Stereotypes of African-Americans in the Media and Reality
Note: This lesson is intended to be used at any time of the school year with special emphasis on Black History month.
Stereotypes play an important role in society and particularly in the media. Definitions of what is a stereotype ranges depending on the author but they are all based on the notion of individuals or groups based on their appearance, behaviors, ethnicity, beliefs, age, education, dis/abilities, etc.
Media often creates misrepresentations stereotypes in order to attract audiences and therefore influence ratings. These stereotypes may take on comical, evil heroic and a variety of traits depending on the genre and the type of audience they are trying to reach. Regardless whether the stereotype portrays characters as good or evil, they are often accepted by people of all ages, and in particular children and youth and influence their perceptions of people in reality
Age Level: While intended for secondary students in grades 7 to 12, many of the questions and activities it is strongly suggested that they are adapted for upper elementary levels.
Students will understand:
• The media’s representations of African-Americans
• Their own perceptions of African-Americans
• How African-Americans are stereotyped and the role of these in
print and non-print texts
• How to identify stereotypes
• How to differentiate between the media’s and society’s
construction of reality
• That media construct reality
• That audiences negotiate meaning in media texts
• All media texts have value messages
• All media have commercial implications