How Minorities Are Portrayed In Mainstream Media?

How Minorities Are Portrayed In Mainstream Media?

In our ever-changing modern world, the problems of inequality have developed in new ways and have become more visible in our society. Moreover, the topic of minorities in mainstream media has become a hot-button issue. With the inaccurate portrayal of women, racial, and ethnic minorities in ways that devalue and commodifies them, the potential dangers are abundant: racism, stereotyping, and a whole slew of other problems. We will address these issues with examples from various outlets to give a broad overview of the issues at hand.

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Women in the Media

Women have always been portrayed as a minority in the media. Early media sources and shows were dominated by male personas. Examples like Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, and Dick Cavett are major players in the early days of mainstream media. The media has always been saturated by male talent; it makes it difficult for women to have their voices heard and have a clear role in movies or films as they are under-represented. In an interview with TIME magazine, Rachel Maddow, the only female to host a prime-time cable news show said, "the industry is still very male, and when women host cable-news shows they are very often paired with men, because they're not allowed to do it on their own for some reason," (TIME). The lack of women in the mainstream news outlets is worrying as well as the lack of parity in the two genders in terms of a role as pointed out by Maddow. Women are also depicted as sexual objects, side characters, and inferior romantic interests in many films. They are often seen with slim curvy bodies. Rarely are women seen with physical flaws in movies, shows, etc. This image is very inaccurate and misleading to real life standards. This unrealistic image can hurt a young woman's mind.

The challenges faced by women are numerous. Misogyny, pay inequality, unequal standings, and higher expectations are all hurdles to pass for women attempting to integrate themselves in the workforce and in the media."Many stereotypes depicted by the media includes female alcohol consumption being judged more harshly than the male behavior of the same nature". In addition, "it is found that representation of drinking practice on YouTube seems to reflect the conventional double"; female drinking is mainly interpreted as a sign of sexual willingness and is strongly stigmatized.

Racial minorities in media

Other minorities have found it difficult to be heard. Minorities like African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans are all underrepresented in the mainstream, and can usually only be found in their niche markets. African American and Hispanic people in movies are often portrayed as thugs or gangsters which is not a fair way to represent them. The author of the book "Bad Feminist" supports this claim as she notices how the media depicts the African American community differently from reality since they are "mediated through the vision of white writers and directors" (Gay 218). Furthermore, "Latino characters have been relegated to a restricted set of roles including criminals, exotic lovers/sex objects, servants/blue-collar workers, and unintelligent objects of ridicule".

The way in which journalists report news about race and crime shapes the public's perception of those races. According to Journal-isms, white Americans' racial perceptions of crime, especially with the association of crime with racial minorities, are a result of news media skewing those perceptions (Prince). The article goes on to describe how 43% of homicide victims in local news are white; however, only 13% of homicide victims in crime reports are white. These statistics clearly indicate that the way in which journalists report the news creates a narrative that misrepresents racial minorities. This misrepresentation eventually finds its way into other forms of media.

For example, primetime television also leads to the development of stereotypes against Latino and Black minorities. According to an article written by Riva Tukachinsky, Dana Mastro, and Moran Yarchi, "Prior to the 1980s, Blacks were seen nearly exclusively in unflattering and largely disparaging roles on television, emphasizing criminality and idleness" (Tukachinsky, Mastro, Yarchi 540). The casting of Black actors in these demeaning roles further established and reinforced stereotypes about Black people. The researchers go on to state that even in recent media content, Blacks are more likely to be depicted as unemployed or blue-collar workers (Tukachinsky, Mastro, Yarchi 540). Decades later, stereotypes about Blacks as unskilled and uneducated people are still being reinforced and supported by their depiction in primetime television. Their study found that this negative representation of Black and Latino minorities in media poses a threat to the identity of ethnic minorities (Tukachinsky, Mastro, Yarchi 551). In other words, the misrepresentation of these minority groups in the media correlates to the creation and strengthening of stereotypes regarding those ethnic minorities.

The list of minorities being devalued in media is endless as the media also paves the road to stereotyping Native American Females, degrading their true culture and values. "It dives into the historical stereotypes of Native American females as drudges, princesses, and prostitutes that is highly saturated in media, movies, and literature"{Lajimodiere, 104}. This, of course, is different from reality where most Native American Females are different from what the media portrays them to be as.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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