Representation Of Race In Media

Topics: Race, Mass media, Sociology Pages: 8 (1798 words) Published: October 19, 2014


Representation Of Race In Media

Much of our perceptions of the world are based on narratives and the images that we see in film, television, radio, music, and other media. These are some of the outlets that construct how individuals see their social identities, as well as learn and understand about what it is to be black, white, Native American, Asian, South American, etc. (Dow, Wood, 2006, p. 297). You will get a better understanding of this once you understand the concept of ideologies. Ideologies are what create our perception of the world around us, whether it is political, social, economic, etc. Ideologies are not the product of individual intention or conscious, rather we create our intentions within ideology (Marris, Thornham, 2000, p. 267). These ideologies exist before we are even born; they form the social constructions and conditions that we are born into. But, ideologies are just a practice, and it is produced and reproduced in apparatus of ideological production. The media is a great example of an apparatus of ideological production (Marris, Thornham, 2000, p. 273). It produces social meanings and distributes them throughout society. However, as long as ideologies continue so will social struggles such as racism, which we will discuss in this essay. Media elites represent different races through media based on their ideologies. This has a predominant influence on the social constructions of race and contributes to our understanding of it.

The media is bias. This is due to the bias in the minds of those in control of these media outlets known as the media elites. Harold Innis is a well-known Canadian political economist and a pioneer in communication studies who explores the concept of media bias in depth in many of his writings. Innis believed that bias could be within media itself. He underlined his concern on human biases and how they are incorporated into predominate institutions, organizations and technologies, specifically the institution called media. He came to understand that the bias of communication is due to interests engaged in the struggle to control wealth, force, and knowledge (Comor , 2001, p. 280). This can be reflected back to our discussions about capitalism in class as well as to some of the readings in the class text. As mentioned in both, owners of the largest unit of production hold enormous amounts of power over us. This power owned by them can also be linked to the power in the sphere of ideas, which are also known as ideological spheres (Naiman, 2012, p. 92). What we take away from this is that those in power are trying to integrate their ideologies into us through the media. Herman Gray a sociology professor at the University of California also touches on this topic but in a different approach. According to Gray, race representations in the media authorize and maintain the terms of the dominant cultural and social order that position whites at the top of power hierarchies. Hence, the reason why racial minorities are often prejudiced in media (Li-Vollmer, 2002, p. 208). If you look at a large number of topics in the press, news about ethnic minorities and immigrants are mostly restricted to news such as new immigrants arriving, political response to policies about new immigrants, social problems such as welfare, employment, and etc. (Cottle, 2000, pp. 38-39). This is not only limited to the press, it expands across all media such as films, music, etc. The media elites are ultimately responsible for discourses of the media they control. This is based on their ideologies about ethnic minorities and immigrants. These ideologies construct how we see our own identities as well as see what is to be Black, Asian, Native American, and South American as mentioned earlier. All in all, those in power are manipulating us.

Post 9/11 has seen a dramatic increase in newspaper coverage about Muslims and Islam. Misrepresentations of Muslims are...


References: Bullock, K. H., & Jafri, G. J. Media (Mis)Representations: Muslim Women in the Canadian Nation. . Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/cws/article/view/7607/6738
Comor, E. Harold Innis and The Bias of Communication. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://sspa.boisestate.edu/communication/files/2010/05/Comer-Harold-Innis-and-Bias-of-Communication.pdf
Cottle, S. (2000). Changing Representation. Ethnic minorities and the media: changing cultural boundaries (). Buckingham: Open University Press.
Dow, B. J., & Wood, J. T. (2006). GENDER, RACE, AND MEDIA REPRESENTATION. The SAGE handbook of gender and communication (). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Li-Vollmer, M. Race Representation in Child-Targeted Television Commercials. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://journals1.scholarsportal.info.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/pdf/15205436/v05i0002/207_rrictc.xml
Marris, P., & Thornham, S. (2000). Ideology and Discourse . Media studies: a reader (2nd ed., ). New York: New York University Press.
Naiman, J. (2012). The Basic of Modern Societies . How societies work: class, power, and change (5th ed., ). Winnipeg: Fernwood.
Saeed, A. Media, Racism and Islamophobia: The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media. . Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/store/10.1111/j.1751-9020.2007.00039.x/asset/j.1751-9020.2007.00039.x.pdf?v=1&t=hy55dkcm&s=168ce183656d0759bf59006337b7eef243174714
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