The Impacts of White-Dominated Media on Blacks in The Bluest Eye Media has always been a great influence on people thoughts. In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison cites such organization as one of the major factors which not only creates degrading stereotypes of the African Americans, but also establishes a feeling of self-hatred within the people themselves.
Toni Morrison portrays the prejudiced media in America drawn by white-domination contributes internalized racism in African Americans bringing in the dislike of their own kin color, the preference for white lifestyle, and the identity crisis. The media generates the notion that dark skin is unattractive. Toni Morrison points Out the one of the main reasons why beauty of dark skin is overlooked. African Americans never have opportunity to expose the beauty of their people for the media features only white people. Movies, advertisement, and toys display merely white standard of beauty.
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Throughout the novel, the writer refers to this subject matter. For example, Claudia, an African American girl receives a blonde doll for her birthday of which she is not very fond. In addition, in movies, mostly white actors or actresses like Jean Harrow and Clark Gable are featured. From all these evidences, we can see that all the representatives of beautiful people in the media are white. No blacks involve. When these happen, blacks have no role-models on the media that would assure the attraction within them.
During the ass where the story takes place, there were black entertainers, but racism impeded their chance to become as successful as white ones. Perhaps by exemplifying the media displaying only white people, Morrison intends to criticize such unfairness. The novel reveals that the black entertainers are not very well-known enough in black communities, so the popular stars, even to the blacks, are white. Consequently, they have no representatives of their heritage in the media to prove that beauty is not all about whites.
Black people’s values of beauty are ostracizes by the media causing the belief that whiteness is the center of beauty; those who are far from the center as blacks cannot help but see ugliness in themselves and yearn for the white beauty. As a result, African Americans discriminate the ones with darker skin like Peacock and celebrate he beauty of black girls like Maurine whose color skin is lighter. Consuming media displaying mainly whites embodies black people to think white skin is beautiful while black is not.
Despite being a black girl, with her lighter skin, Maurine has features are classified as beautiful according to white standard which people including black perceive from the media. Peacock, on the other hand, has no similarities to the ideal beauty shown by the media because Of her very dark skin. That is why Maurine gets all the compliments while she gets none. This leads to the latter’s infatuation with white features. Her fetish or blue eye reflects habitual thinking in black people influenced by white- dominated media.
At least two episodes show that Piccolo’s desire to be white is influenced by the media. First of all, when Peacock goes to the candy store, she buys a candy that has a picture of a white woman named Mary Jane on the wrapper. It is obvious that she could not care less about the candy. It is Mary Jane who is described as “Smiling white face. Blond hair in gentle disarray, blue eyes… ” That the girl is fascinated with. Her fantasy while eating the candy, To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary Jane,” wows her obsession with white features.
This means she is massively dissatisfied with her appearance. Besides, when she gets scolded by Claudia mother for drinking milk, it is explained that she drinks all the milk because she loves seeing Shirley Temple’s lovely face on the cup while drinking it. Her wish for blue eye at the end is poignant exhibiting her discontent of her looks. It reflects a group of people with very dark skin like Peacock who cannot but see ugly in themselves because their appearances do not fit in with the standard they see in the movies or on the billboards.
The media helps rate fantasies in Black people’s minds about perfect lives that could only happen to white people shaping blacks to not only feel dissatisfied about their lives but also desire for lives of the white. Movies create fantasies about the ideal lives of white people which infatuate black viewers whose quality of life is substandard. Living in poor conditions, Piccolo’s mother, Pauline used movies as escapist and became addicted the wonderful lives of white people on screen.
Her reminiscent recall about her younger life illustrates her thoughts influenced by movies featuring white people she addicted to. She has learnt from the movies things such as “White men taking such good care of they women. ” And, those movies show her glamorous lifestyle of white people – “they dressed up in big clean houses with bathtubs right in the same room with the toilet” – that she longs for. Those pictures gave her “a lot Of pleasure. ” Therefore, Pauline liked to spend time in cinema to enjoy those counterfeit pleasures.
However, she cannot be one of those people on silver screen due to her skin color and her poor living condition. Once at home, it was different scenery. Living with her mean, drunken, and irresponsible Cubans, Coolly with poor financial condition, her real life was distant from those movies. Also, being black, the best she could do was being a maid serving a rich white family. Due to her skin color, she would not have a chance for many dignifying works. The dreams of having big house, fancy clothes, or a wonderful husband like Clark Gable’s characters will never come true.
Because of this, black people like Pauline try to link those movies with their real life causing abasement of their own lives and preference for ones that are closer to those fanciful stories. Although later Pauline has stopped ongoing to the cinema, the movies have already shaped images Of ideal life within her head which determined the way of life she wants. Pauline is an ideal maid for her white employers, so that she can share privileges similar to the movies that she cannot have in real life. Being a servant for a wealthy white family is the only way she can be around a big beautiful house with luxurious objects.
Getting compliments for her good works make her feel like she belongs with these white people as though she were a part of them. As a result, she sees her family as well as herself inferior to white employers exhibiting her self- discrimination. This aspect is portrayed most distinctively when Pauline is working at her employers house and her daughter, Peacock, gets burn by hot berry cobbler in a pan. Pauline does not care if her daughter is terribly hurt. She aggravates the situation by assaulting her daughter just for messing up the floor.
She, on the other hand, treats her employer’s daughter like gold. When the girl cries, Pauline turns and comforts the girl – “Hush, baby hush. Come here… Don’t cry. ” This shows that Pauline has no affection for her daughter the way she has with others’ child. At this stage, Pauline is in an inferior status to the little white girl as she is her servant. Peacock is considered lower than the two. Her exaltation of the family of her white bosses and her disregard of her own reflects the self-abhorrence, which cinema has partly influenced.
She prefers and exalts the life of her employers because it reminds her of those she has seen in the movies. The life that she has always admired. It causes her the feeling of dissatisfaction in her own. The biased media singles out black community causing the identity crisis of blacks. The book illustrate that black people can never completely associate with the media by white which influences the whole country, because they are considered second class people and have a lot less opportunity than whites.
The lack of black individuals in the media leaves limited option for them to consume. Black entertainers would have related more to black audiences as they have something in common which is their heritage. However, by the time the story takes place, as we can see from the characters like Pauline who tries to kick like Jean Harrow and peacock who very much odors Shirley Temple, not many black entertainers were embraced by society during that time. Due to the shortage of African American representatives in the media, only white media was available.
They had no choice but to accept it. The African Americans cannot fully comprehend the media which mainly features white people because they are too different from them in both appearances and living conditions. Black and white features are different. Therefore, blacks will hardly find resemblance of themselves with all those white celebrities. One sadly ridiculous part of the novel reflects this manner. Mr.. Henry compliments Fried and Claudia that they are Greta Garb and Ginger Rodgers who are white actresses. We all know that it is a lie.
Being black, obviously the two girls have utterly distinctive features from those actresses. Yet it shows how white people are standard of beauty. Also, the lifestyles of blacks and whites are not the same. Despite dreaming of living a movie-like life, Pauline cannot fully associate with such ways of living. In the movies, she esteems Clark Gable for taking good care of women; whereas, in real life, her husband, Coolly is rude and abusive. Moreover, she will never have a big beautiful house like in those movies. Hers is a dirty place with shabby and decayed furniture.
The identity crisis occurs when they identify themselves with people of other race in the media. According to a psychologist, Erik Erikson, who came up with the term “identity crisis,” it occurs when “one loses a sense of personal sameness and historical continuity’ People usually identify themselves with their roles of living. People with identity crisis struggle with role-confusion. Peacock and her mother try to lose their own self-perception as African-Americans, and influenced by the Edie, they identify themselves with something they will never be.
Pauline identifies herself with characters in the movies with luxurious life. Her only way to be a part of such life is to be a servant. This causes her role-confusion. She may get to be around the lavishness like what she has seen on silver screen, but unlike those movie characters, her status is lower for she is just a maid serving white people. As for Peacock, a very dark girl who desires for white features also reflects the similar crisis as her mother. She greatly admires white appearances and wants to look like the cutie, Shirley Temple. The problem is she looks nothing like that.
Her wish for the bluest eyes reflects her identity crisis. It shows her frustration for wanting to be something she can never be. The Bluest Eye demonstrates media dominated by white which is partly responsible for self-discriminating thoughts in black community. Toni Morrison illustrates how blacks suffer from such bias. The shortage of black portrayals in the media reflects the fact that the essence of black people is neglected. They are treated as though they were invincible. It causes blacks to feel like they are unimportant which leads to internalized racism.