Date Submitted:
03/18/2011 04:22 AM
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Race Relations

Introduction

Advertising has become the tool in which our culture is shaped. Billions of dollars are being spent every year by advertisers to sell products images and lifestyles. Advertising has the power to shape how people think act and dress. This influence makes it important to explore how advertisers present race. When advertisers attempt to portray minorities, especially African Americans something interesting happens. Suddenly the racist stereotypes that we see in American society find themselves on magazine pages, television screens and on the radio. I will show you from beginning to present how black people are portrayed in the media, as well as how one’s race plays a difference in the way advertisers choose to sell their brand.

History of Blacks in Advertisement

Representation of African Americans within various media outlets have under went many changes over the years. Black people were only seen in media how white people wanted them to be seen. During slavery and segregation there was no such thing as seeing blacks in advertisements, you would think that our whole society was strictly made up of white people. When we first started seeing blacks emerge in advertisement, they were being shown through various racial stereotypes, such as servant to whites or as some from of entertainment. The images you saw of black people in those times were that black people were always smiling, barefoot, happy stupid people. Two infamous examples of this would be the Cream of Wheat man and the Aunt Jemima pancake mix lady. These images did at least bring the awareness of black people into our society but gave them no real status as people. Black people in these ads were carefully selected for their stereotypes and to make sure that white people did not feel threatened by them but rather viewed them as happy dumb people who were only there to serve them.
According to Ohman “Editorial silence, fictional marginalization, and advertising appropriation add up to a…

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