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Representation of Ethnicity in the Media

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  1. 1. Ethnicity Revision Notes
  2. 2. Diversity and Ethnicity There is diversity within our culture; however, this is not always represented in all aspects of our culture. One area that doesn‟t reflect a diverse nature of society is work places. People from ethnic minority backgrounds are under represented in betterpaid and powerful jobs. Catergorising People 1. Black British 2. White Caucasian 3. Chinese, Japanese and Korean Asian 4. Indian and Pakistani Asian 5. Hispanic
  3. 3. Stereotypes Hispanic – family bonds, tradition, cooking Black (British) – angry, thugs, violent, „n‟ word White caucasion – across spectrum, resist stereotypes Asian China Korea and Japan – tradition, nerdy, intelligent, parent pressure, wealthy or not, takeaway Asian India and Pakistan – take away, corner shop, strong family values, crime (sexual assault).
  4. 4. Notes on: Love Thy Neighbour Love Thy Neighbour was a British sitcom that was around from 1972 until 1976. Within this time period there were seven series. The drama was about two working class couples of different ethnicities a white British and a black British couple. Within the programme, although this was the first introduction of black actors appearing regularly on television, there were some strong underlining representation of ethnic minority groups that would be considered offensive. An example of this is in season 3 episode 1 (the GPO) where Barbie begins to make racist comments about the colour of their skin, claiming that this is acceptable for her to do as it would only be offensive if said by a white person. Barbie says “you know Bill, I‟ve been thinking. In future, I‟m going to buy you black socks.” Bill asks, “Why?” to which Barbie replies “so that when you get a hole in them it won‟t show.” Bill disapproves of her comments and discovers that Barbie has heard this joke (and others) from comedians. Barbie justifies that this isn‟t offensive because they also make jokes about white people, and Bill says that it still isn‟t fair because “they deserve it”. This gives a bad representation of black ethnic groups, Bill, considered a representative of this group, is shown to be racist toward white people. There is clearly a divide between ethnic groups in the programme, as when their phone arrives, the white man that sets up their phone insists black is not a colour, where as white is. This implies that black people do not belong to the same class as white people, as their skin is not even regarded as a colour. This suggestion of racism would have reinforced the underlining ideologies that may have been held by many white British during the 1970s, where racism was less apparent than it had been before, however still clearly present. Although the binary opposition in this programme is often shown as being between the husband and wife of the two couples, there are subtle implications that it is between the black and white couple. This is especially shown by Bill referring to their neighbour, Eddie as “white hunky,” with “the lowest tastes possible”. Also, when Barbie discovers that they are sharing their phone line with their white neighbours, her and Bill argue as to who is going to tell them this, showing that they don‟t enjoy communication with the other couple, reinforcing the divide between black and white British people. The sitcom represents the ethnic minority group of black British people as an acceptable group to mock. When the phone installer man leaves, he turns to Bill and says “don‟t make too many calls to Africa will you?” Many of the racist jokes made are followed by canned laughter, this is meant to encourage audiences watching to laugh at what has been said, reinforcing ideologies that were going out of date.
  5. 5. Notes on: The Independent – Bonnie Greer BME (black ethnic minority groups) television writers are being denied work, the last original black-authored drama series, Black Silk, premiered back in 1985. BME writers are only accepted when they are young or under a certain age. Television needs to wake up to minorities before it ends up in a museum.
  6. 6. Notes on: Daily Mail – Lindsay Johns Intelligent and sentient people should all strongly dislike urban black ghetto dramas. These dramas give a damaging stereotype of black people, they portray only one reality for black people compared to other, more positive realities that the black British experience. But these are never depicted on televisions. Top boy would serve a great ammunition for people who are racist: guns, hoodies, drugs and violence. It is written by a white Irishman called Ronan Benentt. Frustration due to the fact that white people are writing a drama about black people using offensive stereotypes. Violence and gang culture are glorified, which is not something that should be accepted easily. These things can only increase the chance of this behaviour occurring in young people. Black lower classes are portrayed unfairly – using street slang, rap music, fast cars and baggy jeans.
  7. 7. Notes on: TV Tropes Stereotypes Afro Asskicker African terrorist Black dude dies first Sassy black woman Nerdy Asian Urban Ghetto Identical looking Asians “N” word privileges Imperturbable English
  8. 8. Notes on: The Guardian Homeland High profile Muslims in the US helpers of the al-Qadia terrorist leader. Arabs and Islamists portrayed as violent fanatics, who are powerful and influential infiltrators. It is crude, childish and offensive in the way it depicts Arabs and Islamists. How we portray the “other” – those whom we fear or are suspicious of – reinforces cultures of conflict. Arabs since the 1920‟s depicted as either being bombers, belly dancers or billionaires. African Americans most negatively stereotyped according to studies. Homeland reflects cultural and social anxieties, reinforcing them and shaping them. Counter stereotypical fictional depictions can have a positive impact.
  9. 9. Notes on: Art Lab – David Gauntlett races in the media We construct our understanding within an ideology, we speak through an ideology and that ideology enables us to make sense of our social reality and our position within it. Ideologies become natural and ideologically motivated representations become common sense. Media has the power to shape and control beliefs, attitudes and understandings concerning race. Attitudes of whites towards non-whites are influenced by media representation. Study revealed that although white participants acknowledged stereotypical representations of ethnic minority groups on television, they continued attributing these negative characteristics to ethnic minorities in real life. For a majority of white people with no direct experience of black culture, their attitudes are based on the media. Studies indicate that the media plays a key role in attitude formation, they select the information that the public receive, and that selection is ideologically motivated. Images of blackness don‟t represent the social reality of being black, instead they position us into a way of thinking about blackness.
  10. 10. Notes on Top Boy: Episode 1 Setting established in shots, Urban city area, council flats. Police sirens, implications of crime. Multi cultural area, main focus on black British men. Hoodies, suspicious behaviour, drug dealing, slang, guns, violence, swearing, gang involvement, poverty, multiple phones, mental illness, instability. This television programme feeds stereotypical prejudices held by white audiences, reinforcing offensive ideologies. For example, the idea that black British are members of gangs and live in urban city areas.
  11. 11. Notes on: Line of Duty - Advert Antony Gates, successful, powerful chief inspector detective. Family man, children run to him and hug him. Kissing two different women? Aggressive, violent and portrayed as dangerous. Telling someone to kill someone. Antony depicts black people as deceitful, seeming nice on the surface but being much darker inside.