept of Culture”, explaining that most of what makes a culture is not on the visible surface, and hidden “beneath” to the casual observer. When stereotypes of gender or race are used in media programming and commercials, these stereotypes are then shallow representations of what is a deep and rich reality. These stereotypes then have the effect of perpetuating the stereotypes, in a hegemonial way. Godwyll and Annin posit that the media’s programming and commercials affect everyone, giving multiple examples and research as proof. This is undoubtedly true, unless one is a social hermit, does not buy merchandise, and never sees advertising. The best one can do to counteract such manipulation is gain some awareness of what is going on. Too many people believe that advertising and programming do not affect them. They are unwilling to critically examine the manipulation of them by the mass media, and by extension popular culture. The authors provide a startling example of the pervasiveness of advertising effects when they point to a Georgian High School student who was suspended when he refused to wear a Coke shirt on Coke day at the school. He wore a Pepsi shirt. This is a humorous, and what should have been an innocent protest of commercialization, ended in the student being suspended. Instead of some light-hearted humor, the school over-reacted and demonstrated how deep the hold of mass media upon us is.
Godwyll and Annin also examine the statistical representation of race and gender in mass media. They examine media portrayals of women as homemakers and pretty. Men are breadwinners and sturdy. The stereotypes of African Americans are also shown: Black males as silly, unruly and overly masculine, Black females as exotic and inconsequential. Other stereotypes are also shown. They discuss the advantages in the United States of being White, such as life expectancy and salary. They tie in the concept of sexism to racism, noting that in order to solve one issue the other must be addressed. They link gender and race effectively, showing that racist mindsets are almost identical to sexist ones. By demonstrating the effects of popular culture and the mass media on us, the authors effectively set the stage for needed action.
Godwyll and Annin provide some useful methods for deconstructing the racism and sexism that popular culture perpetuates. Starting with education, they suggest adding critical media studies to the curriculum of K-12 programs. Incorporating cultural studies is also needed to combat the negative stereotypes that the mass media portray. Eliminating the ignorance of different cultures, helping everyone get to know the “total iceberg”, not just what is on the surface. Media Literacy classes can be used to empower students to create their own programming that is race and gender neutral, providing them with a contrast of what is produced by the mass media. The benefits of these efforts can go a long way toward the beginning of eliminating racism and sexism in the U.S. The more educated our consumers are to the manipulation efforts, the more likely they are to purchase products that are not racist or sexist. The same goes for entertainment. If no one watches racist and sexist programming, other programming will take its place. As Godwyll and Annin point out, education is the key.



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