Some bias is expected. It can not be argued that children's networks have a bias towards showing children, that women's networks show women, and that African American networks show African Americans. As consumers, it is rare to question this phenomenon. But what about networks that are for everyone Is there still a bias in what they show, and who are they biased towards
When it comes to mainstream media and news, there is a particular bias towards racial minorities, one that falsely creates stereotypes and undermines the fight for equality. Black men are often portrayed as aggressive, angry, and unwilling to compromise. Latino/Latinas are portrayed as unwilling to learn English, and as drug smugglers. Native Americans are portrayed as lazy, and alcoholics. Asians are portrayed as quiet and hardworking. Are these images real While all stereotypes are based loosely on some reality, the stereotypes created by the media are even more false then those created through actual human interaction. These images are created from the very small representations of minority available in the media, most of which are already negatively slanted to begin with. But how do we know the media is creating these images
There is an easy answer. Turn on the television, or open a newspaper. The vast majority of what is being seen is white, heterosexual men. The next most common group White, heterosexual women. They are seen in percentages that far outweigh the actual race percentages in the United States. In a society so passionate about equality, how does racial bias remain so strong in the media
Like most forms of equality, racial equality is a long, hard battle. While the need for equality is clear, most people feel a sense of ennui if the battle takes too long. Why keep trying, when the worst battles have already been fought Does the media bias really hurt anyone
Yes. Racial bias, and racism, directly affect and hurt everyone. They hurt the people who are being ignored, or being portrayed only negatively, by creating unrealistic stereotypes which they have to fight, and also by limiting the positive role models young children of color have available. Racism affects the media majority, because those same stereotypes create an unnecessary fear and a separate between races. Racism that is so clear affects society, because it limits the exposure of different cultures and groups, making understanding each other and working together for equality that much harder. Racism creates an underlying fear and tension that the United States would be much better without.
However, it is important to note that not all racism, at least portrayed racism, is intentional. Even today, what is shown on television and what is read in newspapers is controlled by a very small group of people. White, upper-class, middle aged, heterosexual men. There is no direct attempt to be racist in what they put out in the media, there are no manuals telling them how to be racist. But, like all groups, they are more comfortable with a familiar face. That face is a white man, not a black woman, or an Asian child.
Some, however, is intentional. By using racially unequal language, a negative image can be portrayed, only by changing one or two words. Stanford Professor Geoffrey Nunberg points out the difference between using refugee and evacuee during the Katrina crisis. By using