Assess the view that ethnic minorities are negatively represented in the media. Ethnic minorities are, at the moment, flavour of the month with broadcasters in the UK. With seasons on the likes of Channel 4 dedicated to Indian culture etc. Currently ethnic minorities are shown positively on certain platforms. Not all platforms are so positive.
With the recent terrorist attacks around the world, in New York, Bali and now Mombassa, the main culprits appear to be Muslim fanatics.The fact that these events have been so heavily documented has meant that these groups are very negatively represented in the newspapers. The so called ‘war on terror’ seems to be aimed at Muslims, and some people have taken this to the extreme with racist attacks. These can only be due to the media coverage of such events. Coverage shows the terrorists attacks aimed at shocking and disgusting the viewer into hating these people. Unfortunately, the culprits are giving all Muslims a bad image.
Another target for the media are asylum seekers. In the UK asylum seekers are seen to sponge off the state, taking benefits and living in our council run accommodation and taking our jobs. Many asylum seekers are seen as false and are coming to England because it is seen as a ‘soft touch’. The public dislike people using the country in this way. These groups are instantly negatively represented, and it is the way of the people of Britain to think that they are all the same, every asylum seeker is here to sponge off our state.
Asylum seekers are also seen to be criminals. There are groups campaigning to ensure that asylum seekers are not in their area. These include popular TV presenter Toyah Wilcox. There is the belief that the country in over run with asylum seekers.
This is of course not the case, but the media would have us believe it. In fact in Doncaster, only 1% of the population are seeking asylum in this country. That’s just over 3,000 people.Van Dijk suggests that the people most likely to be portrayed as criminals are black males. He uses the Rodney King incident of 1990 as an example of double standards in the world today. This is an incident in Los Angeles when a white police officer beat a black man on the streets. There were riots by both black and white people in favour of Rodney King.
However, the media just showed the black rioters and the damage that they caused. There was uproar and once again black people were vilified.Soap operas use black and ethnic actors for parts of criminals. This is the type of thing Van Dijk talks about. However, there must be a demand for this as broadcasters and publishers continue to negatively represent ethnic minorities. It is a sad fact that there must be a huge audience in favour of this, as figures for these programmes and newspapers remain high. We live as an active audience, and so we know that if we don’t like something we don’t have to watch it or read it. Yet we continue to do so.
Perhaps the fact that they are ethnic minorities means that they have a small voice in the media arena and so this practice will not change dramatically. However, as I mentioned above, broadcasters seem to be making an effort, by bring these cultures to the fore and celebrating them.