The Myth and Reality of the American Melting Pot

Examines the role which the media plays in promoting ideas of racial harmony and stereotyping in the United States.

Using, among others, Vincent N. Parillo’s essay , « Causes of Prejudice » as a source, this paper shows that Americans are not unique either in the fictional absence of racism in the dominant media and culture or in the general, permeating presence of racism within various aspects of American society. The paper shows that television may not truly be color-blind, but it has helped to increase interracial familiarity, shatter some stereotypes, fortify the comfort zone and multiply the number of black role models for everyone in America. The paper warns, however, that if not wisely deployed, television can play into the psychological factors discussed by Parrillo and simply provoke more institutionalized and societal racism.

One must remember that prejudice is not merely confined to the American past. It is present in the American media today. Today, it sometimes seems as though the American media is growing progressively more integrated in its construction. Yet television and the integration of a mass, as opposed to a community media also allows for individuals to meet on the screen, without truly interacting with individuals upon a personal level. Individuals meet the media construction before they meet the human being of a different race or ethnicity, much as C.P. Ellis met stereotypes of Blacks in the white Southern rhetoric of his area, rather than actual individuals. People see a Black person accused of a crime before they meet a Black father or a Black child in school.

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