African Studies the Media Is a Dangerous Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2271 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Black Studies

African Studies

The media is a dangerous weapon for mass manipulation. If you give people information through television or newspapers there is a very high probability they will believe it and take it as truth and nothing but the truth. The media has been turning and twisting the truth about any subject. So it is not hard to imagine why African-American people are regarded only as being gangsters and rappers.

A mass manipulation weapon means shaping people's brains in any form desired. It is easy to convince the whole world that all black people are gangsters, drug dealers and of course rappers. Show only images of a black person that lives in an area that looks more like a ghetto and wearing a gun and using slang. People will already get a preconceived idea that all African-Americans are up to no good and that they live in filthy neighborhoods and that they act and think as the television exposes. They will not spend any moment reconsidering what they have been presented. They will take the information as it is, this is a rather shallow part of the American society and not only. The audience will be amazed, even reluctant, to the concept of an intellectual, well brought up, African-American who maybe has a family and lives in a decent house.

Bamboozled" directed by Spike Lee, is a bitter satire of the mass media, more precisely of the television industry which is the grand master when it comes to creating preconceived notions and patterns in people's brains. This film is focusing on a black writer which is educated and he is employed at a major network. His idea for a "Cosby Show"- esque take on the black family has been refused by the network administration. He wants to get fired, he can not quit because afterwards he will be judged. Due to this he has a brilliant idea that he thinks will get him instantly out of the network: to revive the minstrel show. The show will not star white actors with black faces but black actors in even blacker faces. Unfortunately for Pierre Delacroix (who is the main character played by Damon Wayans) the show becomes an immediate hit and all this has in the end consequences. The stars for the show are picked from the street, two homeless men Monray and Womack. The second is not so thrilled about the idea but Monray is lured immediately.

When Delacroix realizes the fame he unwillingly achieved he embraces it and continues the show. In the end, predictable as it may seem, there are corpses. Monray gets killed by the Mau Mau clan, his own fellows (also black people).

The point of this movie is that the modern depiction of blacks on television and film is not so different from the old one when blacks were presented as buffoons or inflated comedy figures. Yet there is a difference, nowadays they are described as 'urban' caricatures.

In Delacroix's show the audience is black and is represented by the Mau Mau's which is a group of ignorant black people who enjoy drinking the alcohol sold to them and can't articulate themselves better than 'yo know wat mean' and so on. The Mau Maus' masks are the representation of anger and indignation worn by rappers under the form of social feeling. They are controlled by a device that asks them to conform to a societal expectation in order to be successful in the eyes of the society. If they don't adapt they will eventually end up anonymous and get no achievement, not to themselves but in the eyes of the society that they deny.

To demonstrate the abuse of the black race the director included clips from different shows, take for example the show about Lincoln. In this show in fact the white people were the buffoons and the black their manipulators. Besides this specific show there are cartoons included and sambo toys which have not been seen for some thirty years or so. It is a struggle between race and social status and the misconceptions and stereotypes that surround them. The images of the black men dancing and acting in Delacroix's show resemblances a circus scene.

Spike Lee wants the viewer to know that he doesn't like entertainment and he thinks that the whole thing is a charade. It seems that America has embraced black culture, meaning black entertainment, black athletes, and it is the sensation that racism is slowly disappearing. Delacroix's boss honors black athletes, and he even considers himself a black person because he accepted in his life a black woman as his wife. This character is odious and insensitive. It looks like America has come to peace with its own Africans. The director made himself clear the idea that racism is no longer a problem is just pure fiction, a Hollywood trick. The gap between white and black people has never been deeper.

In order to underline the main idea of the wrong description of black people by the television, Spike Lee had to hyperbolize creating the image of this show which should open people's minds and see the real black face.

Michael Dyson, a critic and teacher on race issues, presents in his book entitled "Race Rules," a thesis which concern the outside and inside rules that alter perceptions and realities of race problems in the U.S. He demonstrates that in a society that is considered to be color blind, race is a deadly and capital issue.

From the OJ Simpson trial to the politics of gangsta rap, and from Colin Powell to Louis Farrakhen, Dyson takes on the most contentious issues of the 1990" (Dyson Michael, "Race rules: navigating the color line, (http://www.amazon.com).How does the media help solve the race problem? It seems that black people will be accepted as long as they play the white's rules. The racism might seem, when watching television, no longer a radical issue, but this is on the surface, deeper race problems are true.

There is another point emphasized which is education, people have to be educated and television has proved to be not exactly the right one to teach. What television has been capable to achieve is to raise suspicion and malice between people. The movie presents two sides, the side with educated black people (Delacroix who is Harvard -educated) and the opposite side composed by ignorant black people. The Mau Mau are ignorant: the first one says: "What are you fighting against?" The other one responds: "The U.S.A. The Kuku Kukus Klan," it is obvious that this group doesn't even know what they are fighting for. Another example of ignorance is the lollypop sucking girl who has only one desire and that is for the word 'black' to be spelled 'blak'. This group can't even express their disgust towards the Man Tan show.

There is a very powerful quote in the movie "Everybody wanna be black but nobody wanna be black." It seems that people want to dress like in the "Tommy Hillniger" commercial and they want to have that "ghetto" look, listen to hard core rap and it is true that white rappers are a real life example of this fascination. Eminem a.k.a. Marshall Mahers, is the precise example of a white man who adopted the hip hop culture. There were voices that argued saying that white men can not rap, like the one that screamed white men can not jump. Contrary to this Marshall proved to have a great success. Eminem created his own style: blonde hair, nasal voice, but did not fail to understand the black culture. He lived among them and it was inevitable that some of the black spirit will eventually capture him "Eminem's lyrics speak to the wayward descendants of Fanon's Negroes; *****z. *****z hear him and *****z understand him, even though he never calls them by that name, because he is aware of social history and the political circumstances of his pop iconography. Still, he comes as a representative of what *****z have produced in their dreams -- someone who is not them but worships them and belongs to them, and by virtue of socialization -- is one of them and worshipped by them. He confounds *****z in the schoolyard with his mastering of their language and assumption of their style. His presentation is authentic, because he has lived in their neighborhoods and listened to their music and learned their cadence -- but he does not attempt to mimic them like his misdirected forefathers -- those who came before him and poorly adapted the ideologies and style of the oppressed."

Eminem is not concerned to impress the other black rappers; he is preoccupied in obtaining confirmation from his "adoptive family." According to Carl Rux essay "the enemy is not the race, but everybody else, meaning anybody that is not 'us', and 'us' is described as aesthetically, regionally, generational, sexually, economically, socially -- not racially; we who are outsiders have strange, dark dreams we dare… [END OF PREVIEW]

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