By Lyla W.
Over the years society has undeniably made huge alterations and changes in general, not to forget the transformations of how people are accepted and their rights as an individual based on their gender, age and race. Throughout the process of this transformation, one of the dominant resources that was used to relay this topic of minorities from race in comparison to a higher classed society was through the media.
A minority group within society is defined as being “a culturally, ethnically, or racially distinct group that coexists with but is subordinate to a more dominant group” (DictionaryReference.com). Minority groups have always existed, and always will exist to some degree, but over the last decade there has been a massive change within media itself and the way society uses it and interacts with it. The technological changes over the generations have allowed media to reach a whole new audience, which has resulted in society having some form of control over what is displayed in the media.
The media is a very powerful resource as it has the ability to relay information to a huge diverse audience, ultimately showing and shaping the viewers thoughts and ideas about a certain situation. As the researchers of ‘The Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television” article suggest, it is socially important to document how minorities are depicted on television as well as how such portrayals have changed over time. (Turner)
While diversity and equality among races is the ultimate goal, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are recognized as the four largest minority groups within the Unites States Of America. (Larson). When the media portrays these groups as being minorities, not only does it show the inequality we are still faced with, it also creates stereotypes that are then conveyed to the large diverse viewing audience. Television emerges as a consumer-oriented medium that reflects advertisers’ desire to reach a young, upscale, and primarily White audience. (Goodale1999; Henderson and Baldasty 2003: 100). As a result of this primarily white audience, other races and ethnic groups are often put aside when it comes to the social media’s view of how Americans should live.
With the huge diversity of races we have within the country, it is disappointing that we still have minority groups within the media and to have these minority groups not being covered by the media fairly or accurately. With the maintenance of these stereotypes and demographic levels among society, modern race relations still display circumstances that were present within racial groups hundreds of years ago. Since society has continued to maintain these minorities in today’s media we still see this inequality that was present in the past.
It is disappointing that society refers to an individual from their race or social class and not their ability as an individual undergoing the certain task. “Today's minority groups all have suffered — and to some extent continue to suffer — economic, political, and social disadvantages because of their racial or ethnic identity”. (Pollard) Considering the progress and transformations that these minority groups have already displayed, some analysts believe that these racial and ethnic minorities can only continue to assimilate into the wider society and lose their minority status. With the continuous growth of race created communities within the United States, we can only hope that they will soon be seen as equal citizens and be portrayed by the media both fairly and accurately, for example it is very common for ethnic communities to be formed within cities as this creates an area where the specific racial group is no longer the minority and everything that is portrayed is primarily directed to that communities ethnic group. Within Los Angeles, you see these ethnic focused communities very regularly. In different areas of Los Angeles, you are able to find these communities as we have such a diverse society that there are thousands of people that struggle with being seen as a minority and as a result gravitate towards other people within the same racial group. This then creates a community filled with the same race, which allows them to practice traditions without having limitations, have access to authentic foods, as well as continue to live in an environment that focuses on portrays that specific ethnic group in only a positive, dominant manner.
The upper class male citizens are considered to be the prevailing group within the media. The white class has always held a dominant position within society and the media. In an economic standpoint, the upper class male citizens are viewed as having the purchasing power, which as a result influences their dominance even greater. The media then displays information that relates to this dominant class, showing things like American sports, politics and issues affecting the white class society. For example, the media is very particular about how they portray the upper class male citizens and the white ethnic group in general. The white society has such power and dominance within humanity, that to a sense, the media in then shaped and conveyed to accommodate this white society. The minority groups are generally displayed as being the provoker and the aggressor within the media. It is very uncommon for a minority ethnic group to be portrayed in a positive or heroic sense. This is not to say that they are never displayed in any other way, but considering what we mostly see within the media, whether it is intentional or not, minorities are clearly not the dominant group when it comes to positive headlines.
Very few Americans actually know how big the African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans minority groups actually are and with the transformations that these groups have already undergone, many individuals believe that minorities no longer exist. However, as Larson states these minority groups are still existent and feel as though they are unfairly and inaccurately portrayed through the media.
Geo. "Minorities in the Media: Stereotypes And Negativity." Temple Journalism Review. Temple Journalism Review, 26 May 2009. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.
Henderson, Jennifer Jacobs; Baldasty, Gerald J. 2003 “Race, advertising, and prime-time television” Howard Journal of Communications 2(14): 97-112.
Larson, Stephanie Greco. Media & Minorities: The Politics of Race in News and Entertainment. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.
"Minority Group." © Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. 20 Oct. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/minority group>.
Monk-Turne, Elizabeth, Mary Heiserman, Crystle Johnson, Vanity Cotton, and Manny Jackson. "The Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television: A Replication of the Mastro and Greenberg Study a Decade Later." Editorial. Studies In Popular Culture. N.p., Spring 2010. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.
Pollard, Kelvin M., and William P. O'Hare. "Population Bulletin." PopulationBullAmericaRace&Ethnic. Population Bulletin, 3 Nov. 1999. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.