Racial Misrepresentation In Mass Media

1196 Words5 Pages
Racial discrimination and ethnic inequality are still prevalent in today’s society, despite making advancements towards a more inclusive society the repercussions of events conjured up by the socially constructed phenomenon ‘race’ has had ripple effects on society. This essay utilizes sociological principles in examining examples of racial misrepresentation and whether the media reinforces and contribute to this negative portrayal of ethnic minorities. Sociologists are coming to find that the terms ‘race’ is fluid in nature and changes throughout the course of time when subject to historical and political pressures, the use of the term ‘race; only serves to sustain the conditions for the reproduction of racism within society.

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It has become a means of communication, discovery and self-presentation, it is undeniable that the mass-media has profound effects on the development of the thoughts and attitudes of individuals. Whether consciously or subconsciously it infiltrates our minds and alters our perceptions of how we see others. The cultivation theory developed by George Gerbner (1967) conducted research on the impact of mass media and how as humans we inadvertently are influenced by the symbols and portrayals of the media. Through this, we construct a sense of self and who we are and aren’t. It is pivotal in reaffirmation and creation of attitudes we have. This is also reinforced by the Social Learning theory (Bandura, 1969) in which mass communication is also a propellant, those who control the media has the power in allowing us to learn just by observation alone. This power has been undermined by individuals at times, however, it has a key role in providing a platform in addressing unjust circumstances and social inequalities. Though there have been improvements in media landscape the marginalization of ethnic minorities in the media is accountable for a lot of prejudicial and discriminatory behavior towards…show more content…
He also introduced cultural racism in which people associate beliefs with an illusory culture. It is something that shifts and molds in response to history. In response to 9/11 the world experienced fragility especially those of Islamic faith. Unaware of what the long-term effect would be the emergence of Islamophobia and animosity in the form of violent attacks directed at them from Western countries was consequential. Henzell-Thomas (2004) identified the major problems which were perpetuated by Islamophobia and one of them being “the misleading association of Islam with specific cultural identities and practices, especially Asian and African. Sajid (2005) further reiterates this by “Islamophobia is a new form of racism whereby Muslims, an ethno-religious group, not a race, are nevertheless, constructed as a race.” The media in western hemispheres have been responsible for the misunderstanding of the Islamic faith as it is constantly depicted as a religion that condones acts of violence, terror and political unrest. It encourages the thoughts of individuals that Western culture is superior to that of Islamic culture. The media also fails to differentiate between Islamic beliefs and Islamic extremists, who are two different things which also facilitates misconceptions about their beliefs. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva asserts that the bigger picture is
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