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African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons Essay


Introduction

Over the last 2 decades, media industry played a huge role in determining how people socialized in our communities1. Media can greatly influence how individuals in our societies relate and understand one another. In the past, media critics have alleged that African Americans are prejudiced and underrepresented in the media industry. Similarly, African Americans claim that their underrepresentation in the media industry has not only stereotyped them, but also limited their roles in the industry. As such, the newspapers preserve specific roles in the caricatures depicting African American actors2.

By doing so, the industry has enhanced stereotypes and prejudices against the race. In the research questions, the article below analyses how African Americans are depicted in editorial cartoons and in their daily lives3. Similarly, the article illustrates the racial stereotypes displayed in Canadian editorial cartoons and their daily lives. The article is subdivided into introduction, literature review, research questions, operationalization, findings, data analysis, reflections, and conclusions subheadings.

Literature review

Race is a term used by a number of people in reference to specific clusters of people notable by bodily features such as skin colors. Racism refers to a set of thoughts, which suggests the dominance of a single social group over others. Dominance arises due to differences in biological or cultural traits across various races. On the other hand, stereotypes refer to overgeneralization with respect to the outlook, conduct, or other traits unique to a specific cluster of people.

According to Cohen Karl, cartoon editorials depict different races depending on the stereotypes exhibited by the society4. By doing so, the media industry has enhanced stereotypes and prejudices against specific races5. Before slavery was abolished in North America, African American were depicted using coon caricatures6. The caricatures linked the African Americans with apes. Through this, the authorities were able to justify slavery. During much of the 20th century, cartoon portrayals of African Americans as apes were to some extent more understated7. According to Reeves Andy, a number of the anti-African American cartoon depictions were directed against the African American celebrities.

Given these challenges, newspaper editors and media stakeholders are now trying to tackle the alleged accusations8. Currently, newspaper editors are expanding their boundaries to allow equal representation of all races in the industry regardless of their race or gender. Through this, the cartoonists are encouraged to come up with portraits that do not depict negative stereotypes against any race.

Research questions

The research paper identified how the media industry plays an influential responsibility on how people perceive races. The media industry portrays how different races relate. In the recent past, the media has been condemned for meddling with the intention of realizing racial equality and propagating undesirable racial prejudices9. Given these challenges and the historical stereotypes of African American, the media fraternity should tackle the alleged accusations. They should try to expand their boundaries to allow equal representation of all races in the industry. Highlighted below are the research questions the study sought to find solutions.

  1. Research: How are different African Americans depicted in editorial cartoons?
  2. Rational: To find out what racial stereotypes, if any are displayed in Canadian editorial cartoons?

Operationalization

As indicated below, the unit of observation was editorial cartoons. During the research process, the variable was the African American race. To assess the key variables, a coding scheme was utilized. The coding scheme depicted African American race into three categories. The categories were positive, negative, and neutral. With respect to negative stereotypes, African American cartoons in editorial cartoons were depicted as beings with anti-social conducts and socially unacceptable behaviors such as committing crimes, carrying weapons, public indecency, deviance, lazy, and shabbily dressed. Concerning positive stereotypes, they are depicted as people with acts of charity, intelligence, hard work, and well dressed. With respect to neutral stereotypes, the race was depicted as open-minded and conservative.

For this study, the data were collected through field research. The method entailed acquiring public data from secure and reliable criminal justice institutions, face-to-face interviews, and questionnaires. Based on the above, it is apparent that to measure the key variables the extent of the above prejudices have to be measured. Usually, scholars find it challenging to quantity prejudice. Measuring prejudice is challenging because individuals vary in the manner and degree of prejudice they exhibit. For instance, an individual who comes up with belittling remarks about a specific race may be narrow-minded or just uninformed.

In addition, individuals often do not confess to being biased. Individuals may harbor inherent racial biases even when they do not have obvious prejudices. Inherent prejudices can be measured in three methods. Various investigators evaluate attitudes that point to the presence of prejudice in an individual. Other investigators observe conduct instead of evaluating attitudes. Individual’s conduct in nerve-wracking conditions may be chiefly beneficial at disclosing inherent prejudice. Other researchers measure the unconscious relations individuals exhibit with respect with a specific race.

To measure the effects of these prejudices to the African American race, a questionnaire was adopted to determine how people react or feel about them. In the questionnaire, the African American were asked to detail their perspectives about how they are depicted in editorial cartoons. On the other part of the questionnaire, several questions measured on a five point Linker scale were included. Linker scale is a variable measuring tool with strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree options. The scale was very effective because it indicated the extent of the prejudice in our society.

To find out what racial stereotypes, if any are displayed in Canadian editorial cartoons, the researchers collected data from the magazines and newspapers’ libraries. The data indicated the current and the past editorial cartoons depicting the African American race. The scale of measurement during the analysis was an ordinal scale. Reviewing editorial cartoons focusing on African American race published over the time the restrictive policies on racial prejudice have been in place is an effective and secure method of evaluating how the media has implemented such policies.

Race
(Variable)
Negative stereotypes Neutral depiction Positive Stereotypes Other
African American Anti-social, exhibit socially unacceptable behavior such as committing crime, carrying a weapon, public indecency, deviance, lazy, and shabbily dressed Open minded and conservative Acts of charity, intelligence, hard worker, and well dressed

Data sampling

To achieve our objectives, appropriate data sampling tools were selected for this research. As such, the research utilized probability sampling10. The research entailed two units of analysis. The units were the cartoon editorials and the African American race. The population targeted by the research comprised of all the newspaper and magazines firms. The research comprised of 50 editorials from Globe, Star, and Post11. On the other hand, the sampling frame comprised of the list of all the editorials sampled. The lists were randomly selected. The scale of measurement was an ordinal scale. The sampling criterion strengthens the study as it enabled the researchers to reach the targeted participants. The whole research was done within a period of 14 weeks.

Findings

For appropriate data findings, appropriate data collection method was selected. For this study, the data method was field research. This method entails acquiring data from secure and reliable newspapers. As indicated above, the research comprised of 50 editorials from Globe, Star, and Post12. A survey was undertaken among three media. In each of the three media, editorial cartoons on African American were analyzed. The findings were documented as indicated below:

  • 15, 10, 25, 0

To come up with a frequency table indicated below, several steps were undertaken. The above outcomes were broken into positive, neutral, negative, and other intervals. Thereafter, the intervals were grouped together. The intervals represented the number of prejudices. Afterwards, a table with separate columns was made. The interval columns indicated the number of prejudices noted in each category. Similarly, the columns represented the frequency and percentage of the outcome. Later, the researchers analyzed the list of statistics from left to right. Through this, the numbers of frequencies were placed in the appropriate row. For instance, positive outcomes were 15. Therefore, the figure was appropriately placed in the row containing positive stereotype subheading. The other outcomes were also appropriately placed. Finally, the percentage of each category was calculated. The percentages were then recorded in the column headed percentage. The frequency distribution table created by the researchers is indicated below.

Black Frequency Percent
Positive Stereotype 15 30
Neutral Depiction 10 20
Negative Stereotype 25 50
Other 0 0

Table 2: frequency distribution table indicating the frequency and percentage of each category.

Data analysis

After the data was collected, they were compiled and analyzed on a frequency distribution table. Later, frequency and percentage figures were obtained from the data collected. Thereafter, the data were analyzed for accuracy. From the table above, the researchers were able to identify the way different African Americans are depicted in editorial cartoons. Similarly, the tables enabled the researchers to identify the racial stereotypes displayed in Canadian editorial cartoons. Through the findings, the researchers were able to determine the racial prejudices in Canadian media.

From the table, it is apparent that a number of Canadian cartoons depicting African American are prejudiced. A number of the newspapers sampled depicted African American as beings with anti-social conducts and socially unacceptable behaviors such as committing crimes, carrying weapons, public indecency, deviance, lazy, and shabbily dressed. The percentage of negative prejudice was 50%. Thirty percent of the newspapers sampled had a positive prejudice of African American13. As such, the editorials depicted the race as people with acts of charity, intelligence, hard work, and well dressed. On the other hand, 20% of the editorials sampled had neutral prejudices of African American. The editorials depicted the race as open-minded and conservative.

Reflections

The strength of the research conducted is that it offered the researchers with a review of how African Americans are depicted in the cartoon editorial in Canada. The research findings are of benefits to the media stakeholder and activists. During the research process, a number of potential problems that are likely to influence the progress and outcomes affected the researchers14. For instance, the process of convincing individuals to be part of the study was difficult. For example, most individuals did not like to be involved in procedures that tend to question or investigate their biasness15.

Just like any other research, investigators were faced with ethical issues during their studies. Therefore, they had to be watchful when tackling ethical dilemmas encountered in the field16. The problem of consent had been recognized as one of the issues that were likely to affect the progress of the proposed research. In particular, the issue of examining the extend of racial prejudice in the identified individuals was a challenge because people tend to conceal information on prejudices against other races.

Conclusions

In conclusion, it should be noted that media industry played a huge role in determining how people socialized in our communities. Media can greatly influence how individuals in our societies relate and understand one another. In the past, media critics have alleged that African Americans are prejudiced and underrepresented in the media industry. Before slavery was abolished in North America, African American were depicted using coon caricatures. The caricatures linked the African Americans with apes. Through this, the authorities were able to justify slavery. During much of the 20th century, cartoon portrayals of African Americans as apes were to some extent more understated. The research paper above highlighted how the media industry plays an influential responsibility on how people perceive races. From the research findings, it is apparent that a number of Canadian cartoons depicting African American are prejudiced.

References

Babbie, Earl. Fundamentals of Social Research. Scarborough, ON: Nelson Thomson Learning, 2014. Web.

Booth, Wayne C., and Gregory G. Colomb. The Craft of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Web.

Cline, John. Contemporary Communication– Content Analysis. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub., 2002. Web.

Cohen, Karl F. Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland &, 2007. Web.

Krippendorff, Klaus. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 2003. Web.

Lentin, Alana, and Gavan Titley. The Crises of Multiculturalism Racism in a Neoliberal Age. London: Zed Books, 2011. Web.

Lynch, Stacy, and Limor Peer. Analyzing Newspaper Content A How-To Guide. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2002. Web.

Reeves, Andy. Cartoon Corner: Humor-based Mathematics Activities : A Collection Adapted from “Cartoon Corner” in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2007. Web.

Reiter, Roland. An Analysis of Movies, Documentaries, Spoofs and Cartoons. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2008. Web.

Satzewich, Vic. Racism in Canada. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2011. Web.

Steuter, Erin, and Deborah Wills. At War with Metaphor: Media, Propaganda, and Racism in the War on Terror. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008. Web.

The Globe. “The Globe and Mail – Home.” The Globe and Mail. 2015. Web.

The Post. “Today’s Press Covers Kiosko.net.” The National Post Canada. 2015. Web.

The star. “Canada’s Largest Daily.” Thestar.com. 2015. Web.

Valleriani, Kathleen A. Community Feedback on Second Content Analysis. Chicago: National Reading Conference, 2014. Web.

Wilson, Clint C., and Fe Rrez. Racism, Sexism, and the Media: The Rise of Class Communication in Multicultural America. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2003. Web.

Footnotes

1 Alana, Lentin, and Titley, Gavan. The Crises of Multiculturalism Racism in a Neoliberal Age. (London: Zed Books, 2011.), 123. Web.

2 Erin,Steuter and Wills Deborah. At War with Metaphor: Media, Propaganda, and Racism in the War on Terror. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008.), 32. Web.

3 Earl, Babbie. Fundamentals of Social Research. (Scarborough, ON: Nelson Thomson Learning, 2014.), 21. Web.

4 Karl, Cohen. Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland &, 2007.), 43. Web.

5 Wayne, Booth., and Colomb, Gregory. The Craft of Research. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.), 34. Web.

6 Vic, Satzewich. Racism in Canada. (Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2011.), 61. Web.

7 , Andy,Reeves. Cartoon Corner: Humor-based Mathematics Activities: A Collection Adapted from “Cartoon Corner” in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. (Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2007.), 54. Web.

8 John Cline. Contemporary Communication– Content Analysis. (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub., 2002.) 56. Web.

9 Clint C ,Wilson, and Rrez Fe. Racism, Sexism, and the Media: The Rise of Class Communication in Multicultural America. 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2003.), 21. Web.

10 Stacy, Lynch, and Peer, Limor. Analyzing Newspaper Content A How-To Guide. (Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2002.), 54. Web.

11 The star. “Canada’s Largest Daily.” Thestar.com. 2015. Web.

12 The Globe. “The Globe and Mail – Home.” The Globe and Mail. 2015. Web.

13 The Post. “Today’s Press Covers Kiosko.net.” The National Post Canada. 2015. Web.

14 Klaus, Krippendorff. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. (Beverly Hills:Sage Publications, 2003.), 67. Web.

15 Kathleen A Valleriani. Community Feedback on Second Content Analysis. (Chicago: National Reading Conference, 2014.), 17. Web.

16 Roland, Reiter. An Analysis of Movies, Documentaries, Spoofs and Cartoons. (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2008.), 145. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 9). African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-americans-stereotypes-in-editorial-cartoons/

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"African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons." IvyPanda, 9 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/african-americans-stereotypes-in-editorial-cartoons/.

1. IvyPanda. "African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons." June 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-americans-stereotypes-in-editorial-cartoons/.


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IvyPanda. "African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons." June 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-americans-stereotypes-in-editorial-cartoons/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons." June 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-americans-stereotypes-in-editorial-cartoons/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'African Americans Stereotypes in Editorial Cartoons'. 9 June.

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