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Are ethnic minorities still marginalised in Contemporary media?

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Introduction

Are ethnic minorities still marginalised in Contemporary media? In the last decade there has been an enormous change in the nature of the media and the ways people interact with it. For example, cable, terrestrial and satellite television channels plus widespread cheap access to the Internet and digital technology have spread rapidly from the USA to many other parts of the world. In addition audiences are now able to interact with the media to some extent, so they are able to exercise some control over the form and sometimes the content of the message they receive. For representation to be meaningful to audiences, there needs to be a shared recognition of people, situations and ideas. It is very difficult to generalise about representations of ethnicity in the media. The main reason for this is that some sub-sections of broadcast, print and film media are oriented to and sensitive towards questions of ethnicity. For example programmes and even satellite channels are dedicated to Asian issues, magazines are made for those with Caribbean roots. These types of media represent minority ethnic groups in appropriate ways. There is much research evidence to suggest that the modern media in particular tend to stereotype the cultural values and norms of behaviours of some minority groups. New stories are often cast in terms of the threat posed by minority ethnic groups: by their increasing numbers, criminality or in some other way. A classic example of this is a 27-year-old Algerian asylum seeker whose application had been refused. This refugee stabbed a police officer named Stephen Oake. "The Guardian" reported this incident on Thursday 16th January. The shadow Prime Minister Iain Duncan Smith was quoted as saying, "The priority for the government must be that no person should be allowed to enter the country if they pose a risk to our security." Unfortunately this is easier said than done. Not every foreign person is a threat to the security of Britain as the newspaper have us believe. ...read more.

Middle

The audience are persuaded to find meaning within this text by journalists stating laws which he thinks Farrakhan Is likely to break for example, "Our anti-racial incitement laws have also been strengthened. If Mr.Farrakhan indulges in his old rhetoric, it would not be difficult to arrest and deport him." This clearly shows the media's power of influence. In contemporary media, advertising has represented black people with more dignity than other mediums within the media. In advertising stereotypes haven't disappeared altogether they still remain but in more covert forms. Ethnic minorities in contemporary mainstream advertising are seen as portraying greater sensuality and advocates sexual fantasies. One illustration is a major advertising campaign for a chocolate bar in the mid 1990s, with America model Tyra Banks. Tyra Banks is posing naked and is strategically covered with gold sheets. Her full body was represented in posters instead of just a facial view. Maybe because the European population is predominantly Caucasian it made more commercial sense for the industry to explore the imaginary when portraying people of colour, rather than acknowledging them as a different group of people with similar lifestyles. Mass marketing campaigns are based on targeting a wide audience, with little or no emphasis on subpopulation such as ethnic minorities. Alvarado et al (1987) in their analysis of race and ethnic representation in the media, used the term "required construction" to refer to the concepts of racial differences and racism within the media. These constructions and social justifications are possibly seen at their most contorted in the situation where one culture tries to dominate another. They believe, black people have been represented as wondrous and strange by white Europeans, Americans and Australians. Their cultures are not understood but are extracted, exoticised and revered by na�ve western eyes. Traditionally ethnic minorities have not been perceived as powerful by mainstream society. And since power intimidates, they have enjoyed little symbolic form of authority in advertising, leaving possibilities for fantasized images instead. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to a BBC news online survey, 78% of people polled thought that ethnic minorities are better represented on TV now than they were ten years ago. Fair and accurate representation of all communities is needed within contemporary media. We live in a multicultural society and there is a mosaic of different types of ethnic minorities who are constantly changing and redefining themselves. They need to be represented individually and not as a group. TV executives and decision makers at all levels need to stop looking down from their glass ceiling and be aware of the shifts in society. Patrick Augustus, writer of series "Baby Father" on BBC says many ethnic characters on television are "written by white people for white people." And "writers are lazy and have their own hidden agendas." Stereotypes, like genre can be said to exist, even if their elements shift over time as well as within and across particular media, and even though audiences understand them in often-ambiguous ways. Media representation of social groups vary considerably. The treatment of minority ethnic groups is very different, for example, in popular newspapers to the treatment in television comedy and film. Changes in social attitudes and awareness over the years have led in some cases to marked differences in the representation of particular social groups in the same media. No matter how old or challenging to contemporary views, many programmes are continuously recycled by cable and satellite companies. This diversity makes generalising about media representations of social groups both difficult and hazardous because with time attitudes change. After researching several mediums within the media, such as newspapers, television and advertising I have found that ethnic minorities are portrayed fairer than they have been in previous decades but are still not portrayed as fairly as they should be in contemporary media. Therefore ethnic minorities are still marginalized. Word count: 3,161 Marlon Fihosy Sources of Information The Sun The Guardian Cnn.com Pride magazine New Nation Media and Meaning: an introduction Colin Stewart et al. ...read more.

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