Added: Shaunda Seagraves - Date: 20.10.2021 10:15 - Views: 20918 - Clicks: 9318
It is difficult to avoid the proliferation of TV commercials that feature white men at the head of Black families. The commercials, of course, are intended to sell products that range from cars to insurance to snack foods. Still, the depiction of scenes of intimacy that center white men in Black life can trigger painful memories of historical experience.
Such commercials can become instruments for destructive role modeling in the Black mind. They can codify a new symbol of white male dominance under the pretense of diversity — especially when the reality of interracial marriage is that Black men and white women far out the scenes promoted in the commercials.
This gender gap has been a longstanding one — in8 percent of recently married black men and 3 percent of their female counterparts were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity. As such, the commercials seem intent on marketing an image with a degree of political manipulation. Black Democrats, unfortunately, appear unprepared to question the role of commercials to influence the impressions of Black youth. Few Washington leaders are pressing for commercials that sell products and reinforce images of Black pride, love and self-determination.
One may question whether Democrats — and Black legislators, in particular — have a role to play in this issue.
Usually, critics of problematic resort to the courts to file complaints; historically, the courts have upheld commercial speech rights with limited exceptions such as pornography. This issue does not rise to that level. That said, Democrats may have a vested interest in the cultural effects of advertising and racial portrayals.
Those who sit on relevant congressional committees can raise questions and gather facts on the intentions of the advertising campaigns. By showing an interest, they may succeed in prodding advertisers to re-envision the broader messaging in the campaigns. The silence is especially notable when one considers that the commercials air during time slots of high visibility to Black youth. Pringlesfor example, features a young white man sitting at a kitchen table with a Black father commenting on how good his daughter kisses; Hyundai shows a Black woman and two children in a car driven by a white father on a mission to buy beef jerky; Nissan has a Black woman behind the wheel with two children and a white father speeding through the frozen tundra and other extreme locations.
Clearbluewhich produces a home pregnancy test, has a Black woman with a white man as she discovers a positive test result.
In contrast, Progressive depicts a meek white woman in an apartment building laundry room interested in meeting a new Black tenant. Such commercials can tap into unconscious myths in American racial and cultural history. One has to ponder about the mindset of advertising executives in creating the marketing campaigns.
The issue would be less noteworthy if not for the glaring lack of commercials that portray loving relationships between Black men and women — much less of Blacks in intimate spaces with friends and spouses of other non-white groups. Do these depictions fail to sell products — and, if so, why?
The potential for corrosive impact of the depictions has been explored by social psychologists in recent years. Clearly, the commercials do more than sell products; they also market images of economic power, values of race and color preference, and understandings of social hierarchy.
A consequence has been vulnerability to anxiety-related illness, poor health outcomes, and destructive social experiences. There is a growing body of research in this field. Social psychologists have recommended steps toward healing from the injuries of multi-generational oppression.
Among these are programs that focus on rebuilding self-esteem, reducing levels of stress and poor health, promoting social justice and pursuing reparations for past exploitations. One step forward would be the promotion of commercials that do more to affirm positive Black community experiences, accomplishments, loving relationships and male role models — just the opposite of how the current spate of interracial TV commercials may be socializing viewers.
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