Ideologies are generated and reproduced in the media; in particular, ideologies that suggest that certain humans are inferior and others are superior. Inferiority is generally represented in race, gender, class and sexual preference. “South Central,” “Def Jam,” “Martin,” etc., point up a need for clarification about the negative effects of TV programs that demean, degrade and dehumanize (“Hard to Have Respect for ‘South Central,’ ” Letters, April 30).
Representing humans as one-dimensional stereotypes who confirm racist, sexist and homophobic myths oppresses all but a few. It perpetuates distortions that help maintain economic, political and social inequities.
What’s needed is a standard for denouncing negative representation. Identifying a narrative or character as an “accurate” portrayal that does not demean, degrade or dehumanize might be a logical place to begin. Within these terms, all television programming is up for scrutiny.
CAROLE E. WALKER