If you are a white girl, a black girl or a black boy, exposure to today’s electronic media in the long run tends to make you feel worse about yourself. If you’re a white boy, you’ll feel better, according to a new study led by an Indiana University professor.
Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, and Kristen Harrison, professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, also found that black children in their study spent, on average, an extra 10 hours a week watching television.
“We can’t deny the fact that media has an influence when they’re spending most of their time — when they’re not in school — with the television,” Martins said.
Harrison added, “Children who are not doing other things besides watching television cannot help but compare themselves to what they see on the screen.”
Their paper has been published in Communication Research. Martins and Harrison surveyed a group of about 400 black and white preadolescent students in communities in the Midwest over a yearlong period. Rather than look at the impact of particular shows or genres, they focused on the correlation between the time in front of the TV and the impact on their self-esteem.
“Regardless of what show you’re watching, if you’re a white male, things in life are pretty good for you,” Martins said of characters on TV. “You tend to be in positions of power, you have prestigious occupations, high education, glamorous houses, a beautiful wife, with very little portrayals of how hard you worked to get there.
“If you are a girl or a woman, what you see is that women on television are not given a variety of roles,” she added. “The roles that they see are pretty simplistic; they’re almost always one-dimensional and focused on the success they have because of how they look, not what they do or what they think or how they got there.
“This sexualization of women presumably leads to this negative impact on girls.”
With regard to black boys, they are often criminalized in many programs, shown as hoodlums and buffoons, and without much variety in the kinds of roles they occupy.
“Young black boys are getting the opposite message: that there is not lots of good things that you can aspire to,” Martins said. “If we think about those kinds of messages, that’s what’s responsible for the impact.
“If we think just about the sheer amount of time they’re spending, and not the messages, these kids are spending so much time with the media that they’re not given a chance to explore other things they’re good at, that could boost their self-esteem.”
Martins said their study counters claims by producers that programs have been progressive in their depictions of under-represented populations. An earlier study co-authored by her and Harrison suggests that video games “are the worst offenders when it comes to representation of ethnicity and gender.”
Other research is starting to show the impacts of other kinds of entertainment sources, such as video games and hand-held devices. It indicates that young people are becoming creative at “media multitasking.”
“Even though these new technologies are becoming more available, kids still spend more time with TV than anything else,” Martins said.
Interestingly, the young people were asked about their consumption of print media, but the results were not statistically significant.
Martins conducted the research while she was completing her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, as part of a larger longitudinal study done with her co-author, Harrison. They sought out certain school districts in Illinois because of their diversity, but African-Americans were the predominant minority group.
If you want to truly understand someone find out their motives.
Something that causes someone to act in a certain way or do a certain thing = a motive
You will be surprised at what you find within people and what you don’t.
I had some interesting thoughts while washing dishes. I was thinking about fathers and how important it is for them to teach their children to finish what they start. Actions speak louder than words on this one. A father can easily show his children to finish what he/she starts by adressing his responsibilities in the family he started…..By showing true love. In some families we see the father abandon his responsibilities for whatever reason and leave a gaping hole in the child’s life. Fathers are so important to the family dynamic. I hope that all the fathers out there are teaching their sons/daughters to be people that finish what they start and to seek individuals who do the same. Fathers are to be celebrated. We need more real fathers. Its never to late to be in your childs life & I cant think of anything that can bring you more joy. Food for thought…..
The US and Australia with the outstanding 0 days or weeks of mandated paid maternity leave.
Well as you can see, I tried to make this easier to read and then gave up. Anyways. Yeah. America and Australia are the only countries on the list without mandated paid maternity leave. (I notice North Korea isn’t on there — we probably don’t have access to that information given that it’s North Korea and everything. Anyone know?)
In America, we have the PDL and the FMLA.
PDL. Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) which entitles you up to four months of unpaid, job-protected leave when disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
FMLA.Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) if you have been employed with the Company for at least one year, provides up to 12 weeks job protected leave.
So you get a few unpaid months off if you gave birth, and they can’t legally hire someone to replace you. But that’s about it. Shameful, America.
I like that some of the countries allow for paid paternity leave too. Thats bad ass.
2. The very real hardships endured by many gays and lesbians cannot fairly be compared with the monstrous suffering endured by African Americans. Conservative gay journalist Charles Winecoff wrote, “Newsflash: blacks in America didn’t start out as hip-hop fashion designers; they were slaves. There’s a big difference between being able to enjoy a civil union with the same sex partner of your choice – and not being able to drink out of a water fountain, eat at a lunch counter, or use a rest room because you don’t have the right skin color.”
Today, we have openly gay members of Congress, openly gay celebrities, openly gay CEO’s, openly gay financial gurus, openly gay sports stars, openly gay Hollywood moguls, and openly gay college professors, bestselling authors, scientists, and on and on. In the days of segregation in America, there were few, if any, blacks in such prominent positions, not to mention the fact that in many cities in America, even the lynching of blacks was accepted. Where in America are gays and lesbians being lynched today with societal approval? And what is the LGBT equivalent to the American slave trade?
FOR THE WHITE PERSON WHO WANTS TO KNOW HOW TO BE MY FRIEND
By: Pat Parker
The first thing you do is to forget that I’m black. Second, you must never forget that I’m black.
You should be able to dig Aretha, but don’t play her every time I come over. And if you decide to play Beethoven — don’t tell me his life story. They make us take music appreciation, too.
Eat soul food if you like it, but don’t expect me to locate your restaurants or cook it for you.
And if some Black person insults you, mugs you, rapes your sister, rapes you, rips your house or is just being an ass — please, do not apologize to me for wanting to do them bodily harm. It makes me wonder if you’re foolish.
And even if you really believe Blacks are better lovers than whites — don’t tell me. I start thinking of charging stud fees.
In other words — if you really want to be my friend — don’t make a labor of it. I’m lazy. Remember.
From Movement in Black by Pat Parker. Copyright(c) 1978 by Pat Parker.
For some us the words “Tuskegee Airmen” do not go far without remembering the “Tuskegee Experiment.” It is very difficult to separate these two pivotal events in African American history. Anthropologically speaking, the questions I have, are how do histories of pride and shame affect culture, specifically HipHop (African American)?
On one hand, we have the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of men who exhibited tremendous courage and pride while fighting foreign enemies in the air and domestic enemies on the ground. On the other hand we have over 600 people who became the source of syphilis in the African American community for generations as a result of the government-sanctioned Tuskegee Experiment. While the story of brave fighters has inspired generations of people who are confronted with discrimination, oppression, racism and sexism to become airplane pilots; the systematic infection of African Americans between 1932 and 1972, has impaired generations of people with paralysis, blindness, dementia and shame. HipHop and all the other African societies, on the African continent and throughout the diaspora, oral history is stronger than any print, visual or digital media. Not only are folk tales, songs and poetry transcribed from one generation to the next, but entire histories of peoples, nations and events are accounted for as well. Other than just names, places and dates, historical particularism helps account for the emotions and feelings that are emphasized in storytelling and cultural development.
The Tuskegee Airmen have always been talked about in the barbershops, church services and one-on-one conversations with elder veterans who are still alive to tell these stories from their own personal experiences. More than the any media or public education source, oral histories is where the pride is really transported between generations. These examples help children and adults hold their heads up high with knowledge of the past that encourages them to move forwards in the faces of adversity. Educational systems (mainstream and independent) and curricula are instated to provide further encouragement. The good stories become the benchmark for “Black History Month” every year.
The genealogists, family historian and black people who are interested in “tracing their roots; uncovered these stories, simply by talking to the elders in their families and communities. These researchers have no problem extracting the prideful stories, but when it comes to the painful or shameful stories it’s always a “family secret”. The “V.D.” as it was so colorfully referred to was only the beginning of the battles with sexually transmitted diseases in many HipHop communities in the southern and northern United States. The definitions, symptoms and treatment of STD’s are widely discussed in the health classes in both mainstream and independent educational systems. It is always the talk of the town, the beauty shops. Everyone wants to know who got what and from whom. In many cases, people who have and are infected will not talk about it openly and may even keep the information from their sexual partners. It is so shameful, that people will carry these secrets to their graves, allowing other people in the community to remain unaware of the dangers of sexually transmitted disease from a first-hand account.
Although it is not known if any of the Tuskegee Airmen actually had syphilis, but it is very plausible considering the large base of infected people at the time. Keep in mind there were no positive treatments until the 1970’s. Furthermore the stories and oral accounts will always focus on the courage and pride of these men, but if any one of them was infected with the disease, before or after the war, it will be kept as a “family secret” and not rendered to the historical or public record.
Where is the real historical lesson in that? If we are only feeding ourselves with joy, we are doing the children and ourselves a major disservice, because joy and pain are one in the same. Pride does not exist without shame. Yeah let’s tell the children that there were great airplane pilots who fought in World Ward II, but let’s also tell them about the history and origin of sexually transmitted diseases in African American communities.
Let’s tell the stories to install pride. Let’s tell the stories to reduce shame.