Moving towards racial equality (in the media)

I originally set out to show how the media create a dominant white culture, as it either fails to represent people of colour and/ or merely shows them as stereotypes. Through my research, I found many examples of mainstream media homogenisation and now I want to highlight the aspects of mainstream media which are attempting to reach towards a more equal and diverse perception of society. The Australian social project, ‘Go Back To Where You Came From‘ aired on SBS in 2011 successful in addressing the racism in Australia towards asylum seekers, especially towards ‘boat people’. This show highlighted racism within Australia, which is heavily influenced by the dominant portrayals from the mainstream media. Media slogans about refugees (e.g. they are criminals, using our tax money unfairly and taking advantage of Australia’s freedoms) were the main notions the six mostly white Australian people involved in the project had. It wasn’t until they were forced into experiencing real refugee situations, such as camps and boats that they separated themselves from the mainstream media’s perceptions. The night this program aired it became the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide. This just shows the progress we are making towards becoming a more culturally aware society, which helps break down these racist and white dominated barriers the media are holding us back with.  If you have not already, I highly recommend you watch this SBS program and if you feel compelled to make a difference for asylum seekers go to this link.

The shows that I suggested in a previous post (‘The Slap’ and ‘East West 101’) are also clearly addressing the move towards racial equality within mainstream media. However, as they are aired on non-commercial channels, we clearly still have a long way to go to reach cultural diversity in the media.

Jon Caramanica of the New York Times commented on the minor progression that is slowly taking place in mainstream media. Shows such as ‘Glee’ and ‘Happy Endings’, have started to integrate different races on the same level as white characters, with an equal amount of screen time and displaying our dominant culture as diverse.

Glee has integrated people of colour on an equal level

Happy Endings does the same as Glee, though not quite to the same extent

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz also argues that the lack of equality in the media  has been addressed by audiences and policies have been implanted to create a more diverse image of our world. However, this apparent progress has failed to infiltrate media producers and therefore mainstream media. Jakubowicz also argues that in order to make a difference, we need to pressure politicians (the ALP ), implement “support for independent reviews of the media industry practices, and the building of lobby groups“. Pressure is the only way to get a response and make a change.

Again, visit The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and The NSW Government: Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW to have your say on the lack of diversity within the media.

About intersectionalalien

Hi hello people of earth/space/cyberspace, intersectional alien here. I’m still trying to figure out my place on this earth. I like intersectional feminism, feminism in popular culture, LGBTQ+, refugee rights, veganism, mental health, nihilism, travelling, unlearning institutional conditioning, good tunes and consuming and creating stories.
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