Synthesis Essay

1450 words - 6 pages


ShaQueelah Pierce 
 Criminal Stereotypes of African American Males
 Watkins - English IV
 September 1, 2013
As human beings, we do certain actions without even knowing that we have done them, such as stereotyping other races or people by the way they look, talk, walk, or just carry themselves. African Americans, in particular, are a race of people that are stereotyped, but the typical African American males are usually stereotyped negatively. The typical stereotype for African American male is angry and criminals. The research I have conducted, has revealed to me that the criminal stereotype affects people’s memory, and essentially have a bad impact on ...view middle of the document...

Certain media, such as movies, rap videos, and magazines, effects people’s views on the African American male. "COPS", a popular television show broadcasted over many different channels, plays a part in the criminal stereotype because they sometimes show an African American male committing a crime dealing with guns, drugs, or petty arguments (Rome). Some music videos also tarnish the African American male persona. These raw videos by “gangsta” rappers like N.W.A.(Niggas With Attitude), Eazy-E, and various other artists, depict the African American male as gun toting, womanizing, drug dealing criminals. A crude invention called “Ebonics” or profane language is often included with the stereotype of the criminal African American male. "Ebonics is the use of words with a suffix of –a instead of –er and adding suffix –izzle or not completely saying the word like instead of saying “better”, you would say “betta” " (Houghton). This form of speaking is associated with the criminal stereotype because the “gangsta” rappers use this way of speaking in their music videos. Some Explicit music videos portrayed on television can be appealing to the adolescent children looking up to the artists, but in reality, it is hurting them. Children should not look up to criminals; they need better role models to look up to.
    Research shows that the criminal stereotype of the African American male is somewhat wrongly depicted through society. "Dr. Mary Beth Oliver, the associate professor of communications and co-director of Media Effects Laboratory at Penn State, has conducted a study with various random subjects. Dr. Oliver found that “when readers were asked to identify criminal suspects pictured in stories about violent crimes, they were more prone to misidentify African-American than White suspects”(Oliver). She also found out that it is people’s ‘mismemories’ of violent crimes on news broadcast that implicate all “African American males rather than the specific individuals who are actually pictured”.
    "The Penn State researcher conducted another experiment with a sample of Caucasian participants to inspect a series of newspaper articles of violent and nonviolent crimes, which involved African American and Caucasian male suspects. During her research, she found that the participants believed that the Caucasian suspects were convicted for the nonviolent crime and the African American suspect was associated with the violent crime. Dr. Oliver conducted another experiment dealing with photographs taking by African American and Caucasian photographers of African American and Caucasian suspects. This experiment had the same outcome as the first experiment. Dr. Oliver said that “this kind of ‘immemorial’ has many implications ranging from issues related to law enforcement to issues related to everyday activities such as greater fear or distrust of others” (Oliver). All of her research and experiments showed that Caucasians don’t realize that they subconsciously...

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