Dr. Ellis- Williams
New Jersey City University
Broadcasting, and videos
Mediated racism functions in several ways. The most obvious is the association of particular groups of people with specific actions. Numerous studies have pointed out that on the whole, aboriginal people and people of color tend to be absent from the media in general. However, they are conspicuously present in stories dealing with crime or with problems in their communities. Their presence in certain categories of media coverage tends to underline the assumption that only "they" commit crimes, and that "they" are problem people. This suggests that the only resolution available is to ensure that "they" don't enter the country, or that "they" are not allowed to continue their cultural heritage. In fact, the recent trend to attribute actions to particular cultures marks a change in the traditional ways in which racism was communicated. What seems to be in place now is a more modified form of racism which has been labeled by various theorists as "cultural racism." Here, the cultures of particular groups are deemed as being problematic and as causing a plethora of society's ills. According to the reading, the story about “My Black Skin Makes My White Coat Vanish” it talks about an African-American Women who was a patient and after the doctor examined her thoroughly and doing a rectal exam to spot signs of internal bleeding. And the doctor after that explained that they will tread her pain, check her blood work and urine samples, and go from there. “That’s great,” she said with a smile. And then she asked “when is the doctor going to see me?” The doctor said hadn’t I just administered an invasive exam on her posterior? And told her that “I am the doctor”. She did believe that as that doctor had a medical degree. That doctor decided to try not to be bothered by the patients’ attitudes. (pgs.303) Stereotyping is one very common and effective way in which racism is perpetuated. Thus, there is a preponderance of representations of these groups within circumscribed categories, e.g. athletics, entertainment, crime, and so forth. Stereotypes are one-dimensional. They only highlight specific characteristics and these are often used to typify whole groups of people. Other elements, absent from the stereotypes, are similarly absent from the coverage. This leads to a situation where assumptions are made about people on the basis of stereotyping. These assumptions can perpetuate exclusion and in extreme cases, can justify forced internment and genocide.
A more important consequence is the narrow, distorting lens through which racial minorities are frequently portrayed in mainstream news. Studies commissioned by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have found that only about 1 percent of the 12,000 stories aired yearly on the three network TV evening newscasts focus on Latinos or Latino issues -- and roughly 80 percent of these stories "portray Latinos negatively," often on subjects like crime, drugs and "illegal" immigrants.
Before attempting to understand racism and mass media, one must understand the history of racism. Race has become an institutional part of American society. From the Founding on, race has played an integral part in shaping the American consciousness. David Goldberg's Racist Culture argues that racial discourse may be interpreted as aversive, academic, scientific, legalistic, bureaucratic, economic, cultural, linguistic, religion, mythical, or ideological. He also stresses that radicalized discourse and racist expressions towards African-American have been widespread. Race matters exist in different places and at different times under widely varying conditions. An American race relation provides a case study in Marxist class theory. Marx argued that society has two classes: the exploited or working class, and the exploiters or owners of the means of production. He further stressed that one class will...
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