Chapter Eighteen: Now You See Me: The Visibility of Whiteness in Black Context Films
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Now You See Me: The Visibility of Whiteness in Black Context Films
OMOTAYO O. BANJO
After decades of scholarly inquiry and critique, it has become indisputable among scholars, media critics, and audiences that the media display biased and limiting representations of racial and ethnic minorities. Research continues to reveal imbalanced representations of African Americans in news, primetime television, film, and popular culture altogether (Bogle, 2001; Dixon & Linz, 2000; Gray, 1989; Mastro & Greenberg, 2000; Watts & Orbe, 2002). Arguably, the media help to reproduce ideologies associated with racial constructs, and thus, such investigations are critical to unpacking social and political attitudes toward Blacks. For example, Oliver, Jackson, Moses, and Dangerfield’s (2004) research demonstrates that Whites are more likely to criminalize Afrocentric-looking individuals. Mastro, Lapinski, Kopacz, and Behm-Morawitz (2009) found that Black suspects are more likely to receive a guilty verdict and the longest sentencing time compared to White suspects. Furthermore, their research found that participants are more likely to report negative attitudes toward Blacks after exposure to newscasts featuring Blacks as criminals. In addition, Ramasubramanian (2010) suggests that poor perceptions of Blacks based on television stereotypes are negatively correlated with support for affirmative action policies.
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