Ethnicity and the Media

Ethnicity and the media revision cards



The media is often racist and stereotypical, minority ethnically are underrepresented throughout. The GUMG have shown that news tends to be nationalistic; developing countries are seen as problems, with constant disasters. ANarchists suggest that the media reinforces Capitalism throughout the presentation of the West as superior.

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Van Djilks studied the inner city riots via use of content analysis and found that there was a focus on the racial criminal. He states that the media flatters the British whilst portraying minorities as terrorists, abusers, criminals and bogus asylum seekers.

Hall suggests that ethnicity is viewed through a white eye, the media's view of minority ethnically is intrinsically coloured by colonialism, with minorities seen as subordinate to British dominance.

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Change in Portrayal? Yes!

TV channels for minority ethnics are now available, as small audience channels are currently economically viable. The has also been some crossover of cultures with programs such as The Kumars at Number 42 and Goodness Grocious Me.

Abercrombie suggested soaps are a particular field of interest, in them minority ethnics are treated less stereotypically and appear as 'ordinary people'.

Advertising has also seen a shift, from colonialist images (Pears Soap) to multi-national corporations using people of all races, such as The United Colours of Benatton. Art has also embraced different ethnicities, through pictures such as The Black Queen (colour swap of Queen Elizabeth II) by Toscani.

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Change in Portrayal? No!

Hall suggested Blacks are still seen in a negative light generally, with the main disciplines they are allowed to excel in being sport and music, physical disciplines.

The Fair Play study looked at video games and found that:

-86% of heroes were White

-8/10 Blacks appeared in sports games.

- 86% of Black women appeared as victims of violence.

It is also still rare for a Black actor to receive star billing.

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Muslims- The new stereotype in media.

Muslims now tend to all be seen as terrorists, the media promotes anxiety with moral panics about terror attacks leading to overwhelmingly negative portrayals of Muslims. Even positive stories, such as the Muslim man who saved 7 people during the Paris terror attacks, are seen as one off exceptions; one 'nice' Muslim. The Professor of Sociology at York university argues that Muslims are huddled together by the media and that there is an ignorance of differences within the Muslim community.

There have been some positive steps, however:

-Publications of books such as Does My Head Look Big In This?, which are about Muslims and are aimed at teenagers, promote understanding and friendship between different ethnicities and religions.

-More Muslims have appeared on national TV, for example the introduction of Mrs. Hussein to Still Open All Hours on BBC1.

-Public figures such as Malala Yousafzai also promote understanding and set an important example to people of all ethnicities.

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Theoretical Perspectives

Functionalists: the media representations of minority ethnics reflect their position in society, it has changed to reflect their integration

Pluralists: the media reflects mainstream opinions of minority ethnics in its' portrayals and news values at a big role in how stories are selected.

Marxists: racism in the media promotes the interests of the powerful, moral panics divide the working class on racial grounds and produce false consciousness. The media blames minority ethnics for crime to cover up the real cause: Capitalism.

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