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African American Stereotypes in Trading Places - Assignment Example

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The author of the paper examines the African American stereotypes in the movie "Trading Places". The entire plot of the film follows the story of a white man who grew up within a privileged environment and a black man who has always lived on the streets…
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African American Stereotypes in Trading Places
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"African American Stereotypes in Trading Places"

Download file to see previous pages There have been several theories proposed regarding how race is represented in the media. To understand the concept fully, it is necessary to understand how media influences society, with examples from the movie Trading Places.
Even in the world of strict entertainment, the media continues its long-standing tradition of reinforcing middle-class society’s concepts of the world. “Above all, the media are defensive about the sacred institutions of society – whereas black people most encounter problems in this sensitive power-areas: employment, public discrimination, housing, parliamentary legislation, local government, law and order, the police” (Hall, 1974). In order to appeal to the middle class, many of the films that come out of Hollywood tend to reflect the hopes and dreams of this class of society. This typically involves the concept that the lifestyle of the very wealthy is the only lifestyle worth having. It also reinforces the thought that it is only through hard work and struggles that one can appreciate this good life. The black man, and occasionally a woman, is allowed to enter this world only at the invitation and assistance of a white man while the typical portrayal continues to hold him down at the lower rungs of society. This type of portrayal reinforces the concept that black men are not capable of success and white men are not very capable of failure. As Hall (1974) makes obvious, even comedies that are merely supposed to entertain, such as Trading Places, can contain several unremarkable messages that serve to maintain and promote the existing power relations within society, representing the black man as a necessary failure.
Within the movie Trading Places, these ideas can easily be traced. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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