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The Impact of Negative Stereotypes & Representations of African-Americans in the Media and African-American Incarceration

  • Author(s): Johnson, Tamara Therese
  • Advisor(s): Stevenson, Brenda
  • et al.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the sociological impact of public polices enacted during slavery in the United States. Another goal was to discover whether the negative stereotypes of African-Americans in film are related to the reinforcement of negative perceptions established during slavery. Finally, a review of the disparate outcomes produced by new discriminatory policies within the criminal justice system details the impact of current policies that disproportionately impact African-Americans. This thesis examined qualitative research (books and films) analyzing the impact of policies and stereotypes that engender disparate treatment of African-Americans and perpetuate racism in the United States. Research indicated that media reinforces negative stereotypes of African-Americans engendering false perceptions of African-Americans as deviants and criminals, thus causing disproportionate rates of incarceration among African-Americans. Research also illustrated that policies enacted to "combat" crime have a disparate impact on African-Americans because of the prevalence of harmful media (film) imagery.

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