Mass media means technology that is intended to reach a mass audience as a primary means of communication to the general public. Newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the internet are example of Media (Sara O, 2018). Furthermore, according to Merriam Webster; the term media is defined as a medium of cultivation, conveyance and expression. The dictionary also alludes to this word as a plural or singular of mass media. (Merriam-Webster collegiate Dictionary, 2019). This definition implies that media is a way or medium that can influence cultivation of media messages; media can also be used to convey messages and a means through which people express themselves. The term influence is defined as the power to change or affect someone or something or the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen. (Merriam-Webster collegiate Dictionary, 2019) The key word in this definition is the power to change. Therefore, two things are going to be discussed in this assignment; the power of media on society and the power of on media.
The discussion will however, be based on the movie “The Hate You Give”. This a 2018 drama based on a book written by Angie Thomas while, the movie script is written by Audrey Wells. It tells the coming-of-age story of a black teenager, Starr (Amandla Stenberg) who is against the oppression of black people while, white privilege, gang wars, drug trade and all the complexities that come with being black emerges in every issue. The movie offers a diverse perception of the experiences that come with being born Black in America. (Peter Bradshaw, 2018)
The power of media over society versus the power of society on the media
The power of media on the society is seen through its ability to influence how people feel about something or someone, what someone they should have and should not have and how one should be treated by society. This is to say that, “The hate you give” as a form of media presents to the mass audience, the true situation between the Black community and the white community in America. The movie shows that these two communities are torn apart by colour and their haves and not haves. For example, black people are showed as people who are poor, they live in the ghetto, they sell drugs, kill each other, they are uneducated and do not have the privilege to enjoy their rights and freedom as human beings. On the other hand, white are portrayed to be superior to blacks. They have access to all the good things that life can give from good employment, education, best homes and residential areas to privileges of enjoying their rights as human beings and the freedom to be economic powers. This ideology is not presented as an unequal distribution of resources and privileges by the White people but as a notion that black people are inherently dangerous and irresponsible and that is why they cannot be better people despite its existence of equal opportunities, rights and acceptance of diversity. Blacks are portrayed to be people that do not want to embrace diversity. For instance, Starr is greeted by friendly smiles every time she goes to Williamson Prep but, when Chris visits Starr’s home, he is greeted by so many negative comments from Seven and Maverick’s hostile behaviour and language. This shows Black people to be hostile and unwelcoming while it the other way round; because whites are seen to be people that are self-centered, oppressive and racist.
However, the writer of the movie does not establish this phenomenon on her own because the White society inherently manufactures negative information about black people due their stereotypes from the time that Africa was called a Dark continent, the time of colonialism and the Triangular slave trade where African where being shipped to America as Slaves up-to-date. In other words, blacks have always been Slaves to White people even before the media manufactured gave consent to this consensus. However, black people also stereotype white people due to their past and present experiences with them. . This is to say that while Black people are considered to be people who love violence and drugs, they consider whites to be their oppressors who deny them of their freedom which comes with the rule of law, get educated, live a better life and enjoy their right. This is why we see Officer Brian overreacting by shooting Khallil thrice because he thinks that he was reaching out for a weapon. This is also seen through Maverick’s angry reaction toward Carlos‘s statement about the investigations of Khallil’s death being spearheaded by the Grand jury which is dominated by whites because he feels the Officer will not be indicted because he is white. (Amandla Stenberg Angie Thomas Regina Hall Russell Hornsby and Kj Apa, 2018)
Secondly, the hate you give tries to make the audience understand that Americans are torn apart by different environments. This is done through the presentations of the behaviour, language, property and ways of life of the Black community and the white community. For instance, Black Americans live in Garden Heights, a place called “ghetto” and this name is cemented with the existence of poverty, violence, murder, drugs, teenage parties, smoking of weed and alcohol taking, indecent exposure, slang and rap music with violent; and drug language and many more. On the other hand, the white community is depicted as a free crime and drug area where people are ever rich, friendly, caring, happy, educated or responsible and powerful. (George Tillman Jr., 2018)
However, this is not just a message that this media has just come up with for entertainment because; this is the structure of residential areas in America. For example, places like Detroit, Saint Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Birmingham, Ala and many others cities in America are infested with gang related violence, rape robbery, assault, poverty and are rendered as places that you cannot raise a family from. (Ghetto places that are the most dangrous in America, 2019). On the other hand, Vermont, Minnnesota, Idaho, West Virginia, New Hampshire and many more are white dominated places. (Census Government, 2010). This shows how the society is able to influence media to convey messages of crime among black and the issues of white privilege. The movie itself also stands as a replica of what happens in America. This is evidenced by the murder of Philando Castile in Minnesota, Trayvon Martin in Florida and many other black men and women who were killed by Police officers in the year 2014.
Media like the internet and movies influences people to speak out about what is happening to them and it also helps bring to lights the real and true nature of someone or something when used. It helps reveal hidden facts about the world and people. For instance, non-Americans usually perceive Americans to be cooperative people and peaceful to their countrymen and women; people that are blessed with world economic, political and military power. However, through movies like “the hate you give” people everywhere are able to see the racial strife that takes place in America. Secondly, a scene in movie shows how media influence the society to speak out about oppression. During the assault of maverick and his family, Starr and a number of blacks as well as whites pick up their phones to capture the incident on camera. The statement “We see you and all these cameras do too; we going to tell the world how you treat” illustrates how people take the role of media personnel to expose certain injustices that commercial and national media platforms cannot reveal. A look at how media was reporting on Khallil’s murder and death, one could tell that the media was trying to justify Brian actions for assuming that he was being attacked through the death threats he and his family members were receiving for trying to combat crime in Garden Heights. However, the information that the rest of the people who were making videos of the assault on Maverick and his family would give a different picture of the situation which everyone else does not know about. In other word, while movies show us what happens in society, the internet gives people the ability to embrace self-journalism and report on issues such as police brutality of which commercial media like television and radio are unable to report on objectively and fairly.
Media like movies also influence the behaviour of children. (johnson, 2013). This is illustrated through the way that the Trio, Starr, Natasha and Khallil behave after watching Harry Potter. Each one of them creates a wand and has a pair of black gowns which are similar to that of the characters in Harry Potter. To some large extent, these children believed in what they watched in Harry Potter because according to the movie, Khallil and Starr end up kissing at a young age. Maverick, Starr‘s father also agrees that media influences the behaviour of children when he registers his skeptical stance on his daughter watching Harry Potter. To him, the movie signifies a world of gangs through its structures, characters, props and many more; which is what he desires to shield his children from because gangs exist in Garden Heights. (George Tillman Jr., 2018)
However, Maverick being a former King lord gives a clear picture of why he thinks Harry Potter is a movie about gangs in that he understands how gangs operate, how they talk, what they wear and what they do to show that they belong to a certain group and he sees these things in the movie and realizes it without blinking. Therefore, society has a way of selling out is behaviour to the media. The way people do things, their behaviour towards one another, their dress code and many other factors may influence media to bring out certain issues its messages. This is to say that, the media create messages through the experiences, behaviour and culture of people in the society.
Media also stimulates fear in people in as much as it provides a platform for them to speak out. This is shown in the movie by how Starr is caught up in a dilemma of either standing up for Khallil on the media and put herself in danger and make people at Williamson judge her and call her names like Starr the Ghetto or the Charity case or keeping quiet about the issue like she had done when Natasha was killed. Being on television frightened her in that the attention she would receive would have a negative impact on her. (George Tillman Jr., 2018)
Media is very influential and its power is seen throughout the movie “the hate you give”. Its impact can be both positive and negative depending on how one’s experience is with it. As a form of media, the movie itself highlights issues of racial strife between Black and White Americans regardless of being known as one people and one country. Media like the internet can influence self -journalism because of social media but it can instill fear in people when it comes to revealing information about powerful people. However, the society is influences society in that it only builds beliefs, values and behaviour that already exist. This is say that, the world already has a way in it operates, the issue of racism, social classes, police brutality, white privileges and many more thus, media only make these already established fact of life into official reality as it draws it messages from the actual experiences of people in the world, country or any specific area of place.
(2019). Retrieved March 24, 2019, from Merriam-Webster collegiate Dictionary: http://www.merriamwebster.org
(2019). Retrieved March 24, 2019, from Merriam-Webster collegiate Dictionary: http://www.merriamwebster.org
Amandla Stenberg Angie Thoma Regina Hall Russell Hornsby and Kj Apa. (2018, october 30). The Hate you give interviews. (K. Mccarthy, Interviewer)
Census Government. (2010). Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin 2010 census briefs. Census Government.
George Tillman Jr. (Director). (2018). The hate You Give [Motion Picture].
Ghetto places that are the most dangrous in America. (2019). Retrieved March 24, 2019, from Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com
johnson, M. (2013, Janaury 18). Media and morality. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from Media Smarts: https://www.mediasmarts.com
Peter Bradshaw. (2018, october 18). The Hate You Give review;a defiant challlege to divided america. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com
Sara O. (2018, March 02). What is Mass Media? its Definitions, Types, Influence and examples. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from Study.com: http://www.study.com.academy.lesson