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Outline and assess the view that the medias representation of ethnic minorities is becoming more positive.

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Introduction

(b) Outline and assess the view that the media?s representation of ethnic minorities is becoming more positive. Today in countries such as those in Europe and North America, the relationship between the media and ethnic minorities is typically characterised by continuity, conflict and change. The mass media are a very powerful organisation within our society. In fact, several Sociologists argue that the mass media directly affects and shapes our beliefs and opinions through repeated exposure to print media news etc. Thus there are many differing views towards the way the media represents individuals in our society. Pluralists for example argue that the mass media only reflects public opinion, with no hidden ideological messages, whereas, Marxist commentators argue quite the contrary, and that the mass media purposefully influences people?s opinions and beliefs in society. In this essay I will evaluate and discuss the view that the media?s representation of ethnic minorities is becoming more positive. Bell Hooks (1992), (a feminist), states that there has been a small change in the area of representation. ...read more.

Middle

Van Dijk also points out that the media ignores the positive influence of ethnic minorities and cultures into British society and instead overemphasises the negatives. This therefore means that there are positive influences of ethnic minorities; however, the media doesn?t want to consider them and make the ethnic groups look good. In fact many sociologists have pointed out that it is a direct link between the negative stereotyping of ethnic minorities and the underachievement of afro-Caribbean students in education who are subsequently, the worst performing ethnic group within the education system. In particular a landmark study conducted by Gillborn and Youdell (2000) found that teachers had racialised expectations of black pupils, and saw their behaviour as threatening. This study was highly acclaimed and seems to suggest that teacher racism is one of the main factors affecting Afro-Caribbean student?s achievement in education. This would therefore seem to suggest that the negative media stereotyping reinforces the racialised expectations teachers have. ...read more.

Conclusion

The survey found that ethnic minorities accounted for a total of 7% of ethnic minorities in the UK whereas in the television media, 42% of characters on television programmes were of an ethnic minority. Thus Pluralists would argue that the media does not under-represent ethnic minorities and instead over-represents ethnic minorities. Moreover, Pluralists note that the media?s representation of ethnic minorities has improved in recent years. It would be reasonable to conclude, that the media, is positive in today?s generation in its representation of ethnic minorities. In addition to this, many studies have pointed out that the media seems to also negatively stereotype people of particular genders, class?, disabilities and ages and therefore is not only specific to ethnic origin. Thus it does appear that the media has negatively stereotyped ethnic minorities. However, many of the landmark studies were conducted in the previous 40 years or so. There has been an enormous social change over the last 30 years with various legislations passed protecting minority ethnic people?s rights, and further changes will definitely take place in the future ? making the media and the society more equal in its representations of minorities. ...read more.

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