Negative Stereotypes Reinforced

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Movies/Entertainment

Black people are shown in a stereotypical manner in movies, which reinforces negative stereotypes that are present in our society.
It is common for Blacks in movies to use vulgar language, perform physical violence, and engage in crime. Blacks are rarely given leading roles. In film, Blacks are portrayed as being poor, criminals, and violent. Blacks commonly play roles of “gangstas,” “thugs,” and “criminals.” This is absurd. How often do we see a black male playing the role of a successful business man? When are black actors given roles that counteract the negative stereotypes of society and shine light on the fact that all Blacks do not reflect common assumptions? All Blacks are not “pimps” and “whores.” The film industry reinforces the negative stereotypes tied to the Black race. In film, Black actors are not given the chance to play roles that reflect their community in a positive way.  What will it take for Black actors to obtain the power and privilege to perform any role they choose to? Instead of forcing Black actors to play roles that reinforce negative stereotypes, the film industry should give them the chance to show the world how flawed our assumptions are.


  1. I loved your blog by the way and I also concur. African Americans are portrayed in films as the “bad guy” or the thug. We rarely see any inspirational roles like the parts Denzel W, or Will Smith gets for in some movies. I have also noticed that a lot of Black actors are the first to die off in movies. This is seen in a great percentage of horror movies and action films. I believe one of the solutions would be to stop auditioning for these roles, however how many are actually willing to do that? This is especially true it they are getting paid quick money to do it. Just a question to think about.

    Raven H.

  2. kpmonr01 says:

    I just read in the news today that Whoopi Goldberg is upset that there is not enough racial diversity in film. I think she is upset that there were not more blacks up for grammys. I think that what you said has a lot to do with that. Black actors are not given the lead roles that would enable them to be up for grammy nominations.
    Also another thing I would like to add is that rap videos give black guys a bad name. Those videos are very steriotypical.

  3. Ethan says:

    One stereotype that i have always been curious about is the “Black Guy dies first” one. Why does Hollywood find it neccisary to kill off this person first. I personally belive that it may have something to do with the white audience being less upset about a “black” individual dieing off right away than a “white” one. I do understand the director’s intentions on having someone die early in the movie, so that they can set up a tone for the movie, but why does this individuall almost always seem to be black. I my on observations this trend seems to be dieing out recently, but movies made in the 90’s where full of this trend.
    I do agree with Raven that the solution to this issue would to be to stop auditioning for these roles and that may be a contributing factor to why we are seeing less of it.

    this link is to a clip of a movie called “Canadian Bacon” where 3 guys sit around a campfire and start listing off movies that the black guy dies first in. I figured I would include it to provide a list of examples and to help give another look at this situation.

    -Ethan G.

  4. Stephanie Underwood says:

    I think that our world really is flawed. In most movies if there is an African American actor they portray a criminal or just the bad person in general. We talked about this in class the other day and said how when you think about black you think of dark, criminal, and other bad things. I think this is how our society sees things and I think that our society needs to change its way. I would like it if the moviemakers would change up things, for a movie to come out and the bad person not be African American but another race. I also enjoyed reading this blog, straight forward with the facts!

    Stephanie U Comm 275

  5. I agree with the stereotyping of African Americans in movies because all the movies I have seen blacks males are always the ones who are performing the crimes, going to jail, or hurting their community. And black women are always the individuals playing the poor roles or the slutty roles in movies. It’s also true that there a few movies with African Americans playing successful roles. For example, Will Smith in Hitch, he is a successful business man trying to hitch individuals together. Today, there are a lot of African Americans with unique talents and wanting to pursue an acting career but they aren’t given the chance because of all the stereotypes against them. So I agree with Emma when she says the media needs to give African Americans a chance and the opportunity to choose a bigger and more important role in movies.

    Shaniquequa Tyler

  6. leleblog120 says:

    In the Jackson reading, it talks about how black people have been given roles in the media that have tended to strengthen and perpetuate the negative stereotypical images that white people have created. This text reads that black people played the roles of maids, janitors, and cooks while rolling their eyes and having elaborate body language because these were the characteristics that whites found entertaining. Even though people claim that the image of blacks on television are changing, I’m sure we can all think of many instances that prove that phrase to be false. Yes, film has evolved to show some successful black, but black stereotypes are still portrayed through the big screen by far.

    Leyou Belayneh

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