The Problem of Racism in America
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The Coverage of Racial Discourse by Mass Media
The issue of race is topical in every society. It is considered from different perspectives and points of view. In the modern era, people should be fully aware of the impact that the image of racial prejudice has on the public. Nowadays, the representatives of different social institutions deal with this issue; however, social workers are those who are always engaged in handling the problems of the unfortunate stratum that is often denigrated and overlooked by mass media. Social identity is of great importance for people that prepare reports for the Internet or physical publication. Therefore, it is obvious that the question of racism is common in America and it has an impact on those with power and those who do not have it. The task of social workers is to overcome the racial and identity prejudices posed by mass media in the present day society.
To make the discussion more sound, the artifacts in forms of images from different sources, including books, magazines, journals, and newspapers, have been chosen. In fact, these images will say nothing to an average American. However, looking at them from the perspective of racial identity, it becomes clear that the white people dominate on most of the images. Only a few publications included the images of African-Americans represented by Barack Obama and his wife, and Oprah Winfrey. Therefore, the majority of people illustrated in mass media are white Americans, that shows their dominance over the others.
The Internet Gives Rise to the Race Issues
The issue of dominance of white population over the black one can be seen on the Internet as well. If one types a word ‘wealthy’ in the Google search box, he or she will find thousands of images of the white people. Some of them are young and beautiful, others are older and quite unattractive. In addition, there are some abstract pictures found. Therefore, the outcome of such a search is one – there is the affluence of the whites. Next, if one types the word ‘poor’ in Google, the results will be quite shocking. The non-white ethnicities dominate on the pictures. What is more confusing is that the greater part of those shown on the images is children. No matter how thoroughly a person looks through these pictures, he or she will not see a white representative there.
In order to understand the issue of racial identity presented by these images, one has to apply to the cycle of socialization. The cycle shows the ways the social identities form and the impact they have. In addition, to explore the issue deeper, the analysis of the scientific literature should be made. As a result, it can be stated that when one identifies him or herself with a specific social group, that person should deal with the stereotypes connected with that group. In case of race, social identity relates to the ways a person lives the life. Therefore, the images found refer to the media that aims at projecting a social identity on a person, but does it negatively if a person is colored.
The impact of such images on the public is enormous. The issues of racial disclosure like this one lead to the ethical prejudices, especially in social and economic spheres. What is more, social and economic inequality is supported by the racial ideology. The vision of the ideology explains the status quo that is oppressive for many people. What is worse, the problem is so deep-rooted that it is difficult to change anything. However, many researchers state that racial politics is constantly changing that is challenging for the status quo. In case of the above mentioned images, the racial disclosure is vivid though subtle. The dominance of white people on the images of different published sources and the pictures found on the Internet shows the side the mass media takes nowadays.
Racism and Socioeconomic Class
The main reason for racial discourse lies in the fact that this issue has been existing for centuries. The white population is considered to be wealthy and powerful, thus reinforcing stereotypes. Everybody knows that the whites take higher positions in the government establishments, institutional affiliations as well as the media. As a result, there is no matter how many individuals are trying to change the status quo or how many people stand on their feet due to professional help of social workers, the situation remains unchanged and the problem is not solved. There can be a real change if the system acknowledges the problem on all levels immediately. It is known that to solve the issues of racial inequality, the major changes in social and political institutions as well as the sharing of the power have to occur. In this case, social workers must deal not only with those who experience social and racial prejudice but also with those who express it. To make this process effective, the system has to cooperate with the social workers who are perfectly aware of the effects of the racial discourse on the public. The social work must have positive results so that the changes can happen.
Undoubtedly, it is not an easy task to change the system that is content with itself and knows how to conceal prejudice. Many researchers state that nowadays the members of dominated ethnic groups are more subtle when it comes to the racial discourse. The bright example of it is the images mentioned above. Such pictures do not offend any particular race though they clearly indicate the division of population. This phenomenon can be considered as a particular strategy that presents the positive self-image and the negative other-image. It means that the positive or neutral topics about America dominate over the negative ones. Such state of things causes even more difficulties in the attempts of social workers to support the oppressed.
When taking into account the cycles of socialization, the above mentioned images directly correspond to certain stages. One of such stages is the ‘institutional and cultural socialization’ presented by Harro. The step illustrates the primary exposure of a person to mass media outside the home. For example, within a family, a child can be already familiar with different stereotypes that the media reinforce, but when a child faces it on his or her own for the first time in the bookstore or on the Internet, it becomes a part of the identity of the child. Such a situation causes the challenges that social workers experience when dealing with the issues of social identity dictated by racial discourse. As a result, those engaged in social work have to combat the pressure caused by the stereotypes the people they help experience while being perceived from the racial standpoint. A social worker may be regarded as a privileged and wealthy person that aliens with the representatives of other races who have formed their image of the whites based on what the media offer.
The issue of racism is common in the American society; what is more, it is widely covered by mass media in different ways. It is known that once a person becomes familiar with a problem, the problem cannot be avoided anymore. One can look through the printed sources and see a great number of pictures of the whites or search Google thousands of times and do not know about the racial discourse until the person becomes familiar with such a thing. This way the person would try to fight against the prevalence of prejudice of the existing system because its effects cannot be hidden. Without doubt, it will take one much time and effort to overcome the stereotypes especially those created by the media.
Unfortunately, nowadays social workers are losing their battle against the system prejudice. Racial discourse is so deeply-rooted in the modern media that favor the whites, their power and wealth, that it seems impossible to change the status quo. Nevertheless, great social changes happened before and they undoubtedly can happen again. What is more, the job of social workers will always be encouraged since they are eager to give a helping hand to all those who experience racial biases or other social problems. However, if the racial prejudices could be eliminated, it would lighten the burden the social workers carry day by day.
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