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Racialism and the Media

Black Jesus, Black Twitter, and the First Black American President


Venise T. Berry

Racialism and Media: Black Jesus, Black Twitter and the First Black American President is an exploration of how the nature of racial ideology has changed in our society. Yes, there are still ugly racists who push uglier racism, but there are also popular constructions of race routinely woven into mediated images and messages. This book examines selected exemplars of racialism moving beyond traditional racism. In the twenty-first century, we need a more nuanced understanding of racial constructions. Denouncing anything and everything problematic as racist or racism simply does not work, especially if we want to move toward a real solution to America’s race problems. Racialism involves images and messages that are produced, distributed, and consumed repetitively and intertextually based on stereotypes, biased framing, and historical myths about African American culture. These images and messages are eventually normalized through the media, ultimately shaping and influencing societal ideology and behavior. Through the lens of critical race theory these chapters examine issues of intersectionality in Crash, changing Black identity in Black-ish, the balancing of stereotypes in prime-time TV’s Black male and female roles, the power of Black images and messages in advertising, the cultural wealth offered through the Black Twitter platform, biased media framing of the first Black American president, the satirical parody of Black Jesus, contemporary Zip Coon stereotypes in film, the popularity of ghettofabulous black culture, and, finally, the evolution of black representation in science fiction.

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About the Author


Venise Berry is an associate professor in Journalism and African American Studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She received a BA (1977) in Journalism and an MA (1979) in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. Her Ph.D. was awarded in 1989 in Radio. TV and Film at the University of Texas in Austin.

She is the author of three national bestselling novels, So Good: An African American Love Story (Dutton Penguin, 1996), All of Me: A Voluptuous Tale (Dutton Penguin, 2000), and Colored Sugar Water (Dutton Penguin, 2002). Her book of essays, Driven: Reflections on Love, Career, and the Pursuit of Happiness was published in 2018 by Jewell Jordan Publishers/BerryBooks. She is currently finishing her fourth novel Pockets of Sanity.

Berry is the co-editor of an anthology, also with Peter Lang, Black Culture & Experience: Contemporary Issues (2015) and co-author of two non-fiction film books, The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema (Scarecrow Press, 2007 & 2nd Ed. 2015) and The 50 Most Influential Black Films (Citadel 2001). She has also published widely in other creative and academic circles with numerous short stories, journal articles, and book chapters. Her research focus is an exploration of media, African Americans and popular culture.

She was honored in 2018 with an Iowa History Makers Award from the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 2003, she received the ←153 | 154→“Creative Contribution to Literature” award for Colored Sugar Water from...

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