We all seem to be equal in society for the most part. What very few people may know is that there are still hidden messages of racism, especially in the media. In commercials, cartoons, and the news, African American males are displayed as short-tempered, violent, and athletic.
Cartoons play a big role in shaping children’s identities, and millions of young children watch these shows everyday. For example, in the “Lion King”, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are three hyenas working for Scar. All three of them have somewhat of a southern, high-pitched African American accent. The trio is always trying to mess things up and fail at it. They have a very distinct laugh and can be very reckless at times. All these factors point to the stereotypical African American, which is narrow-minded, violent, and slur speeched. Growing up, I have always been a fan of cartoons. Now, every time I think of a villain, there’s always a high-pitched, slang male voice that plays in the role. All these “secrets” have tainted the minds of many children. As a kid, you take in what you are watching, and as you’re growing up, you never notice how the media has input an image of the usual villain in your mind.
Advertisements use African Americans to encourage consumers to buy their products to distort their normal appearances to a more “civilized” person. African Americans are also used in many sports related commercials as well. Due to the high amounts of stereotypical African American males that are athletic and well-built, these advertisements display these men as the typical person you should be when you want to be athletic. In the new 2011 Nike commercials, many groups of people are shown playing a specific sport. In one part of the commercial, a group of young black males are gathered around an outdoor basketball court, cheering on one of the guys dunking over another person. After he dunks, the camera zooms in on him taunting the camera. This displays the “uncivilized” sportsmanship of what people except from the “usual” African American, coincidentally placed into the only part where a group of black males are present. All of these examples point to the fact that the media is inserting the image of the stereotypical African American males into your head, and most people hardly ever realize this.