Mass Communication: Principles and Practices

By Mary B. Cassata; Molefi K. Asante | Go to book overview

Chapter 10 Minorities: Coloring the Media

The news media have not communicated to the majority of their audience--which is white--a sense of the degradation, misery, and hopelessness of living in the ghetto. They have not communicated to whites a feeling for the difficulties and frustrations of being a negro in the United States. They have not shown understanding or appreciation of--and thus have not communicated--a sense of Negro culture, thought, or history. Kerner Commission Report


Minorities

The two largest racial and ethnic minority groups in America are the Afro-Americans or blacks and the Hispanic-Americans, comprising Puerto Ricans and Mexican-Americans. Collectively these groups represent about 50 million Americans. The issue of the media's response to and portrayal of racial and ethnic minorities is of long standing in the United States. In the nineteenth century Afro-Americans felt the need to develop their own newspapers in order to present factual accounts of black life in the United States. Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm began Freedom's Journal in 1827 in direct response to racism in the white press. Similarly for Mexican-Americans in the western part of the United States the establishment of El Clamor Publico (The Public Outcry) in 1855 was a reaction to the absence of a voice for Mexican-Americans. Its founder, Francisco P. Ramirez, was a champion of Mexican-American dignity. Thus the advent of minority newspapers in American society was a precursor of many contemporary racial issues.

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