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Mediated Messages and
African-American Culture:
Contemporary Issues

Mediated Messages and African-American Culture: Contemporary Issues, co-edited by Venise T. Berry and Carmen L. Manning Miller, features 16 chapters by 20 leading scholars and critics who tackle complicated and controversial issues regarding the images and messages about African-Americans in movies, television, music/radio, and print. Despite the fact that the number of images and messages are increasing, these scholars have found that many remain problematic.

"Stereotypical ideals and attitudes have been formed and solidified over decades into accepted ideologies and norms about African Americans," writes Berry in the book's introduction. "Although I don't believe that the media have an all-encompassing power or control over their audience, I do recognize that they serve as a primary source of communication in this country, and, therefore, their images and ideals can affect specific people, at specific times, in specific ways, in specific contexts." The importance of race continually changes as American Society changes. While overt and malicious racism still exists, it is expanding into a complex mix of race-related issues in contemporary society, It has been identified as various forms of modern or enlightened racism and Berry suggests an even broader concept -- "racialism."

Racialism, penetrates all aspects of our society, especially the media. It is perpetuated by historical, sociological and ideological distinctions between races. it molds itself into simpler and subtler forms of racism. It is born out of what sociologist, Herman Gray calls, "America's storehouse of racial memory." It can be accepted, created and used by any individual from any culture.

Images of African Americans in our culture abound—on television, in film, on the radio and in print. Mediated Messages and African American Culture examines these images and messages from a wholistic perspective. It brings together works by leading scholars on vital topics like rap, music black men and the police, television, Black Americans and the American dream, news and the O.J. Simpson murder case, sex on soaps, framing stories of racially comparative risk, newspaper coverage of the L.A. riots, the new ghetto aesthetic and cultural engineering through the films of Spike Lee. Case studies and a mixture of theory and practice make this text a thorough analysis of the image and portrayal of African Americans in the media.

Copyright 2002 Berry Books
Developed by: Canteen Publishing Group