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Media and Racism: does the British media help maintain racism?

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Introduction

Media and Racism: does the British media help maintain racism? Racism in Britain can be traced centuries back especially to the time of the Slave Trade where Britain was regarded as a key figure in creating and maintaining racial hierarchies. This report will assess the role of the British media in maintaining racism in British society and it will focus particularly on the last forty years or so i.e. 1960's onwards. In the report, I will largely rely on the research and work done by other authors in relation to the 'media and racism' but I will also include an evaluation of media coverage of the Bradford Riots in 2001. The report will conclude with a few recommendations on how the media can overcome racism. I have discovered through my research several authors who clearly describe the media as racist and argue that the media assists in maintaining racism in society. Van Dijk (1991), states that the most original and influential early study of the Press in the reproduction of racism was done by Hartmann and Husband (1974), who argued that the media was racist and created an impression amongst readers that black people represented a problem or a threat. They were so defiant on the media being racist that they called their book 'Racism and the Mass Media' rather than 'Race and the Mass Media'. ...read more.

Middle

Hence, it is why I call the media racist. Other critiques argue that it is difficult to empirically measure racism and question exactly when and where racism is being referred to in a text. For example, does the use of a photograph showing a persons face in a news story always carry racial meaning? One may agree showing the photograph of a black male in a criminal story carries racist meaning but they must also agree showing the photograph of a white male in particular roles like experts for example, also carries racial meaning. Using this argument, they may question the reliability of my research especially on the evaluation of media coverage of the Bradford Riots in 2001. Law (2002) argues that a consistent method to measure racism in a text so that it can be regarded as valid and reliable is to measure the negative attributes. The term negative attribution is a contested concept and each of its meanings prove useful in measuring racism in the media but many problems are also associated with each meaning. One definition is known as Whitecentrism (Ferguson, 1998) and includes the measurement of negative attributions of minorities against a white norm. For example, Cummerbatch et al (1996) analysed a sample of television programmes and found that in one particular aspect of portrayal there was no negative attribution as six percent of minority ethnic characters were criminals compared to eight percent of white characters. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, if a photograph of a criminal is used in a crime story then such a photograph should be used in all crime stories. When the media refers to a story like mugging by a black male for example, it would be ideal if it could mention the national statistics on the number of black male muggers in comparison to white muggers or other crimes. This should prevent unfair racial stereotypes. Reference List Critcher, C. et al (1977) cited in Van Dijk, T. (1991) RACISM AND THE PRESS London: Routledge Cummerbatch, G. et al (1996) Ethnic Minorities on Television London: Independent Television Commission Entman, R. M. ana Rojecki, A. (2000) cited in Law, I. (2002) RACE IN THE NEWS Basingstoke: Palgrave Ferguson, R. (1998) Representing 'Race' London: Arnold Hartmann, P. and Husband, C. (1974) cited in Van Dijk, T. (1991) RACISM AND THE PRESS London: Routledge Law, I. (2002) RACE IN THE NEWS Basingstoke: Palgrave McNair, B. (1998) The Sociology of Journalism London: Arnold Shohat, E. and Stam, R. (1994) unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media London: Routledge Stratham, P. (1999) 'Political Mobilisation by Minorities in Britain: Negative Feedback of 'Race Relations'' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 25(4), October, pp. 597-626 Troyna, B. (1981) Public Awareness and the Media: A Study of Reporting on Race London: Commission for Racial Equality Van Dijk, T. (1991) RACISM AND THE PRESS London: Routledge ...read more.

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