If I stated that ethnic minorities are placed in a bad light within the media, there would be little evidence to prove otherwise. Since the London 2012 riots in particular, the media consistently links youth stabbings to ethnic minorities. It has resulted in negative stereotypes, with some newspapers categorising ethnic minorities as unlawful and dangerous. In my opinion, it’s quite unfortunate, as it means that almost all black people and Asian people get generalised. When in reality, these stereotypes are not always true. Through apps such as Twitter and Snapchat, videos of police brutality in particular, are able to show the discrimination and oppression which ethnic minorities face in society. They show the unpainted reality of what it is like to be an ethnic minority, in a country such as America. In short, they are able to prove these newspapers wrong.
Yet this is not something new. By focusing on the policing crisis of the 1900’s, we can see that the tactics that the media use are exactly the same. Sociologists such as Lea and Young, and Gilroy all take a critical approach to the portrayal of ethnic minorities in the media. As left-realists, they argue that the main reasons that crime is committed is due to subcultures, marginalisation and relative deprivation. If we are look at the House of Parliament in 2017, there is still a lack of representativeness… there are simply not enough female politicians or politicians from an ethnic minority background present there. Though this is just one example, it does not mean that all ethnic minorities will commit crime if they suffer from these three factors, nor should it mean that the media should present ethnic minorities in a specific way as a result.
To add to this, cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, introduced the concept ‘policing the crisis’ in order to deal with what was considered a ‘new’ form of crime in the eyes of the media in the 20th century. As a result of this, the media chose to refer to robbery as ‘mugging’. Immediately, this created a moral panic within society, with ethnic minorities being looked down upon by their counterparts in society. While in reality the term ‘mugging’ was simply a new slang term for robbing.
In Hall’s book ‘Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order’, black workers are referred to as “sub-proletarian stratum”, as they are “exploited and oppressed at two different levels: as black workers (super-exploitation) and as a racial minority (racism)” (Hall, 1978). The latter term definitely shines through the various race studies which have taken place, including the fact that black people are 17 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than any other race (Morris, 2015).
However as an ethnic minority myself, there certainly comes a point where you begin to start questioning when the media will stop being biased against ethnic minorities? We see it on newspapers daily. Race and religion are constantly tied in with headlines when an ethnic minority commits a crime, while mentally illness is usually the blame for crimes committed by white people.
The list of examples is endless. But, we cannot just sit around simply doing nothing.
Instead, the media should place more light on the inspirational things many ethnic minorities are doing within their communities. For example, Mikai Mcderott has recently started up her own charity ‘CariConnect’ which aims to help more people from Carribbean descent attend Russell Group universities. It is individuals such as these who have not allowed their race to get in the way of their goals. And if you are reading this an as an ethnic minority yourself, you shouldn’t let it either.