Racism is one of the significant social issues that affect the world today. Racism is a belief that individual or cultural achievement is usually determined by differences between races. The term is used by individuals to view their race as more superior than others and that gives them “right” of ruling others in the society (Entman, Robert and Kimberly 2008). Scientifically, a race is a set of genetic and biological traits of the population based on their skin color, and these characteristics are essential in the study of medicine to improve the healthcare delivery. However, in the modern days, the media is emerging as a significant influence of racism in the society. The media has a substantial effect on the way the society perceive racism primarily in the United States (U.S). As a result, the press has employed various racist perspectives that promote racism in the society.
The media does not provide similar range of coverage for every case. The issue has been reported in the U.S especially when reporting a case of a missing person (West et al. 2017). For example, on July 18, 2015, LaToya Figueroa, an African-American woman was reported to have lost in Philadelphia while she was five months pregnant. She was coming from a low-income family and had a seven-year-old son. Before her disappearance, there was another case of an 18-year-old Natalee Holloway that disappeared on May 30, 2015, while going on a graduation trip in Aruba. She happened to be a white American. Surprisingly, LaToya’s disappearance received minimal coverage from the media while Natalee’s case experienced extensive media coverage. Black radio stations and BET are the only media stations that covered LaToyia’s case despite her family picketed along the streets to gain the attention of the media. Therefore, the media would only conduct a wide coverage if it is about the disappearance of a white individual and countable times if the person if from the Hispanic and black community.
The print media is also contributing to the hatred towards the blacks by the white people. Based on the insights from the book ” The Black Image in the White Mind” that was written by Andrew Grodecki and Robert Entman, the media is shaping the white minds against the blacks by conducting programs that consist of racial patterns that negatively feature African-Americans (Entman et al. 2008).. Studies have shown that the possibility of African American appearing on the television for criminal cases in courts is much higher than those from the white criminals .In case the defendant is an African American, the likelihood of the case proceedings appearing in the media is much higher as compared to when it is for a White American (Billings et al. 2012). The media also portrayed African-Americans as a violent group of people in the society, and this leads to the development of a negative attitude against blacks and other minority groups in the U.S.
Magazines are also promoting racial stereotypes. Particular magazines are based on covering stories about certain celebrities in the entertainment industry. For example, it was reported that certain magazines would cover stories of Maria Claire, Glamour and Cosmopolitan to get the attention of the juvenile Caucasian females. The findings were based on the viewing the presentation of the few models from the minority groups and more of the models are from the white communities (Schemer 2012). A random check on the issue of Cosmopolitan magazine revealed that less of 10% percent of the models that appears in this Magazine comes from Asian or African American and it is an indication of how racial minorities are misrepresented in the printed media. These unethical practices are caused by lack of the media honoring the existence of the Americans as a diverse society.
Racial inequalities happen also happens in the media because journalists and reporters would often search for stories that attract a large group of people among their target audiences (Wilson II et al. 2012). these group of audiences is made up of some people who are much interested in the lifestyles of wealthy individuals, and they do not care about that one of poor people in the society. Similarly, some audiences have a perception that criminal acts are universal among the Hispanic and Black cultures and there is no need to argue about that issue based on the prevailing trends in the media. These stereotypes are contributing to misrepresentation and less extensive media coverage on the lives of the racial minority groups.
Beside television programs and printed media, movies also composed of series of racial stereotypes. For instance, in the “In the Mix” movie there are several stereotypes about African Americans and Italian Americans. The character named Darrel, who is an African American is offered a job of looking after the daughter of mob boss, known as Dolly. The boss is an Italian American. The Italian Americans are stereotyped as people who live the life of a mafia, and they would have strange names such as Salvatore and pasta are their staple food (Wilson II et al. 2012). The African Americans are conversely stereotyped as individuals that would only feed on collards, cornbread and fried chicken besides mastering the art of dancing.
The issue of interracial dating also emerges from the “In the Mix” movie. The current American society is beginning to accept interracial dating as compared to those early days in history. However, the movie shows that the dating between Dolly and Darrel is not allowed in the society especially the mob bosses, who hold the perception that his daughter can only be married to a white man and not any other race (Wilson II et al. 2012). . Therefore, this is an indication that movies still hold back the American society that people should always date within their race.
The media has also been accused of embracing the sentiments from the racist leaders across the U.S. For example, in 2015 the former Education secretary Mr. William Bennett made a controversial statement concerning the relationship between black abortion and minimization of criminal cases in the country. In his statement, he stated that “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down” (Scharrer, Erica and Srividya Ramasubramanian 2015). The secretary was seen to be obsessed with hatred towards the black communities as he thinks that aborting babies from black mothers would reduce the rate of crime in the country.
Further, this kind of words was not expected that could come from a senior government official who is perceived to be much educated and willing to serve all races that exist in the American nation (Entman et al. 2008). Most importantly, instead of the media to stop streaming such statements to the public, they repeated such utterances multiple times (Scharrer et al. 2015). His statement confirmed with the conventional narrative in the media that all African Americans are criminals and this is a good example of how the media spread racism using comments from the prominent individuals in the country.
Besides the stories and level of coverage that stereotypes racism, there is also the element of the hiring of staffs in the media companies which promotes racism in the societies (Scharrer et al. 2015). Various studies have shown that most growing children at home would embrace media personalities that they see every day in the televisions and other visual media as their role models especially school girls. Some African American girls have been reported to feel frustrated when they switch on their TVs and found that most of the time the presenters are white Americans. They view their skin color as main disadvantaged in joining the media industry (Wilson II et al. 2012).The study is further supported by the sentiments from Radio-Television News Directors Association, which states that there are less than 25% of the newsroom staffs from the minority groups. Thirteen percent of the journalists are from the minorities based on the American Society of Newspaper Editors reports (West et al. 2017). The lack of more minority staffs in the media companies is also a misinterpretation of the news by the racial minorities.
The media is the major influence of racism in the society. The extent of media coverage is based on racial preference and t they also filling with whites with hatred towards the black people. Further, there are certain magazines are preferring to cover white models as compare to those from the African American communities and movies are always stereotyped towards certain racial minorities. Moreover, the media always air racist comments from the famous leaders more frequently which negatively influences the society and most of the newsrooms are filled with the dominant race which promotes racism. Therefore, the media is the main contributor of racism in the society.