Many of us have received a meager education about African-Americans. In fact, many people have no clue about African Americans beyond the information we have been given in the media. The result has been that most whites possess a distorted image of African-Americans. This not only limits a person's worldview, but this is also dangerous. The media has no incentive to present accurate, much less positive, images of African-Americans. This is nothing new, but the inaccuracies have a greater impact on the lives of black people.
Throughout history, black men have been presented as beastly savage. For example, in the movie "Jersey Drive,” the blacks are portrayed as a bunch of violent thieves who thrive from stealing others' cars. Often, in the past they were shown as subhuman beings preying on the fragile white woman. With the advent of radio and television, black men were depicted as buffoons and criminals. Today, few images are presented, showing what black men are really like. For instance, Denzel Washington who is a brilliant actor, as well as a successful businessman in today's society is a great image. Unfortunately, it is easier for most people who are not black to build their assumptions from media depictions rather than to go out and to meet the actual people.
These images have contributed to the most violent behavior against black men that this country has ever seen. Over the course of the twentieth century, thousands of black men were lynched for often false rape allegations by white women. Black men have been repeatedly denied access to opportunities for education and employment. To this day, black men remain perceived as a "threat” and are the targets of sometimes fatal acts of police brutality. It is not a coincidence that African American men are imprisoned and given stiffer sentences than their white counterparts.
Black men are not the only victims of harmful stereotypes. Black women a
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