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Time to End Negative Stereotyping of Black Women

Generic image (Thinkstock)
Generic image (Thinkstock)

Gold diggers. Baby mamas. Uneducated sisters. Ratchet women. Angry black women. Mean black girls. Unhealthy black women. Black barbies. Negative imagery and stereotypes of black women abound in today's media, writes Dawnie Walton at Essence, which tackles the matter in its November issue. 

In our November issue (on stands October 11), ESSENCE presents the sobering results of a study we conducted, in collaboration with research consultants Added Value Cheskin, about the images of Black women in media.

In the study, more than 1,200 respondents told us that the images we encounter regularly on TV, in social media, in music videos and from other outlets are overwhelmingly negative and fall into categories that make us cringe — Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies.

The study also revealed six types we feel we don't see enough in media, types we feel more genuinely reflect us and the Black women we know: Young Phenoms, Real Beauties, Individualists, Community Heroines, Girls Next Door and Modern Matriarchs. 

Check out the top findings of our Images of Black Women:

1. Negative imagery of Black women is seen often twice as frequently as positive imagery. For instance, 85% of our Black women respondents reported they regularly see representations of Baby Mamas in media, while only 41% said they often see Real Beauties. The type seen least often? Community Heroines.

2. Modern Jezebels and Gold Diggers are the types that cause Black women the most embarrassment. Our African-American respondents reported that they are most uncomfortable when White women view these sexual and greedy typologies.  


Read Dawnie Walton's entire piece at Essence.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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