Reflection post

Due to the growing media influence, racism has evolved from “black and white” in the past to the multi-cultural issue it is now. Racism is a global issue faced by many countries. It is identified as a serious issue that can cause social unrest and moral panic in society. Racism also cause hate-crimes such as murder or racial harassment.

In the last few posts, we have looked into the growing influence that media possesses and also the issues on racism that grew along. We identified stereotyping as one of the main contributing factor to racism and have provided evidence to support the theory that media promotes racism by influencing the audience’s stereotype on different groups of people. This post will provide an insight on the role of media in contributing to the growing racism trend and the various theories that are involved.

Along with the improvement in the quality of life, access to different types of media is no longer limited to the rich and powerful. Mass media now serves as a convenient and important platform for people to gain knowledge and share information with the world.  However this convenience also has its disadvantages as people grew to heavily rely on media to gain new knowledge and information, so much to an extend it shape their mentalities and perceptions. As discussed in the second post, we explore how the abuse of Media Representation Theory in the media can influence the audience’s stereotype towards others. An example would be the reports on black people since the slave trade, how they portray black people and constantly associate them with terms like crime, drugs, rape and animalism (Diawara, 1993). This tend to leave a negative impression of the certain group in the audience’s mind and they are more likely to associate their future experiences based on their impression. Cultivation Theory is also being practiced in the third post, where we mentioned that racism is normalized. As the theory explains that media provide their audience a common perception and value based on what is portrayed on the TV, it could be due to the audiences constant exposure to racist context in everyday’s media contact thus they tend to get the impression that racism is normal.

As mentioned in the fourth post, we examined how the Agenda Setting Theory can have negative impact when the media is bias in being selective on reporting issues and how they tend to amplify certain issues or distort events because of various factors such as political reasons or for monetary benefit. There is also a higher tendency for headlines stories with racial dimensions as it usually creates much more commotion within the community demanding justice. An example from our own country would be the infamous ‘curry incident’ whereby the news reported that a new family from China demanded their Indian neighbors to stop cooking curry as they could not stand the smell of it. The report only state that the new family from China had to resort to involving the Mediation centre to demand that their Singaporean Indian neighbors not to cook curry when they are home, however the media didn’t report that the mediation was voluntary and that decision was agreed on between both parties and not imposed by the mediator. It is only made known when Minister for Law K Shanmugam came forward to clarify the issue. The report created a huge outrage from the local community with many Singaporeans coming out to declare their support by initiating a “Cook A Pot of Curry!” event on Facebook. This report also put the family from China in a negative light and further worsen the situation of Xenophobia in Singapore.

There is no denying that the media is to blame largely for promoting racism, there are also other contributing factors that further instill and sustain racism in the societies. One factor that was suggested that causes racism is our perceptual illusion. We tend to categorize things, and it is a form of stereotyping when we group things together. For example when 100 oranges are placed in front of you, you know there will definitely be some variation in the hues of the colors but you won’t notice it in a significant way as you will subconsciously group all the hues into the same category: ‘orange’. When a new color is introduced, a red apple for this example, that color is uncategorized under ‘orange’ therefore we notice the difference. These illusions lead to have the false impression that other races are different when compared with ourselves. Last but not least, I would like to share my opinion and express that racism is a personal thing whereby it depends on our perception of others. We have a choice to learn more and have a clearer understanding about a certain ethnic group instead of believing everything that the media report states them to be. It is essential to be aware of the threat that the negative media holds and everyone can do their part to contribute towards a more harmonious society.

Word Count: 839


Shanmugam clarifies “curry case”

Is Racism Due To Perceptual Illusions?


7 thoughts on “Reflection post

  1. The Overman says:

    I agree. We are in a new age of “Sharptonism.” Racism is the new communism, and the media is largely to blame.

    I’m a white guy that voted for Obama twice. But the way the media vilified George Zimmerman and refuses to confront the real issues is deplorable. In my opinion, the media has set racial relations back 30 years.

    Please check out my blog, “No Apology, No Peace: The American Media Should Apologize to George Zimmerman.” And keep up the good work.

  2. Mandeep Arak says:

    Who is the author of this? I need to reference this and i can’t find the author.

  3. Tom says:

    I need to source this. What is your name? I have an essay I am writing and there is no name on this site.

  4. staff says:

    whos the author of this

  5. Mike says:

    Media Influence

    After watching some old reruns of Andy Griffith and Leave it to Beaver I was reminiscing about my youth in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Watching the Beaver and Opie leave home and walk about the neighborhood and even downtown I remembered how things used to be. I too used to get on my bike and coast down the hill into town (without a helmet or cell phone). I’d play with my friends. We’d go into the woods for a hike and weenie roast. We would hit one of several stores for a Coke and a frozen Reece’s cup snack. We would hit the swimming hole for a cool dip. We might ride several miles to a trout stream and spend the day fishing, swimming and just having a grand time. As we got older we were bused to school ten miles away so we had friends in that nearby town. My parents allowed us to hitch hike there and back on Saturday. We worked for local farmers and gained some experience about how to be a good employee. My parents worried when we were late getting home but they didn’t automatically think we had been kidnapped or molested by some evil villain.
    Now the point of all of this is that people haven’t changed in these past 50 years. 99% of people are generally good, decent people. The issue arises when that tiny one percent of bad seeds gets most of the publicity in our illustrious media. The negative and the seedy get much of the airtime that comes into our homes. With the real news combined with the reality of TV dramas we become tainted in how we perceive our fellow man. In the light of our media portrayals we are overcome with a false paranoia. We forget that most people are good, sincere and decent folks.
    My wife scolds me if I speak to a child in the department store. She tells me that people don’t like that in this day and age. When we allow the horrors of the world to dictate our emotions in our own neighborhoods we succumb to the media’s list for gory news. If we did not have mass media we might be more ignorant of our world’s dark side but we would certainly be more secure in our own lives. When all we see is the bad side of life on our news programs it has a frightening effect on how we live and relate to our own surroundings. Everyone is scrutinized because we have been informed about how bad people can be. We need to stop and realize that what we see on our news feed reflects an entire world of events. That tiny group of bad people holds many of us in a grip of fear and distrust for our fellow citizens. It’s like everyone is guilty until proven innocent in many instances.
    The depiction portraying minorities in television and movie roles are often shown as criminals. These stereotypes eventually give us a superficial opinion of all minority groups as being bad people. A century ago the events around the globe were reported slowly and often not at all. We knew what was happening near us and got reports in a newspaper about wars and big news events on a weekly basis. News was not a 24 hour, 7 days a week onslaught of repeated visuals with often skewed opinions by colorful reporters. Just turn off your internet, television and smart phone for 30 days and see how much calmer you will feel. In all actuality you likely won’t miss a thing. The future may well hold a place for enterprises devoted to detoxing us from the cyber hell which we have created for ourselves.

  6. Cassidy Carlson says:

    I am writing a paper on societal/racial violence being media driven and found that many of the comments made were accurate. Could you provide me with an author name or some of the sources the author(s) used in finding this information?
    Thank you,
    Cassidy Carlson

  7. Roger Smith says:

    I agree with you. The media, Hollywood, and our whole American system is so racist.

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