Toni color. These stereotypes result in a detrimental

Toni Spencer

November 22, 2017

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Professor Stallworth

A Broken Family

Ethnocentric biases often have a
negative connotation as it relates to the structure in black families. According
to Professor Kelly Raley,
Megan Sweeney, and Danielle Wondra, African American women “Marry later in life, are less
likely to marry at all, and have higher rates of marital instability” (par 1) Without
a strong black family structure there can be psychological consequences to all
parties involved as well as a domino effect throughout generations. The deterioration of the image of the
black family which is stimulated through the media creates nadir levels of
self-worth and mental stability within the black community which leads to the
inclination of marital instability for African Americans. This trend between
African American couples can be mitigated by introducing positive images of
black love and relationships throughout the media as well as implementing
programs for millennials on the details of marriage and the logistics of
martial institutions. 

Society has placed adverse
stereotypes on the black family depicting a household led by a strong black
couple as a mere delusion. According to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in his 1965 The Negro Family: The Case for National
Action, “At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society
is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the
weakness of the Negro community at the present time” (p 6). In this
controversial report, Moynihan details the black family as a weakly bonded
relationship which stimulates the social and economic setbacks rooted within
the black community. Moynihan’s description aided in stimulating the typecast
black family as a government assisted, impoverished matriarchal household. This
depiction was widely accepted creating the stereotypical black family.  Consequently, African Americans suffered from
a lack of enlightening portrayals of marital stability within people of color.
These stereotypes result in a detrimental attitude in African Americans and
creating safe and healthy relationships between spouses.

 After the Moynihan report
incentivized the image of the stereotypical black family, the media imparted in
further illustrating the black family in a negative light, only adding to the
detriment placed on the African American views of the marital institution.
According to Dr. Thomas E Ford of Western Michigan University, “Television and
other media can be powerful priming agents, activating constructs that
subsequently influence social judgment.” The media has a large impact on the
social construct of what the black family looks like. Consequently, when the
black family is displayed in a negative light by the media it shifts the
context in which African Americans view the marital relationship. Ford also
stated, “upon exposure to stereotypical television
portrayals of social groups, people should be more likely to perceive
individual members of those groups (but not nonmembers) through the lens of the
activated stereotypical representation.” This exemplifies that how black
families are represented in the media attribute to the perceptions African
Americans have about their own families. When depicted pessimistically within
the media it ascribes to substandard outlooks on marriage which weaken the
African American  family structure.
According to Ford, the stereotypical portrayals of African-Americans presumably
activated a stereotypical mental representation of the African-American
category rather than merely a few negative traits. Furthermore, even though the
target’s behavior was relevant to the content of the representation primed by
the stereotypical television portrayals, exposure to those portrayals affected
judgments of the target only when he was assumed to be African-American. The
issue of poor media representation is one that is very common among the black
community. Society is more accepting of stereotypical black depictions which
leads to a greater detriment to the black community. The further this type of
representation is accepted throughout society the greater impact it has on the
minds of African Americans.

The defective attitudes towards
African Americans within society lead to psychological problems within African
American adults resulting in greater stress on the black family. According
to the US HHS Office of Minority Health, 
“adult Black/African Americans are 20
percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult
whites.” African Americans are place under a significant amount of stress. Not only
do they have to deal with marital issues they face exclusion within society for
the color of their skin. According to Mental Health America, “racism continues
to have an impact on the mental health of Black/African Americans.
Negative stereotypes and attitudes of rejection have decreased, but continue to
occur with measurable, adverse consequences.” This illustrates the impact that
racism has had within the black community. The detriment inflicted on those of
African descent has become a prevalent characteristic within the construction
of both self-esteem and self-love.

 The consequences of this exclusion result in
low self-esteem as well as mediocre self-love for the black body. The article also stated, of the 13.2 percent of blacks that
make up the African American population in America 16 percent have had a
diagnosable mental illness within the last year. These
issues make it difficult for African Americans to have prosperous relationships
with mental instability caused by racial exclusion.  These types of
detrimental feelings can create a divide within black families.  It
was also reported that “adult Black/African
Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and
worthlessness than are adult whites. “In order to have a healthy and prosperous relationship it
is imperative that both parties understand their own self-worth which is
lacking within the black community. Without self-love
it becomes difficult to provide the appropriate emotional and mental stability
needed to support a marriage for both counterparts.

Overall, it is essential that black
families are uplifted from this crisis and rebuild strong black structures for
the posterity. This can be achieved through first providing more positive and
inspirational depictions of black love throughout television. The greatest
influence in the world right now is the media. If some good black role models
could come and show the world what a strong black family looks like not only
would people pay attention maybe they could see themselves through whatever
they’re watching and realize the possibility of a happily married black couple.
However, it is essential that we as a society separate ourselves from the heavy
influence the media has and direct our own discourse.  Another solution to this crisis is to provide programs
demonstrating both the consequences and benefits of marriage and the
romanticized as well as the realistic side. Far too often do people marry
because they feel as though that is what you’re supposed to do however, if
youth comprehend the foundation of marriage and the
critical components that keep families together they may pursue long lasting
matrimonies. If positive role models influence youth, they can have a positive
outlook before the strong holds placed by society create a barrier. Ultimately,
there is a monotonous need rebuild the black family structure. The betterment of
the African Americans relies on working as unit to not only us as individuals but
how operate as a team.





Works Cited

“Black & African American Communities and Mental
Health.” Mental Health America, 3 Apr.        2017,

Ford, Thomas E. “Effects of Stereotypical Television
Portrayals of African-Americans on Person            Perception.”
Social Psychology Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 3, 1997, p. 266.,          doi:10.2307/2787086.

Patterson, James T. “Moynihan Report, The.” The Wiley
Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race,         Ethnicity,
and Nationalism, 2015, pp. 1–3., doi:10.1002/9781118663202.wberen019.

Raley, R K, et al. “The Growing
Racial and Ethnic Divide in U.S. Marriage Patterns.” The          Future of children., U.S. National
Library of Medicine, 2015,