Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Think Tank Tuesday 6/2: Changing The Image Of Black Men

It's no surprise the image of black men in America today needs a massive overhaul. You'd be a fool to think otherwise. When you consider just about every representation of black men in the  media deals with some sort of negative portrayal of them as uneducated savages, it's no wonder people who have never been around black people before dread their first encounter with them.

In film, black men typically play roles that either aim to emasculate them, or portray them as uneducated, pimps, gangbangers, crooks, deadbeat dads, cheaters and other notorious types of individuals. In music, young black males are encouraged programmed to make negative records that further perpetuate the criminal, sexually promiscuous, violent stereotypes repeatedly generated by Hollywood.

Finally, the news media further solidifies these stereotypes of black men, by constantly bombarding viewers with negative stories and imagery of black people (men specifically) as if this is all black males as a whole contribute to society. Even when the news story isn't about a "black crime" have you ever noticed how the reporters always seem to get witness accounts from black folks that are obvious embarrassments to themselves and their communities? I'm willing to bet that if two black men witnessed a crime, one well spoken and well dressed, and the other a crack head who speaks with severely broken English, they'd put the crack head on air and not the well spoken brother. This is done strategically to embed these images into the minds of the viewers. To non-black viewers they'll become weary of black men and see them as inferior, incorrigible and worse of all a major threat.

Even though the media plays a large role in how society views the black man, we can't hold it completely responsible for how the black man is viewed by the world. Realistically the media can only show what we as black folk put out there good and bad, the challenge is to produce more good than bad.  If black actors refuse to play stereotypical roles in movies, and rappers refuse to make degrading/destructive music then that will be a step in the right direction. If we can reach children in our communities and expose them to movers and shakers across various industries then they'll know there are many more career options then what's typically shown to them. They they need to know that they we as black men don't have to settle for being criminals, rappers, and athletes to "make it" in life.

So yes the image of the black man needs to be changed... but how do we go about doing it? Check out the video below for a couple of examples of how brothers are helping to change the image of black men:

What are your thoughts? What are some ways to better represent the imagery of black men?

You know the routine: View, Share and Discuss... Don't forget to leave a comment below.


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