How do we remove negative black stereotypes from movies and television? Dr. Mark Sullivan reveals two small victories that helped black people in the media.

This is the fourth of a five-part interview about the racist media portrayals of African Americans. Dr. Mark Sullivan, an adjunct professor at Towson University, teaches a class called Mass Media and Society.

The previous segment ended with Sullivan saying, “In successful shows that the producers, the networks, so far and so forth are never going to change [media depictions of African Americans] as long as they remain successful. And they’re going to continue to be perpetuated.”

I asked Sullivan what it would take to change that, and he tells two stories two small victories that assisted African Americans in media.

The best quotes:

Advertisements

Ryan O’Doherty, thank you for your interview on Baltimore’s vacant properties

I had an opportunity to meet with Ryan O’Doherty, Mayor’s Director of Policy and Communications in Baltimore City April 20. O’Doherty answered questions about the mayoral initiative, Vacants to Value, that I’m researching.

He surprised me and impressed me.

Granted, my expectations were low. I thought that O’Doherty would have two or three public relations-type quotes for me. I only went on the field trip because I wanted to provide a ride to a car-less classmate of mine.

I’m very glad that I went.

I recognize that O’Doherty sees Baltimore’s vacants from the governmental side of the issue. His perspective has to be positive and persuasive because the city government needs public support for the plan. Of course people are going to be displaced and displeased. There are going to be victims. But he can’t admit that.

See a clip of the interview

Racism in the Elevator

An older White lady stands in an elevator, two large Black men step in with her. She steps backward and noticeably tightens the grip on her purse.

The two Black men see this, look at each other and start laughing hysterically.

The next day, the woman receives a note that says:

Thanks for the best laugh we’ve had in years.

Sincerely,

Michael Jordon and Charles Barkley

This story’s authenticity is highly debatable. But Professor John Bullock told it to my Urban Government and Politics class a few weeks ago. Then I saw this hilarious video on YouTube.com by Reckless Tortuga.

.

Continue reading

Racism is over now that America elected a Black president. Right? Mark Sullivan discusses the effects of Obama’s election.

This is the third part of a five-part series. Dr. Mark Sullivan, an adjunct professor at Towson University who teaches a class called Mass Media and Society, delves into the issue of the negative black stereotypes that are reinforced, and the impact of their media portrayals.

This segment comments on whether President Obama’s election has allowed more racism in America, how much “Black blood” a person has to have to be “Black enough,” how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go in the fight against racism, and that the current depictions of Black people in media are reinforced by their success.

.

The best quotes:

Did everyone ignore the words in John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change?”

Granted, “Waiting on the World to Change” isn’t a revolutionary song, but John Mayer is commenting on negative aspects of our society. This song is still playing in department stores and convenience stores across America even though it was released in 2006. You’d be hard pressed to find a person that has never heard this song before.

And yet no one seems to notice that his lyrics include comments like “Now we see everything that’s going wrong/ With the world and those who lead it,” “Cause when they own the information, oh/ They can bend it all they want,” “It’s hard to beat the system,” “We just know that the fight ain’t fair,” “One day our generation/ Is gonna rule the population/ So we keep on waiting/ Waiting on the world to change.”

Again, it’s a mild commentary. But how many people know all of the words to this song? And how many people realize what they’re singing?

A great case of hearing v. listening.

_______________________________________________

Read the full lyrics

Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said” from Lasers declares a powerful message about America

In honor of Lupe Fiasco‘s release of Lasers tomorrow, Mar 8, this Music Monday post is dedicated to Lupe‘s most recent release from the album, “Words I Never Said.”

This track and “The Show Goes On” have a direct message about the indecency and corruption in American culture. And I’m putting it nicely. Just listen to the track “Words I Never Said.”

_______________________________________________

_______________________________________________

Lupe’s previous albums (Food & LiquorThe Cool) used sophisticated literary devices to speak to the issues that inner city culture and Black youth face. Both albums feature songs that are extended metaphors, the entire album, The Cool, is an extended metaphor, and Lupe personifies abstractions like The Cool, The Streets, and The Game to further reveal traits of the Black struggle. In The Coolest, he says, “Streets got my heart, game got my soul.”

Continue reading

Is there a lack of black role models? Mark Sullivan discusses Oprah, athletes and role models in media.

This is the second part of a five-part interview analyzing the negative portrayal of African Americans in the media with Dr. Mark Sullivan, an adjunct professor at Towson University.

My second question while interviewing Sullivan, a professor of Mass Media and Society, was regarding positive black role models in the media. Is there a shortage? Why? And what about Oprah’s fame versus criticism for helping other countries and neglecting the inner cities of America?

.

The best quotes:

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 542 other followers