The Media’s Affect on the Mental Health of African Americans Essay

Submitted By brejackson
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Pages: 4

Dr. Jeff Menize’s book, Dumbin’ Down: Reflections on The Mis-Education of the Negro goes into depth of Carter G. Woodson’s theories, of Whites’ influence on the education of African American, with a modern perspective. Dumbin’ Down presents the reader with an understanding of Woodson’s theories by applying them to the world and to the classroom setting. Within this this essay, I will explain the effects of the media’s portrayal of Black women, and lasting impressions on the race as a whole. I will also relate how the African American society shows symptoms of some psychological disorders.
In chapter eighteen, “Self-knowledge: the Key to all Knowledge”, Menize goes into discussion of Whites putting down the African American for centuries, using Dr. Clarke and Woodson to support his claims. Woodson says, “ The oppressor…teaches the Negro that his race has done nothing significant since the beginning of time, and that there is no evidence that he will ever achieve anything great” (Menize, 2012, p. 177). This statement can be proven through what is shown in the media. There are not many black women in a positive place on television. Szymanski, Moffit, and Carr’s Sexual Objectification of Women goes into detail of the exploitation of women, African Americans in particular. “The sexual exploitation and victimization of African American women from the days of slavery to the present has led to media images and stereotypes of Black women as sexual aggressors and sexual savages” (Szymanski, D. M., Moffitt, L., & Carr, E., 2012 p. 10). Many are shown in a negative light, in shows like Scandal, where the main character is an African American woman but is seen sleeping with men excessively. Another example would be the reality television shows such as Real Housewives of Atlanta where Black women are portrayed to be malicious and spiteful. This being what is shown in the media has lead to a trend of low self - worth in African American women. “Exposure to sexually objectifying media has been related to greater importance of beauty and appearance in defining an individual’s own self-worth as well as in defining the value of females in general among African American adolescent girls (Gordon, 2008) and to self-objectification, body shame, appearance anxiety, internalization of cultural standards of beauty, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating symptoms” (Szymanski, D. M., Moffitt, L., & Carr, E., 2011, p. 11). The media plays a role in how the African American woman viewed. In Spencer Rathus’ book, Psych, he writes that our self concepts consists of our impressions of ourselves and our frames of reference is how we look at ourselves and the world (Rathus, 2012, p. 207). With the negative attention, African American women receive from the media, their “frame of reference” forces them to see themselves in this light.
The word “nigger” “Self-knowledge: the Key to all Knowledge” is also discussed within the chapter, Menize eludes that if the word were not used so frequently in media then the word would be frowned upon and used less. Because deep down the people in the media are whom we aspire to be, and those people are who popularized the slur. In Patrice Ferguson’s article, she explains “the union of nigger with those, who for centuries were oppressed by it, is one that contorts itself to the heart of the issues of race and ascribed status in the United States of America. The plague of the social structure of this nation is racism. Nigga is the blazing flag of America’s racist doctrine. The doctrine of racism has seeped into the minds of the oppressed persons of African decent” (Feguson, 2007). Ferguson alludes that the African American community has allowed itself to be objectified to the demeaning slur because it is accepted by society. It is as though the whole race has dissociative