Race in the Media

Race and stereotyping in the media can be dangerous as it can exclude people from their culture and identity. Michael Reich developed the Segmentation Theory, where he describes racism in an economic viewpoint. Basically this theory states that racism is used to weaken the bargaining power of the working class, encourage bias, segregate certain groups and ultimately to make sure that the elite benefit from these racial stereotypes.

It can be seen how the media divides racial groups through the roles people of a certain ethnicity are cast. African-American males are always depicted gangstas or drug dealers, by focusing on the negative parts of the African American community it keeps them in poverty and keeps the elites on top. This type of racial discrimination ties in with what Chimamanda Adichie was saying in her TED talk ‘The danger of a single story’. If this is the only story we see and hear of African-Americans we assume this is what it means to be African-American, because it shows them as one thing so in the viewer’s mind this is what they become.

Asians are usually never in lead roles of Hollywood movies and much like the concept blackface, if there is an Asian part to be played typically white people are cast and their eyes could be altered so they are made to look Asian. Movies such The Last Airbender and Cloud Atlas have created a lot of controversy over this longstanding Hollywood practice that has been used to discriminate against racial groups.  Asian males are portrayed as nerdy, sexless (they are never seen as something to be desired) or they know martial arts, they are sidekicks or co-stars but never the leading man. This representation is a problem as many talented Asian actors are never treated as full-time actors and are stuck to race-specific roles just because of what race they are, this is unfair and discriminatory. 


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