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Media, Identity and the Popular
Journalism & Communication
Pages 12 (3012 words)
How are characters in current or recent television or film texts specifically coded in relation to race and/or ethnicity? “As a way of categorizing people, race is based upon a delusion because popular ideas about racial classification lack scientific validity and are moulded by political pressures rather than by the evidence from biology” Banton & Harwood, 1975: 8 Introduction: The role of media in creating and perpetuating dominant images through public representation of socio-cultural relations is undeniable.
Given the power, extent, and outreach of popular media – including films and television, the social construction of characters belonging to racial and ethnic minorities are bound to have a significant impact on the wider audience (Downing & Husband, 2005). Signorielli (2001) described television as "the nation’s primary story-teller" (p. 36) engaged in the role of continuously 'feeding' its audience with healthy doses of what can be construed as 'mainstream' views (Gerbner et al., 2002). The representation of racial and ethnic minorities in films and television, hence, is a critical subject of analysis and needs to be explored because the sheer extent of media outreach and the number of ardent viewers these forms of popular media attract almost ensure a greater social impact over a period of time (Mastro & Greenberg, 2000). ...
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