Scripting the Black Masculine Body: Identity, Discourse, and Racial Politics in Popular Media

SUNY Press
Free sample

Scripting the Black Masculine Body traces the origins of Black body politics in the United States and its contemporary manifestations in popular cultural productions. From early blackface cinema through contemporary portrayals of the Black body in hip-hop music and film, Ronald L. Jackson II examines how African American identities have been socially constructed, constituted, and publicly understood, and argues that popular music artists and film producers often are complicit with Black body stereotypes. Jackson offers a communicative perspective on body politics through a blend of social scientific and humanities approaches and offers possibilities for the liberation of the Black body from its current ineffectual and paralyzing representations.
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About the author

Ronald L. Jackson II is Professor of Media and Cinema Studies, as well as Professor and Head of African American Studies, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the editor of African American Communication and Identities: Essential Readings.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2006
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Pages
189
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ISBN
9780791482377
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Living in a segregated society, white Americans learn about African Americans not through personal relationships but through the images the media show them. The Black Image in the White Mind offers the most comprehensive look at the intricate racial patterns in the mass media and how they shape the ambivalent attitudes of Whites toward Blacks.

Using the media, and especially television, as barometers of race relations, Robert Entman and Andrew Rojecki explore but then go beyond the treatment of African Americans on network and local news to incisively uncover the messages sent about race by the entertainment industry-from prime-time dramas and sitcoms to commercials and Hollywood movies. While the authors find very little in the media that intentionally promotes racism, they find even less that advances racial harmony. They reveal instead a subtle pattern of images that, while making room for Blacks, implies a racial hierarchy with Whites on top and promotes a sense of difference and conflict. Commercials, for example, feature plenty of Black characters. But unlike Whites, they rarely speak to or touch one another. In prime time, the few Blacks who escape sitcom buffoonery rarely enjoy informal, friendly contact with White colleagues—perhaps reinforcing social distance in real life.

Entman and Rojecki interweave such astute observations with candid interviews of White Americans that make clear how these images of racial difference insinuate themselves into Whites' thinking.

Despite its disturbing readings of television and film, the book's cogent analyses and proposed policy guidelines offer hope that America's powerful mediated racial separation can be successfully bridged.


"Entman and Rojecki look at how television news focuses on black poverty and crime out of proportion to the material reality of black lives, how black 'experts' are only interviewed for 'black-themed' issues and how 'black politics' are distorted in the news, and conclude that, while there are more images of African-Americans on television now than there were years ago, these images often don't reflect a commitment to 'racial comity' or community-building between the races. Thoroughly researched and convincingly argued."—Publishers Weekly

"Drawing on their own research and that of a wide array of other scholars, Entman and Rojecki present a great deal of provocative data showing a general tendency to devalue blacks or force them into stock categories."—Ben Yagoda, New Leader

Winner of the Frank Luther Mott Award for best book in Mass Communication and the Robert E. Lane Award for best book in political psychology.

What communicative experiences are particular to African Americans? How do many African Americans define themselves culturally? How do they perceive intracultural and intercultural communication? These questions are answered in this second edition of African American Communication: Exploring Identity and Culture. Informing multiple audiences interested in African American culture, from cultural researchers and practitioners to educators, policymakers, and community leaders, this innovative and invaluable resource examines the richness and depth of African American communication norms and patterns, as well as African American identities. Positive and healthy African American identities are centrally positioned throughout the book.

Applying the cultural contracts theory and the communication theory of identity, authors Michael L. Hecht, Ronald L. Jackson II, and Sidney A. Ribeau explore relationships among African Americans, as well as between African Americans and European Americans, while highlighting the need for sensitivity to issues of power when discussing race, ethnicity, and culture. This wide-ranging volume provides an extensive review of the relevant literature and offers recommendations designed to encourage understanding of African American communication in a context extending beyond Eurocentric paradigms.

Considering African American identity with a communicative, linguistic, and relational focus, this volume:
*Defines African American identities by describing related terms, such as self, self-concept, personhood and identity;
*Explores Afrocentricity and African American discourse;
*Examines the status of African Americans in the United States using census statistics and national studies from other research agencies;
*Considers identity negotiation and competence; and
*Features a full chapter on African American relationships, including gendered, familial, intimate, adolescent and adult, homosexual, friendship, communal, and workplace relationships.

African American Communication: Exploring Identity and Culture begins an important dialogue in the communication discipline, intercultural studies, African American studies and other fields concerned with the centrality of culture and communication as it relates to human behavior. It is intended for advanced students and scholars in intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, communication theory, African American/Black studies, social psychology, sociolinguistics, education, and family studies.
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