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[Tanya Ogorodnik]

Stereotypes occur often to many people in any given society. As with any ethnic group, race, or culture, African Americans too are stereotyped. They are referred to as "niggers" and/or "Negroes." In the United States today, African Americans frequently are said to be stupid, lazy, promiscuous, happy, boisterous, good athletes, good dancers, criminals, drug dealers, more sexually active, savages, ugly, and others.

Stereotypical assumptions and generalizations are not accurate, and unfortunately, many black individuals are victims of these stereotypes. Television, the radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, music, comic books, talk shows, research, and others in the media expose the public to images that reinforce characteristics of the above stereotypes.

To the black community this is unfair; negative images of the African American often scare away individuals who accept the media�s portrayal of the ethnic group as the truth. The media influences these particular persons before they can allow themselves to know the people personally. Sometimes, a stereotype may influence one so greatly, one will not approach a black person equally because the stereotype affects their judgment of the individual(s) and leads to discrimination. As a result, many black individuals constantly face the issue of disrespect.

[Africana.com - Gateway to the Black World]

Africana.com is the "gateway to the black world." It serves to inform the web surfers (either black or white) about the African American culture. The Africana.com homepage offers links to its own research center, search engine, newsletter, the black world, lifestyle, movies and television, music, books, people, arts, health and beauty, and services including radio Africana, the Africana Box Office, and Political Action Center.

Africana.com presents interesting information in articles ranging in a variety of topics useful to understanding the African American culture. The Lifestyle column especially is an important place to visit in order to understand the African Americans better and learn of the problems they encounter. Articles in the �lifestyle� link discuss important issues in the topic of identities and ethnicities, and stereotypes.

"Building a Healthy Racial Identity" by James P. Comer may be found in the Lifestyle link. The author explains "racial identity is a part of one�s personal identity, which is itself a product of the way one mentally organizes all his or her conditions and experiences into a sense of self." He says a positive individual identity depends on acquiring the sense of belonging and playing in all circles of life and society, including economic, political, and social sectors. Comer explains race is a matter of difference, not a better or worse condition. He says in the effort to justify slavery, people excluded blacks from full participation in political, economic, and social institutions, causing a negative stereotype of the black community to develop. He makes a good point in meaning black parents and institutions must find a way to provide the conditions that lead to a positive black identity, since success in social, economic, and political areas weakens the negative message about African Americans.

Other articles such as this one may be found in Lifestyle. They are a great source of education on African Americans.

The website�s copyright tells the audience the website was created in 1999-2000, yet the audience may discover the website is constantly updated by looking at the dates on the articles (they are continually posted with recent dates) and reading the content in recent movie reviews.

The website as a whole is very pleasing and professionally designed. The site uses a style sheet, as well as tables. Africana.com enhances its content by displaying photographs and images. Bright colors and interesting fonts augment the overall appearance. They are consistent and unified throughout the entire hypertext garden. The site has informative and high-quality internal links leading to a research center, search engine, newsletter, the black world, lifestyle, movies and television, music, books, people, arts, health and beauty, and services including radio Africana, the Africana Box Office, and Political Action Center. This website also gives the surfer freedom in that it is not linear, but easy to explore; the surfer may select to view a link at any time.

Improvement for Africana.com is unnecessary. The appearance of this site is professional. If Americana.com is compared to African American Culture, a less effective site with similar content, one will understand the difference. This site is very basic in its layout. Though it offers an internal link with pictures, one will not see pictures, images, or bright colors as often. The site also lacks tables.


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