From Publishers Weekly
The cultural, economic and social gap between white and black lives in America is regarded by many sociologists and scholars as enormous--largely because most white people learn about African-American life through the media, particularly television. Accordingly, professors Entman (communications, North Carolina University) and Rojecki (journalism, Indiana University) set out to analyze perceptions of race by surveying a wide range of American TV shows in which race is represented, including news broadcasts, dramas and commercials, as well as in Hollywood films. They discovered that overwhelmingly negative portrayals permeate American television. In addition to traditional characterizations, there are also "new forms of racial differentiation" that are more subtle but still biased (e.g., blacks appear in more commercials, but only for less-expensive products). Using nuanced measurements and arguments, the authors attempt to "get beyond any simple scheme that categorizes Whites as either racist or not" by working from a model that reflects "complicated and conflicted racial sentiments." Entman and Rojecki look at how television news focuses on black poverty and crime out of proportion to the material reality of black lives, how black "experts" are only interviewed for "black-themed" issues and how "black politics" are distorted in the news, and conclude that, while there are more images of African-Americans on television now than there were years ago, these images often don't reflect a commitment to "racial comity" or community-building between the races. Thoroughly researched and convincingly argued, this examination of how the mainstream media deals with race is a probing and useful addition to media studies. (June)
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From the Inside Flap
One of The Progressive's Best Books of 2000. Winner of the American Political Science Association's Robert E. Lane Award for Best Book in Political Psychology and the Frank Luther Mott-KTA Journalism and Mass Communication Book Award.
"This book has the potential to be the most important book on race in the past three decades."-David Sears
Drawing from close and creative analysis of television news reports, sitcoms, commercials, feature films, and from candid interviews with white Americans, The Black Image in the White Mind offers a comprehensive look at the intricate patterns of racial depiction in the mass media, revealing how those patterns shape and reflect the ambivalent attitudes of Whites toward Blacks.