Race And Ethnicity In America Essay

993 words - 4 pages

Race and Ethnicity

Since the country’s beginning, race, gender, and class have been very important factors in a person’s experience in the United States of America. The meaning of race, gender differences, and the separation of class have changed over United States history. For many Americans, their perceptions of class and race and the degree to which gender affect people’s lives, often depends on what their race, gender, and class are, too. There are differences between the reality of America, what is represented as American reality in media, and the perceived reality of America. Americans as well as those looking at America from an outside perspective may have questions and confusions regarding what the real connections are to race, class, and gender are in America. The paper tries to clarify and explore how these issues connect and play out in real life.
One of the greatest exports of American culture is American media. American media is one of the most widely distributed and consumed cultural forms from the United States. This means that not only do Americans consume large quantities of their own media, but many other countries in the world consume American media, too. People in other countries will not interpret or understand the media in precisely the same ways that Americans will and do, nonetheless, many aspects of American culture and American reality are communicated to numerous viewers as part of the content in the media. The media is an important tool in the discussion of race, class, and gender in America. It takes a savvy viewer to discriminate between and understand what media accurately represents reality, what media does not, or which aspects of experience are fictionalized, and which elements are based in actual experience. There are a lot of mixed messages and confounding experiences in American life as it exists in reality and as it is represented in the media.
"Film and television have been notorious in disseminating images of racial minorities which establish for audiences what these groups look like, how they behave, and , in essence, "who they are". The power of the media lies not only in their ability to reflect the dominant racial ideology, but in their capacity to shape that ideology in the first place". (Omi, 628-629) Even with the election of President Barack Obama, the first non-white President of the United States in the history of the country. His election, in some ways, contributed to the distorted perceptions that at least the racial barriers within American society have been wholly and permanently removed. Whites, who have had the greatest privilege in America, have very different perceptions of how race, class, and gender affect their own culture as well as that of non-whites. There are white Americans in the upper, middle, and lower classes, but there are less white people below the poverty line than non-white Americans. From the racial perspective of white, and the class perspective...

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