Ethnicity, Racism and
stereotypes
Stereotypical images?
Representation of ethnic minorities
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Minority ethnics are greatly
under-represented in the
media
There are few people of colour
in top media positions and few
programmes are aimed at
minority ethnics
The GUMG has shown how
news and current affairs
programmes are essentially
nationalistic
Developing countries are
presented as problems so that
disasters such as war or
famine are associated with
them
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From a Marxist point of view,
such portrayals reinforce the
capitalist system by showing
the superiority of white,
western culture
Until recent years, blacks have
been portrayed as servants,
figures of fun or slaves
Hartman and Husband argue
that the media still operates
within a culture that sees
foreigners, especially blacks
as inferior
When black people are
positively represented this is
seen as “tokenism”
Negative portrayals
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Van Djilks (1991) studied the
inner city riots of the 1980s
And showed how the tabloid
press focused on a racial and
criminal explanation of the riots
However many young white
people were involved
The Sun dismissed
Sociological explanations of
the riots as “making excuses
for criminals”
Van Djilks analysed the
meanings and ideology behind
these portrayals
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He says the British media
constantly flatters its readers
with statements like
“The British are a kind and
tolerant people” always
followed by the racist “but”
Then minority ethnics are
accused of abusing our
hospitality
Being social security
scroungers, bogus asylum
seekers and terrorist
sympathisers
Supporting Research
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Look at the review of the work of Stuart Hall (page 193 in
the text book)
What role did the media play here?
How does this link with portrayal of “the other”?
Which perspective does Hall come from?
Take notes on the work of Back (2002)
Appreciation of Black culture
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Appreciation of black culture has
grown
There are now major figures in
music, the Arts and the media in
general
There are more programmes
specifically for minority ethnics
More importantly there has been a
crossover of ethnic minority
culture into mainstream media
Programmes such as the Kumars
at no 42 are appealing to White
and Asian viewers
This demonstrates a more multi
cultural media in the 21st century
Research
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Abercrombie(1996) argues that
these positive changes are
most apparent in soap operas
Minority ethnics are now
depicted in far less
stereotypical ways than in the
past,
As ordinary people rather than
exotic or dangerous others
However Reid found that black
women were heavily critical of
The Cosby Show
Because its depiction of black
family life was idealised and
unrealistic
Sociological Approaches
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Functionalists would argue that media presentations of ethnic
minorities reflect their position in society
These depictions change to reflect the integration of ethnic
minorities into mainstream culture
Examples would be the positive portrayal of successful Asian
businessmen or Black medical professionals
Marxists and Neo-Marxists see things very differently
They emphasise how the media uses racism to promote the
interests of the powerful
Moral panics about immigrants and asylum seekers help to divide
the working class on racial grounds and produce false
consciousness
The blame for social problems such as unemployment and crime is
focused on minority ethnics rather than the real causes – capitalism
and the injustices it causes
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Ethnicity, Racism and stereotypes - (Moodle)