Exceptions to the Stereotype Rule On Television
Television is forever known for imitating stereotypes and neglecting minorities. When and if we see minorities on TV, rarely do we see accurate reflections of them. The majority of television programs and movies cater to the well-known stereotypes we all recognize. Are there exceptions to this unwritten rule? In examining the TV shows I have watched in recent years, I believe there are some TV shows that do not cater to the commonly held stereotypes of minorities.
Native Americans are just one ethnic minority that is constantly misrepresented. Westerns tend to characterize Native Americans as savage and ignorant. I can’t count the number of times I have seen Native Americans portrayed as ruthless savages who have no just cause for attacking white men, scalping settlers, and raping women. However, one show, The Young Riders, has broken the mold and depicts not only the side of the white settlers but that of the Native Americans. The Young Riders is a program about the lives of six young Pony Express riders. One of the riders, Buck, is half Kiowa and half white. Several episodes concentrate on his loyalty to his Indian heritage. In one particular episode, the Kiowa Indians attack the Pony Express riders. Buck is seen discussing the matter with his Indian brother. His brother explains that the Kiowa attack the riders because they carry the white man’s word. Furthermore, he explains that as the word of the white man grows so does he, and thus he becomes a larger threat to the Indians. Consequently, in many episodes, Buck is often harassed because of his Indian blood. However, the other riders always come to bat for him and defend their friend no matter what his ethnic origin may be. The Young Riders was canceled about four years ago but while it was on, it served as an accurate reflection of the crisis between the white settlers and the Indians.
African-Americans are another minority that is usually misrepresented by television. African-Americans are most often portrayed as poor, uneducated, and very often as criminals. The Cosby Show is one program that moved beyond this unfair stereotype. The sitcom is based on a seven-member African-American household in which the father is a doctor and the mother is a lawyer. The Cosby Show was a sitcom and it did not focus primarily on the aspect of two African-Americans as affluent professionals. However, it did aid in disputing the stereotypes that African-Americans are either poor or criminals. When it first began, The Cosby Show was among only a few shows based on the lives of African-Americans. Today we see more and more shows centered around the lives of African-Americans. Many of these shows are sitcoms and do not always portray African-Americans accurately. We still need more shows about African-Americans that are more serious-minded and paint a true picture of their lives.
Although not an ethnic minority, the blue-collar working class is often a minority in today’s TV programs. Most shows focus on the professional elite, believing that the blue-collar working class is dull and boring. However, there are a few shows that dispute this theory. Roseanne, which has been on for more than seven years, is about a working class family that often has to struggle to make ends meet. There is nothing really extraordinary about Roseanne or her family. The show concentrates on real issues that blue-collar employees wrestle with every day. Grace Under Fire is a program that depicts the plight of a single mother who has to work in an oil refinery to pay the bills. She has overcome her problems with an abusive husband and alcoholism to come out on top. Both of these shows scrutinize the issues associated with blue-collar employees that are usually cast aside. Furthermore, both of these shows are about women, another minority in the television industry. It is infrequent to see a woman in the leading role. These two women have surpassed the stereotype that women are unfit for leading roles. These two shows promote not only the need for more blue-collar shows, but for more women to be cast in leading roles.
Television adheres to many of the popular stereotypes we have today. However, these selected shows are the exceptions to the rule. They all cast the stereotypes aside and reflect a true picture of the situation. Do we recognize these exceptions? If not, we need to start. They all deserve a standing ovation for their willingness to break with the ties that formerly bound them to the well-known stereotypes. We need to be more aware of what we are watching on television instead of blindly accepting what we see on TV as the absolute truth.
NOTE – This paper was written during my freshman year at Lynchburg College in February of 1996. It has been modified from the original version (modified in November 1997). The modifications only involved correcting grammar and changing wording in several places. As far as structure and organization are concerned, no changes have been made.
Created by Sheri Baber
Essay on Stereotypes – WritePass – Example Essay
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StereoTypes – Introduction
Stereotypes are a part of our everyday life. We hear stereotypes every day and everywhere. Sometimes we can find ourselves in a situation where we make stereotypes for a large group of people. Every person, young or old, is labelled with either positive or negative stereotypes. Stereotyping is a way that people group each other. Each group is called by name, that doesnt really fit to everyone in that specific group. Stereotypes affect people’s social lives, emotions, and how people interact with their environment.
There are times that you are not so open to the idea of meeting new people, and making new friends. You don’t want to go outside, because we have put our own set of rules in this world. We know that we get criticized about what we wear every single day! We are criticized in which music we listen to, how we look like, how we act, and who we hang out with. We are also criticized on every other personal trait and imperfection we have. We have put the bar way up high, maybe too high for our potentials.
Stereotype Essay – What we really know?
We cannot afford all the stereotyping that is going on between us. After we come and we say to people to just be who they are. If we say to a person that he or she is a hippie, just from the way they are dressed, that is just totally wrong. Hippie is someone who rejects the culture, not just the one who has long hair and wears beads. We are using the words in the wrong way. There are many people that have no friends, because they are tired of their critique. Leave everything behind and don’t let stereotypes ruin your social life.
Stereotypes have an enormous impact of how we feel. That makes people have no motivation; therefore they won’t have good performance at any level in their life. For instance if a kid is stereotyped as black and obese, how can these words make him feel good, so that he/she can move on to the next level? This can create psychological pressure. Other people face stereotypes as a threat. For example there is a stereotype that says that women are bad drivers. It puts even more pressure on how they feel, not only being around people who are labelling them, but being around people that they trust. They will try to prove to them that this is just a stereotype and it does not exist. In addition, this occurs in situations where people worry for their performance and how they look like. Besides that people don’t want their poor performance to lead to negative stereotypes.
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Members of stereotyped groups worry of what they are doing, and this makes them stressed, because they think that they have to be perfect, in all aspects of their lives! People get tired of being criticized all the time. When there is no one able to close people’s mouths, they start to become isolated. In the same way they don’t talk, because they are afraid to say something wrong, so that they won’t look silly. They are afraid of failure. For example, people seem surprised when they see men cry or being emotional. They think that men are not allowed to express their feelings, or men have no feelings at all. Men are not unconscious, they have feelings, but that is just a stereotype and a generalization from our society. It is easy to see that with are actions and sayings we are trying to kill emotions and thoughts! We should learn how to control our feelings and emotions, instead of letting stereotypes control them.
In addition, your surroundings can be affected as well. If you had a bad day because someone just stereotyped you, when you go home or to your friends you are going to be really anxious. In addition you would probably get irritated or feel sad at the same time. You just go to your room or sit alone in a corner. When your loved ones see you like that they are not going to feel any better, because your emotions are now in control, and you just pass them around. In other words you broadcast your feelings to others.
Furthermore there are times teachers question their students “Did I create a good environment, so that you can be able to talk and share ideas with the rest of your class?” Well, sometimes teachers cannot change this situation. The only people that can create a comfortable and happy atmosphere are us – the students. They are many stereotypes going in and out of every classroom. That’s why sometimes students can be afraid to share ideas, because before they were stereotyped as nerds. These days’ people are afraid to be themselves, because they fear other people. They don’t want people to think something bad for them. Secrets, thoughts, and ideas, are all held down. Stereotypes can be an obstacle as to how open you are with people and how you make people feel when you are with them!
Instead of focusing on all the mistakes of each person, we should start paying more attention of how unique each person is. Stereotype causes people to feel lonely and even sometimes depressed. It’s also harmful for their environment and their social life. We should keep stereotypes out of the picture, even though sometimes we can be victims ourselves. Stop judging people before you even get to know them.
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