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Television and Citizenship

Asian Americans and African Americans in Their Pursuit for American Citizenship

The history of the development of American citizenship is accompanied by diverse episodes, including the abolition of slavery, the Gold Rush, racial discrimination issues, and many other moments from the past which explains through what challenges minority groups should overcome to enter the American society and be accepted by the majority. In the course of the history, many stereotypes have been shaped about Asian American and African Americans which creates significant barriers on their way to better life in the United States. Additionally, civil society and norms should also be considered while deliberating on the differences and similarities of both groups (Diaspora 4 slide). Both groups have to deal with the pressure on the part of the majority group, but still there were different path that they had to go through.

It should be admitted that many Asian Americans have had to overcome many obstacles on the way to the American Dream. They faced great problems from outside their communities, including racial discrimination, low incomes, and many other hindrances which made it difficult for them to live in the world of stereotypes and prejudices. According to Hector, Asian American community has always been considered a foreign national group residing in the United States (71). The cultural and social background, along with the rich history of capture and acceptances provides a sufficient explanation of how Asian American groups fought for independence, equality, and recognition.

Recently, many communities have considered Asian Americans to be a model minority because of their difference from other ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Specifically, magazines, newspapers, and television broadcasts often state that Asians in the country have excelled in business, technology, education, and sciences. In education, Asian Americans are distinguished by their exceptional academic performance, as well as they made to the American competitiveness at a global level. Such a stereotype is a positively represented description of Asian Americans, which were not always like that (Hector 91). Specifically, the first generation of Asians was represented by Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans who have come to the New Land in the pursuit of better life. It has been reported later, that during the World War II, more than 110,000 of Japanese people lived in the West Coast. Currently, the Japanese Diaspora successfully develops.

The fact of African Americans takes it roots in the times of the slavery, when the African people were migrated from the continent to the new world in the capacity of slaves to white people. However, the long history has allowed the minority group to defend its freedoms and human rights and abolish the slavery. As Cunningham states, Asian Diasporas were wrongly portrayed by media, causing cultural and moral debates concerning the different circumstances leading to misunderstanding (139). There are many barriers and challenges connected with the fight for racial equality, which lasted till the middle of the past century. Therefore, the attention to this issue should be discussed while comparing and contrasting the paths of both minority groups.

In contrast to the Asian Americans, the stereotypes about black people living in the United States date back to the seventeenth century, since the emergence of first slaves in Africa, which were imported to different colonies. The social and cultural contexts prove that African Americans have the most difficult way toward recognition and acceptance in the United States (Cunningham 140). Although the newcomers from England were not native either, they still managed to prevail in their control of the new continent, leaving other ethnic groups marginalized and under the pressure of their laws and moral principles.

Citizenship in Television

Looking through the student’s presentation I have found useful information about the role of media in shaping cultural citizenship. In fact, media has long been considered the major manipulator of all historic, social, and cultural events all over the world. According to Hermes, the representation of racial discrimination and distorted vision of social life could contribute to the ignition of conflicts, and development of prejudice about specific ethnic and national groups (51). This is also of particular concern to the radio and broadcasting. Due to the fact that U.S. public broadcasters have always been made to pay attention to economic survival and have had to focus on distinct alternatives to commercial sphere, the public broadcasting, therefore, should be considered as something more than a marketing term because it offers a broader schedule within which citizenship could be identified. American radio audience can be characterized as well-educated, successful individuals, and, most interestingly, white, which is a tangible deviation from the modern representation of American citizens, who represent different nationalities, and international culture.

Television plays a crucial role in developing modern stereotypes about African-American men, being presented as dangerous criminals. The TV shows also introduces black people as athletes or entertainers. However, these artificially created stereotypes negatively affect African American population and make them more susceptible to the negative attitude on the part of police officers and white citizens (Jung, Fuller, Cheung (Ansel), and Proctor slide 5). The role of citizenship in information society is identified by the government who should take control of the media representation and provide a new vision of the American society. Yet, these norms are not always followed. Specifically, the task of media is to attract attention of a specific group whose concerns, needs, and interest still differ from one group to another in cultural, social, and political spheres (Miller 135). Currently, broadcasting is a more commercialized form of information exchange that brings in millions of dollars to the state budget. Using radio and television broadcasting which is based on the commercial message attracts more and more clients. Despite the fact that the majority or broadcasters consider themselves as non-commercial organizations, they opposed to the radio commercialization of radio. Such ambivalence contributed to the new perceptions accepted by the audience, which considered television and broadcast as a free entertainment. At the same time, none of the broadcasting organization cannot deny the fact that public sector is among the major audiences, which should be controlled and manipulated. Therefore, their perceptions and outlooks on media play an important role in the nature and character of news delivered.

The history of broadcasting reveals the constantly changing roles of media in the lives of Americans. The most important issue in broadcasting focuses on the possibility of delivering the information to clients beyond the reach of mass periodicals. Radio reached those characteristics, revealing the great number of opportunities for delivering information and promoting consumerism among the audience. As a result of these developments and changes, the broadcasting system has become confused with the media advertisers who made use of the media devices for manipulating the masses. The audience has gradually been transferred into consumers who are attracted by the news and advertizing broadcasted via channels. Since the process of consumerization, the radio has become the symbol that eliminates class distinction in society because it introduces equally all information and opportunity, which is also featured in class consumption (Miller 140). Consumerism has played a significant role in promoting distorted images of nationally determined groups, as well as developing new stereotypes and prejudices. Furthermore, offering simultaneous and common experience to all social layers, the radio broadcasters tended to obliterate differences among them. In such a way, it was possible to promote democratic principles and blur the distinction between urban and modern. Hence, television and radio broadcasting has played a major role the development of citizenship, making them feel equal in perceiving information.

Legitimating Television

In the studies by Newman and Levine, the attention has been given to the idea that television has undergone significant transformation, which is predominantly positive. The television industry and media devices reveals that there are many shows and programs, along with technologies, which highlight the evident rise of media, deviating from the previous image of manipulation and reputation of an “idiot box”. The television is recently trying to advance to a more respectable level among the elite layers of population. However, there are certain conflicting ideological implications to achieving this purpose because television’s status can only be achieved on the account of the development of new forms of TV unworthiness. These forms relate to the audience represented by lower classes and women. According to Newman and Levine, that previously, “television was no more than a clunky household appliance, the product of corporate machination, ruled by the plebeian tastes of the masses”. Therefore, it was impossible to predict the emergence of other ideological underpinning for delivering news on the TV. However, the transmittance to another form of TV communication has allowed people to gain a deeper understanding of the important mission taken by the TV reporters, such as the delivery of timely news. It should still be admitted that television could not be deprived of subjectivity and hidden message imposed on each television channel. Nonetheless, the mission of the current television shows has changed completed.

Newman and Levine have admitted that it is high time to talk about such concept as legitimating of the television because of the evident improvements. These improvements refer to such issues, as the audience fragmentation, the technological convergence, distribution of outlets, the use of the internet, and the aesthetic development. These aspects have become central to the reception and production of the television in a more environment. At the same time, recognizing these forces does not put them into context or explain its cultural importance. These changes have caused the emergence of new forms and designs of TV programming they have laid the foundation for legitimizing the TV production. The Golden Age, therefore refer to the times when such aspects as gender, class and social status are ignored while delivering news.

It is obvious that television represents the American mass and consumerist culture, which is aimed at bringing in social good. Mass culture is articulated to the most manipulative and vulnerable groups in society who are not able to ignore criticism and who are deprived of taste. In fact, television’s audience has always been compared to the masses who are attracted to the television’s commercials and programs. Currently, the conception has been changed. There are many programs that focus on science, culture, history, medicine, politics, and technology, which allow the audience to choose the channel which suits best his tastes. The customization has a good impact on the TV-producers, increasing ratings and promoting a new image and appraisal of television, being a part of mass culture. At the same time, some old features have been left that are associated with the development of commercials and advertising campaigns which could be excluded from the mass media culture.

The era of convergence focus on the television set as the film screen, which emphasizes the new television standards. Television is no longer the science of status, but a means of receiving information, knowledge, or entertaining. The existence of difference designs and high definitions also allow individuals to choose the model that fits best their needs. In such a way, it is also possible to reach authenticity, making a television a new notion in the context of information exchange. In general, the author have managed to render the history of television, including changes, improvements, and perception of the audience. There are many variables that have been replacing in the course of time and have left significant contributions to the social development.

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