Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans
Email this review


 Chideya, a 1990 graduate of Harvard who worked as a staff reporter at Newsweek and is currently employed by MTV News, has taken upon herself no small task. To say something true and meaningful about American racial attitudes is difficult enough. To say something true about the extent and manner in which media images create rather than reflect attitudes is almost as hard. Chideya starts with a solid premise: that because whites and blacks in America still live largely segregated lives, white America's picture of African-American life is acquired disproportionately through the media. The picture isn't all negative, Chideya notes, but it fails to convey how the majority of black America lives. In some ways, the book is an affirmation of the success of the black middle class, charting increased participation in politics and the professions and lamenting the fact that this part of black life is so rarely represented by the media. Chideya gives the news media particularly bad grades for employing too few blacks and for the consequently inaccurate picture of African-American life. Filled with figures and facts (most of them from government sources like the Census Bureau), the book educates more than it fulminates. And it comes with a ``Test Your Racial Issues IQ Test'' for those who want to make sure they don't put their foot in their mouth before sounding off in any arguments about race.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-452-27096-0
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Plume
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994