Cultural Communication Values and the Challenges of Intercultural Communication

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The majority of people believe they are superior to others. Even if self-confidence is a desirable thing, it's also crucial to remember that other people matter. Americans have abused African Americans for a long time, mostly because they think they are superior to them. When African Americans arrived in the US to work as slaves, the issue began several years ago. These people were employed by Americans to work for them on their vast plantations in exchange for food, clothing, and other necessities. Americans hardly ever see anything positive about African Americans as a result. They don't think black people are capable of producing anything useful (Lupack, 2016). This paper discusses the Cultural Communication Values and Intercultural Communication Challenges between Americans and African Americans.

The concepts of stereotyping and ethnocentrism

Starting by defining the two terms, stereotyping, it is the act of preconceiving someone’s behavior, character or ability to do something based on their race or ethnic backgrounds while ethnocentrism believes in the inherent superiority of an individual’s ethnic group. In the United States, African Americans are stereotyped while Americans have ethnocentrism themselves. Most Americans believe that African Americans can produce nothing useful while they believe in themselves and those from their race. African Americans find it hard to find jobs, it is hard for them to intermarry, and they were denied rights to vote and many other forms of discrimination just because of stereotyping (Rouse & Rouse, 2001).

Examples of how African Americans are stereotypically represented by the local and national media in the U.S

In the United States, African Americans have been stereotypically represented by both the local and national media,. They are portrayed as leeches and criminals as compared to white Americans. For example, Universal Studio’s, ABC’s, NBC’s, and the Paramount Pictures of the world are the propagators of inescapable stigmas where most African Americans were left behind after the shackles of segregation and discrimination were broken. The media resurface these inevitable stigmas and negative stereotypes on the big screen movies, newscasts, and sitcoms. Historically, the portrayal of African Americans in television and movies is less than ideal. Regardless of whether it is not appearing at all or appearing in disparaging roles, African Americans are victims the of industry (Fields, 2016). Most of the national media like Newspapers, CNN, NBC, and ABC in their news they tend to portray many general social problems like theft, rape, robbery, and traffic offenses among others as dilemmas involving or caused by African Americans, thereby promoting the image of blacks as burdens or source of threat to the American society (Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2007).

The media stereotypes with research about the culture communication value orientations

As previously stated, African Americans have been treated as second-class citizens by the white since the inception of the U.S. They were forcibly brought to the U.S to become slaves for the white people. For a long time, they had been stereotyped as being animal-like, sub-human, violent, childish, irresponsible, submissive, cowardly, foolish, stupid, and lazy, these views are still being held today. All these degrading stereotypes are nowadays being promoted and reinforced by the negative portrayal of African Americans in the media. For example, since the film industry began in 1888, African American characters have been appearing in the American movies, but no African American was ever employed to play the black character role throughout early works. Instead, the film industry used to hire white actresses and actors who had to wear the blackface to play the black characters role (Luther, Lepre & Clark, 2012). 

The refusal by film industry to hire African Americans actors or actress to play black characters was a massive demeaning stereotype that was created to portray African Americans as being not in a favorable light. Moreover, African Americans are always portrayed in the films with negative stereotypes that promoted whites over blacks. All these of have had a significant effect on the American society’s views of African Americans to the motion pictures that have a high impact towards public mind or opinion compared to another medium of entertainment (Baker, 2006).

Among the value dimensions in the U.S is that of individualism vs. collectivism. Individualistic cultures like that of U.S, especially the whites are more concerned with individual rights like autonomy, privacy, and freedom. That way the white use media to stereotype the African Americans, because they see themselves as special, unique, and free to express their emotions, opinions, and individual thoughts. They value self-reliance and independence and emphasize inner motivation and individuals’ responsibility. However, regardless of stereotyping in the U.S media, the individualistic also value equity and that’s why in the U.S all people have equal rights in everything (Park, 2010).

How mass-mediated stereotypes may affect my communication with a member of this cultural group

It is the mass-mediated stereotypes, which set the tone for the image, values, and morals of our culture. Many individuals in the U.S, especially those of us who had never encountered African American, profoundly believes that the degrading or demeaning of African Americans is based reality other than fiction. Everything that whites feel concerning African Americans is highly determined by what they see and read from the newspaper and television. Even after the century of movie production, these negative stereotypes continue to plague the U.S today. Therefore, until these negative images concerning African Americans are extinguished from the media, then African American will continue being regarded as second-class citizens. The media, particularly television is very influential when it comes to adoption of beliefs. Therefore, until new media, film, and entertainment industry is created that this is more representative of the reality concerning how American society look today, then it will be difficult for whites and African Americans to interact freely (Luther, 2012).

Conclusion

According to the above explanations, both the local and the national media of the United States is responsible for what most Americans today considers as a stereotype, ethnocentrism, and racism acts. Even though a lot of progress has been made in the industry, there are still significant, substantial trials that can still be found. Although it is hard to apply pressure to the major film and network producers, especially when they are making huge money from these movies, newscasts, and shows, it would be of great help if they can consider the importance and contribution of minorities to the U.S society. It would be great if the industry owners can refrain from producing self-disparaging television shows and movies that continue to drive racism, segregation, and discrimination and, start producing shows and movies that portray the today American society (Luther, 2012).

References

Baker, W. E. (2006). America's crisis of values: Reality and perception.

Fields, C. (2016). Stereotypes and Stereotyping. Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Films for the Humanities and Sciences & Films Media Group. (2007). Racial stereotypes in the media.

In Lupack, B. T. (2016). Early race filmmaking in America.

Rouse, M. J., & Rouse, S. (2001). Business communication: Strategy and culture. London: Thomson Learning.

Luther, C. A., Lepre, C. R., & Clark, N. (2012). Diversity in U.S. mass media. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Park, J., & Abels, E. G. (2010). Interpersonal relations and social patterns in communication technologies: Discourse norms, language structures and cultural variables. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

March 10, 2023
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