By Dennis Rome
The stereotype of the African American male as a criminal element in society continues to be a major obstacle to greater racial harmony and the elimination of discrimination and racism on all levels. Often, this criminal stereotype is internalized by African American youth, so they are made to feel as though delinquent behavior is expected from them, and many fall into this trap. Black Demons examines this stereotype and contends that much of the blame for its perpetuation comes from U.S. mass media's negative depictions of African American males. Rome argues that these images foster the myths that help to deepen and strengthen the stereotypes that have plagued the African American community since colonial times. By examining the origins of this criminal stereotype, how it has been used historically, and how it is presently employed, Rome reveals a dangerous current in media depictions of African Americans, one that threatens that community and taints U.S. society as it tries to overcome the legacy of racism in the United States.