Centuries ago, this nation was facing the most extreme racism it had ever seen because of slavery. The African-American race was completely dehumanized and discriminated against in every aspect of their lives because of this oppressive system, and although they finally achieved their goal of becoming free men it did not come with all of the changes they had expected. Even after they were considered to be just as much a citizen of the United States as any white man, the idea that they were inferior to the white race was belabored to them with everything they did in their daily lives. The color of their skin limited them from jobs they were capable of holding, and left them with only one option; to continue working for inhumanely cheat wages on the plantations they had already spent so much of their lives on. Although the stereotypes this race was labeled with in the past are so prominent in this nation’s history, this society in the United States has improved drastically in respecting the equal citizenship and opportunities of people no matter what their skin color.
In the past, every aspect of an African-American’s life constantly reminded them of the fact that they had a different skin color than those who were thought to be superior to them. This idea was publicized in every aspect of social life in the past, the Jim Crow laws physically segregated the black citizens to backs of busses, other sides of restaurants, different water fountains and all other aspects that today are thought of as basic rights. The discrimination that they faced in the country whose growth they had contributed so much to was only enhanced when it came to social media. Such as the cartoons we watched in class, black laborers were portrayed as embarrassing characters with low intelligence levels and social status. This fad did not diminish quickly; there are even examples in recent TV Series. In the show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, the commonly known theme song is a perfect example, in the theme song he is explaining why he was forced to move from West Philadelphia, and within the explanation he states that “some guys who were up to no good, started making trouble in my neighborhood”. This image could be interpreted as a group of boys of any race, maybe even a mix of different races, but instead they portray these guys as five large black boys with gold chains around their necks and black jumpsuits. This pattern of making groups of black boys seen inferior and dangerous was a very common pattern for social media, but even this example is a very subtle occurrence of social racism and that is because over time this fad has been lessening continuously.
In modern social media, African-American characters in movies and TV series rarely have their character based on their race. In TV series such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs” which are two sit-coms/soap operas placed in hospital settings, both have a primary character who is African-American and a talented and intelligent doctor. In “Scrubs”, Dr. Turk starts off as any surgical intern, but throughout his years at Sacred Heart Hospital he is promoted to the chief of surgery. One of Turk’s main obstacles in his career is how he feels men in the highest rankings of the medical system may judge him based on his race, but he proves time and time again how the stereotypes that are associated with African-American men are not based on the color of their skin. He constantly proves his abilities and strengths as a successful surgeon and overcomes any racial prejudices constantly. The fact that TV has transformed from blatant racial discriminations, to a subtle pattern of racial prejudices all the way to an era of supporting racial equality openly and affectively on programs that can be seen all around the world is inspiring and shows how much more accepting our nation has become.
As well as African-American’s playing the roles of successful black figures in the world of their sit-coms; they also play a key role in social media which is working behind the cameras. This opportunity that so many famous directors such as Salim Akil, Janice Cook, Paris Barclay and many more, have earned is more than those from the history of this nation ever would have expected. These directors have made millions and have been so successful in their work, which only reiterates the point that in today’s society the idea that the color of one’s skin may restrict them in their goals is completely false, and if a person tries hard enough they can achieve anything somebody of a different race could.
This nation has come far in the past few centuries, during the freedom of the slaves and when this country was facing issues about the oppressive system that their economy strived on, the idea of living in equality with African-Americans was nearly impossible to most citizens. Although they believed that their chances were slim, the African-American race followed their leaders and used their initiative to advance them to where they are today. This nation is no longer one that will limit a person based on the color of their skin, because if somebody shows the necessary skills and initiative to achieve a goal for themselves, then that is all that matters.