Media’s role in shaping views and creating racial discourse.
The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses. ~ Malcolm X
Globalisation has enabled the crossover of cultures and ideologies from one place to another. Media, being the main drivers of globalisation, portrays these ideologies to the masses. Everyone relies on media to attain information and knowledge.
By analysing different sources of media, and exploring the extent to which the discourses are shaped that may lead to racism and otherization in an intercultural communication, the power of media is understood.
Intercultural Communication - Communication between people of different social groups. Culture has an influence in the communication taking place (Spencer-Oatley,2006).
Racism - The ideology, structure and process involved when viewing a different ethnic group and the act of dominance and use of power from one group over the rest.
Two types of racism:
Old racism - Overt and unapologetic form of racism displayed towards the minorities.
New racism - Democratic and respectable form of racism, where minorities are not seen as inferior but different and need guidance to correct their “deficiencies”.
Otherization - As described by Holliday et al. (2004), individuals tend to assign identity for themselves and their cultures tend to construct an idea on how to read and understand those of different cultures.
Text One: For One Night Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/93/For_One_Night_oficial_poster.jpg
The movie starring Raven Symone and Aisha Tyler was directed by Ernest R. Dickerson.
The movie based on a true life story, is about racism towards the African Americans by the Americans
The film focuses on how an African American, with the help of a freelance reporter and her senior from her school, reverse the years of racist traditions of having segregated proms for the Whites and Blacks and manage to have an integrated prom for one night, making history.
For one night is a film inspired by a true story, of Gerica McCary who in 2002 made news by planning an integrated prom in her school Taylor County high school. There has been a segregated prom because the school had stopped funding for proms due to interracial dating.
This movie is mainly targeted at youths to show that racism still exists today and also to educate them to change their views. It shows that isolation is created if people are segregated and it is unfair to both the Blacks and Whites as they had grown up together but not allowed to graduate together.
It is aimed also at Americans, who have a mixture of ethnicities around them and people with different socioeconomic status demographics.
Student Gerica McCary who made headlines in 2002 by bringing national attention to Butler, Georgia Shandra Hill Smith, a freelance journalist who focussed media attention towards the fight of an integrated prom. Image sources: http:// www.mylifetime.com/movies/shandra -hill-smith http://foronenightmovie.blogspot.com/2011/09/real-gerica-mccrary-aka-gerica-mcrary.html http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/01/national/main551926.shtml
B: It’s not an original idea y’know, most schools have one senior prom.
D: Yeah, but y’know this is Mersey A and we’re not just talking about any prom, we’re talking about an integrated prom.
B: No one says ‘integrated’ about our schools any more
D: Just cause someone doesn’t say a word out loud, doesn’t mean they are not thinking it. Sure, nobody says ‘segregated’ about school either. Ya, I went to school here too and we called it “Black Prom” and “White Prom" and we didn’t think about it as segregated but that’s what it was. That’s what you are fighting.
B: It’s not a fight. We’re friends, we just want to have our parties together- it’s not that big a deal.
D: then why all the objections and the committees and the-
B: you used to live here, you know exactly how it is.
Source: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v = IWNuoarkFGQ (1:19 mins to 2:05 mins)
The most evident feature here is old racism present in this text. It is evident that the Blacks are being shunned down because they have coloured skins. The use of words such as “segregation”, “integration” and “coloured people” demonstrates this.
The practice of having two separate proms for 31 years illustrates clearly that the Whites do not consider the Blacks to be of the same level as them, despite the students gaining the same amount of education together.
The school stopped funding for proms because of interracial relationships. The way the Whites are acting towards the Blacks shows that the Whites are the ones in power and the dominant class, and do not want to engage in intercultural communication.
Explicit racism is practised throughout this movie, where ethnicity, social inequalities and power distribution is portrayed.
An article written by Nicola Kean for Salient, the student magazine of Victoria University, Wellington and published in March 2007.
Article is a feature on Asians in New Zealand and an opinion in response to the cover story “Asian Angst: is it time to send some back?” by former ACT MP Deborah Coddington’s for North and South magazine.
This article shows how the Asians are viewed as the “others” and how they feel that racism is being practised towards them and that the Asians are not represented in New Zealand.
“ Quotes admit only of those in power and influence and neglect opinions of those who are powerless.” (Teo, 2000).
In addition, “ minorities are largely silent and are hardly quoted or quoted with distance and suspicion” (van Dijk, 2000).
One of the sources in this text states that he had given an interview to Coddington for her article and the way in which she quoted him made it seem that “ use of my quote would have given the impression that I supported her views – which I most definitely do not”
The source is a minority and an Asian and hence, his quote was altered.
“ Sandwiched between tales of drug pushers and kidnappers is the claim that between 1996 and 2005 crimes committed by “Asiatics” – that is, Asian migrants excluding those from the Indian subcontinent – increased by fifty per cent.” (Kean, 2007, para 7)
This statement shows that Asians are considered as “others” and do not fit in among the New Zealanders. The Asians are read as “ Asiatics” and as mentioned by the author earlier that the prior article named Asians as criminals.
In this text, media has played a role of disseminating the message from the minorities.
Nicola Kean has covered this feature on the minorities and how they felt about the article published prior to this feature.
It is reflected in this feature that the Asians were not featured well in the prior article and their quotes were altered with.
Coddington’s article had unequal power distribution where she focuses on viewpoints of the New Zealanders and not of Asians.
In this article, the power is distributed towards the Asians and mainly Chinese are focussed on. Chinese seems to represent the Asian population. However, the other Asian migrants are not represented in this article.
Even in the New Zealand television, Asians are not represented much and because of this they do not engage in the media due to the miscommunication.
Spencer-Oatley, H. (2006). Sociolinguistics and intercultural communication. In U. Ammon, N. Dittmar, K. Mattheir & P. Trudgill (Eds.), Sociolinguistics/soziolinguistik. An international handbook of the science of language and society (Vol. 3, pp.2537-2546). Berlin: Mouton de Grutyer
Teo, P. (2000). Racism in the news. A critical discourse analysis of news reporting in two Australian newspapers . (pp. 18-20). Discourse & Society,11(1), 7-49.
Younge, G. (2003, May 3). White-Only Proms: Dancing to an Old Southern Segregationist Tune. Published by Guardian: UK Retreived from: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0503-03.htm
X, M. Retrieved from: http://www.finestquotes.com/select_quote-category-Media-page-0.htm