Media Literacy Class That Focuses on Race

Racism is a serious world issue that has often been used as a tool to inflict worry and hatred on others during wars or economic downtowns throughout the human history. It is a trust invented by the society which at long last effects in inequalities between different racial and ethnic groups. Symbols of race as constructed by the society encompass skin color, origin, language, mannerisms among others. These stereotypes have conveyed feelings of hostility, alienation, and worthlessness amongst the affected. Efforts to counter the effects of racism have not been felt as the situation is, in fact, worsening at present. In the United States of America, the development is slow given its history of slavery in the colonial period, and it is reported that households are as segregated as they were in the 1960s. The European countries are no different and are dealing with issues to do with race, politics, and immigration in the present. Race is an illusion that has existed for centuries; from the beginning of time and lives with us as part of the society, however, the media supports this statement with its depictions that have transformed the society.

According to Buckley, the media has a has a large influence on how people think and relate to one another with its biggest contenders being television and the internet (pg. 50). Mostly, the media is often under pressure to produce stories that would attract the attention of its viewers and readers. For that reason, they have even gone further to the extent of presenting fake news with no substantial evidence to support their claims. In today’s society, media coverage of crime has been exaggerated thereby conflicting the public’s misconceptions on race. The racial minorities are portrayed to be crime suspects and the whites as crime victims which is not always the case. A study on the television news found that 37% of the suspects were black even though in the actual sense they made up 21% of those arrested. Another study reported that the black and Latino suspects were presented in a more threatening way than the whites in mug shots and some cases are left unnamed. Acts of violence by these minorities are generalized as an entire group rather than reporting the story as an exceptional crime whereas, in the case of a white, it is categorized as an extreme incident. On reality-based shows, they are treated more aggressively by cops. By skewing racial perceptions on crimes, the news media has contributed to the harsh policies that exist in the criminal justice system and have cultivated praise in one race and fear in another.

There is some biasness in news coverage where race is concerned. Reporters and journalists have developed this habit of covering stories that are more likely to attract greater audiences and in this case the whites. For example, stories about missing women are often about attractive white ladies while the black women gain very little national media attention or none at all. Magazines too fail to promote diversity seeing that a great percentage of the models in many covers are Caucasian (Buckley 57). Television shows, on the other hand, present an American society that is made of one race which makes children close-minded. They spend many hours watching TV, and since they are young, it makes them easy to impact. They grow up prejudiced because the media does not represent the diversity that exists in the society. So, you now understand the role of the media in promoting racism when a kid asks why most of the people in TV are always white. Advertisement companies under the influence the media have not been left behind, most of the adverts are being performed by the white people.

The media also unreasonably represents the African Americans in their news stories on poverty which is most likely to reinforce the existing stereotypes (Wilson, et al. 49). For instance, the low-income blacks in news stories in most cases live in slums or urban areas, are unemployed as opposed to living in rural areas and working. They are also deemed to be lazy, stupid and drug dealers. In movies, the African Americans live in ghettos, dance very well and do not speak proper English while stereotypes about the Italian Americans is that they are in the mafia and have odd names. The missing stories not covered by the media continue to create a different perception on racial minorities, and their suffering is easily assumed to be their fault.

Benefits of media literacy on presentations of race

It is the role of the education system to provide students with the necessary skills to function in a media-dominated society and to counter the negative stereotypes portrayed by social peer groups (Memmi 101). Media literacy on the presentation of race is an intervention to help students interpret media information and help improve their attitudes towards racial minorities. Too many at times the youth do not question the views presented by the media and accept them at face value. Media literacy courses would help create awareness of the media’s pervasive nature and equip the students with critical thinking skills to enable them to make informed decisions and improve their relationships with members of racial minority groups. They are educated on the racial issues on which they are actively engaged since they watch television and movies, read newspapers and explore the internet on a daily basis. Knowledge of how the media has influenced the stereotypes that exist concerning social issues would give them a better understanding of diversity, identity, and difference. They are therefore able to reclaim their attitudes by making new narratives of the media content at hand.

Media literacy further contributes to personal growth through exploring the connection between the popular culture, their attitudes and self-image and victims of color injustices can lead healthier relationships with others. Lastly, it prepares the young people for a workforce where the demand for sophisticated forms of communication is on the rise.

CONCLUSION

Race is a concept that developed as a result of society’s illusions and has continued to influence our relationships with others. The media is powerful and has helped perpetuate the negative stereotypes concerning the racial minorities that still exist in the 21st century in new forms. The society completely accepts these depictions, and if this issue is ignored, it will continue to have the same psychological effects it had in the past and continues to have in the present. The media influences people on varying degrees and to the young people, they see the media as an environment in which they can rely on for identity construction. It is thus imperative that media literacy classes are offered to impact students with skills to help them assess the credibility of the media information.

Works Cited

Buckley, A M. Racism. ABDO Pub, 2011.

Kleppinger, Kathryn A. Branding the ‘beur’ Author: Minority Writing and the Media in France, 1983-2013. 2015.

Memmi, A. Racism. Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Wilson, Clint C, et al. Racism, Sexism, and the Media: The Rise of Class Communication in Multicultural America. SAGE, 2012.

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