[Fwd: The Black Image in the White Mind]
cbcox at SPAMilstu.edu
Fri May 12 11:21:22 MDT 2000
The various figures given in the following post can be
interpreted in various ways, but I think this and similar
studies should be incorporated into marxist analysis of
the proper political respnse(s) to the white-supremacist
structure of u.s. politics.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: The Black Image in the White Mind
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 12:34:08 -0400
From: kelley <kwalker2 at gte.net>
Reply-To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
To: pulp-culture at Infothecary.ORG,
teachsoc at vance.irss.unc.edu,lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
To introduce their new book The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and
Race in America, Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki present some of the
statistical evidence of how the mass media treat racial differences.
You may also visit their companion website at www.raceandmedia.com.
"All of us are shaped by popular culture, but few of us understand how,
especially when it comes to our society's understanding of race and race
relations. Robert Entman and Andrew Rojecki examine television shows,
movies, news, and commercials to reveal how the media both reflect and
shape our perceptions of race. Their book is accessible and compelling,
their observations startling."Henry Louis Gates Jr.
"This book has the potential to be the most important book on race in
America in the past three decades. It is the first thing I have read on
race in many years that strikes me both as finally 'getting it right'
as providing a view of race in America that, if broadly understood,
actually hold some promise of doing good."David Sears
The Entman-Rojecki Index of Race and the Media
by Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki,
authors of The Black Image in the White Mind
1. While Black actors are now more numerous in film, it's an open
as to how well they're being represented. In the top movies of 1996:
Black female movie characters shown using vulgar profanity: 89%.
White female movie characters shown using vulgar profanity: 17%.
Black female movie characters shown being physically violent: 56%.
White female movie characters shown being physically violent: 11%.
Black female movie characters shown being restrained: 55%.
White female movie characters shown being restrained: 6%.
2. Television ads now show many Blacks and eschew stereotypes. However,
hidden patterns of differentiation and distance emerge on close
Not surprisingly, for instance, Blacks do not touch Whites in the ads,
(unlike Whites) they rarely even touch each other, conveying a subtle
message of Black skin as taboo. A hierarchy of racial preference is
embedded within the casting of commercials. Consider these figures from
large prime time sample:
Of the 105 commercials for autos or trucks that showed only one race,
percentage all-White: 100%.
Of the 74 commercials for perfumes that showed only one race, the
percentage all-White: 98%.
Of the 47 commercials for jewelry or cosmetics that showed only one
the percentage all-White: 100%.
3. Over 70% of Black characters in the most highly rated TV
shows have professional or management positions. However
this utopian reversal imposes a formal distance between Black and White
actors, hobbling the audience's sympathetic imagination. Blacks'
supervisory roles isolate their characters from close peer
Among these actors, 92% of interactions with Whites are restricted to
4. Network news tends to "ghettoize" Blacks. Increasingly, African
Americans appear mostly in crime, sports and entertainment stories.
are Blacks shown making an important contribution to the serious
of the nation. Sampling network news shows:
Number of soundbites on foreign affairs uttered by Whites: 99; by
Number of soundbites on economics uttered by Whites: 86; by Blacks: 1.
Number of soundbites on electoral politics uttered by Whites: 79; by
Number of soundbites on sports and entertainment uttered by Whites: 35;
Number of soundbites on crime uttered by Whites: 149; by Blacks: 24.
5. Black defendants are simply treated differently on local TV news
their White counterparts:
Times more likely that a mug shot of the accused will appear in a local
news report when the defendant is Black rather than White: 4.
Times more likely that the accused will be shown physically restrained
local TV news report when the defendant is Black rather than White: 2.
Times less likely that the name of the accused will be shown on screen
local TV news report when the defendant is Black rather than White: 2
6. "Telegenic" figures aren't always the most representative leaders.
statistics from 1994:
Black adults stating that Jesse Jackson represents Black people "very
Black adults stating that Louis Farrakhan represents Black people "very
Black adults stating they had "never heard of" Jesse Jackson: 0%.
Black adults stating they had "never heard of" Louis Farrakhan: 22%.
Stories about, or soundbites from, Jesse Jackson on ABC World News: 13.
Stories about, or soundbites from, Louis Farrakhan on ABC World News:
7. The media sowed discord during the affirmative action debate of the
1990s despite the considerable common ground between Blacks and Whites.
Reporters often predicted affirmative action would be one of the key
in the 1996 election because of the "rage" among Whites.
Percentage of survey respondents naming affirmative action as their top
priority in voting against a presidential candidate, 1996: 1%.
Percentage of White men ("angry" or not) surveyed who favored
action programs as is or with reforms: 61%.
Percentage of White women surveyed who favored affirmative action
as is or with reforms: 76%.
Percentage of White "persons on the street" supporting affirmative
in a sample of network news: 12.5%. Percentage opposing: 87.5%.
More information about the Marxism