For a long time now, the media has been our source of information and a major influence on how we perceive each other. It has also majorly contributed to the many stereotypic views we believe today, and for this reason it is responsible for the poor representation of different races in the government. According to a quote by Alveda King, a civil rights activist, “racism springs from the lie that certain human beings are less than fully human. It’s a self-centered falsehood that corrupts our minds into believing we are right to treat others as we would not want to be treated” (Laccino, 2014). This is to say that racism is simply a belief that has been influenced by media sources to believe that certain races are minor and should thus be treated with contempt and disgrace.
The media has always represented the white race in positive light while the minorities have been represented in negative light and this has affected the general perception of people for different races. The minorities are viewed as being primitive, inferior and backward and for this reason, they have continually been deemed as unfit to rule (Critical Media Project). Looking at our historical background, dominant groups, mainly consisting of peoples of white heritage, rose to power and gained control over the minority groups that had to be subordinate to them. The minorities had all aspects of their society controlled on their behalf by the whites and this has resulted in the stereotype that minorities can only serve as subordinates to the whites. However, with the advancement in time, minority groups have grown by leaps and bounds, and are now in a position to rule. Various laws have been passed over time to allow them to be active in politics and this is enough reason to allow them to be a part of the government. The media, seemingly stuck in the past, makes very little effort to represent such like aspects of black achievement.
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The media portrays successful men of color as having had several limits thus they were able to only succeed in one endeavor. Successful people of color in sports and entertainment spheres have had emphasis put on their biographies about how limited their life choices were and thus their only hope of having to get out of the ‘hood’ was through succeeding in the one thing that they were good at. Few names of professors and other academic elites can be linked to people of color. This is a way of lowering dignity of people of color and has worked towards their disadvantage. This has also affected the mentality of those being stereotyped who choose not to work hard so as to avoid getting negative publicity and this only goes a long way to the general economy of the country. Changing how the media portrays them will go a long way in ensuring that others follow the same path of success.
The media is also quick to represent the whites as being fit for white collar jobs, and the people of color as being fit for blue collar jobs, which has only gone further to create stereotypes that have worked against the minority. Mainstream media has been quick to portray minorities as slaves in films and this has only fueled beliefs that these people lack in skill that can be applied in white collar. They have also been portrayed as uncivilized people who are involved in organized crime and civil unrests. For this reason, it is difficult for qualified people of color to get jobs in white collar places. They are also granted harsher sentences and shot at discriminately as a result of such stereotypes. We thus view them as being thieves and drug dealers and deny them opportunities and chances to redeem themselves.
The poor representation of the minorities bears certain problems both to the individuals and to the society as a whole. One major problem is the barrier to advancement in the society (Donaldson, 2015). This is attributed to the negative portrayal of the minority groups that prevents them from advancing in their careers and economic life generally. Print and electronic media has taken to misrepresenting people of color as being fit for blue collar jobs and unqualified to work in white collar jobs. Films of fiction mostly portray black men as slaves for white men and this perception only results in them not being elevated to top positions by employers who rely on such information. Minorities have also been under-represented when it comes to being users of items of luxury, being experts or being reliable employees by print ads and films (Donaldson, 2015). This has prevented them from being prospective clients and investors and as a result, a barrier is placed in their economic growth as they miss out on jobs by virtue of their races.
Another problem is the lack of diversity in the economy. Minorities have been linked to cases of civil disobedience and as a result, few employers are ready to employ people of color to work in their organizations. A lack of empathy for people of color also contributes to the absence of diversity in many workplaces and this just goes further to hinder the development of people who do not belong to the white race. The media is responsible for claiming that the minorities are responsible for most crimes in the US, thus they have a biased court system that does not favor them and thus most of them end up being locked in prisons. For this reason, those left are unable to work and thus diversity in various workplaces is low.
Through this, the US has been viewed to be a harbor for racists due to its inability to control the media in terms of what is portrayed to the world. People working in the industry in various parts of the world have internalized the biases and stereotypes and thus believe that a successful film should entail suffering of the minority.
Saying that the media portrays real life situations of how minority groups’ act is simply an underrepresentation of the minority groups. The minority groups, such as Mexicans and African Americans have been portrayed to be constantly involved in drug cartels and organized crimes does not portray what these groups are all about. The media should instead focus on how minority groups are able to change the country’s economy through the day to day unrecognizable acts and emphasize on their successes rather than their failures. The media should try to find the causes for the reasons why such groups are involved in such vices and instead of portraying them in bad light, find solutions to these problems. The media should be careful to give a proper narrative of the minority groups as they are just a people and not a type (Donaldson, 2015).
Critical Media project. (N.d.). Race and Ethnicity. Retrieved from http://www.criticalmediaproject.org/cml/topicbackground/race-ethnicity/
Donaldson, L. (2015). When the Media Misrepresents Black Men, the Effects are felt in the Real World. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/12/media-misrepresents-black-men-effects-felt-real-world
Laccino, L. (2014, March). Anti-Racism Day: Top 10 Quotes of Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Marley and Harper Lee. IB Times. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.co.ukanti-racism-day-top-10-quotes-martin-luther-king-malcom-x-bob-marley-harper-lee-1441319