Media’s Role in People’s Perception of Minorities
The global community has made noticeable progress in its attempts at accepting minorities and reconciling cultural differences with the members of underrepresented cultures. However, even in the present-day sociocultural and sociopolitical environment, multiple biases still exist, driving the members of the cultural majority to keep their prejudices against diversity. While in some settings, these prejudices stay dormant, in others, they reign rampant, causing minority groups to experience oppression and discrimination (Saleem & Ramasubramanian, 2019). In shaping people’s perception of minorities and their culture, media plays a tremendous role, using cultural signifiers and easily understandable language to transfer key messages about specific cultures and people representing them (Saleem & Ramasubramanian, 2019). Despite the fact that media holds a tremendous potential for changing people’s perspective on the issue of minorities, it cannot be trusted completely since it is always controlled by a comparatively small group of people and, therefore, is prone to a biased perspective.
On the one hand, media can become a crucial device for changing people’s understanding of different cultures, particularly, those defend as minority ones. Specifically, social media with its multiple opportunities for sharing information and exchanging personal opinions and experiences, provides a perfect basis for altering the existing misconceived attitudes toward specific ethnic minority groups. Moreover, social media could be used as an educational tool for building cultural awareness and cultural competence in people using it so that they could participate in cross-cultural communication uninhibitedly and without cultural biases standing in their way (Eason et al., 2018). Additionally, traditional media can also hold significant value as the tool for sharing information. Specifically, news outlets and other published media offers a vital insight into the challenges that minority groups face.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that media is also prone to misconceptions and cultural biases, especially when its owners take a specific political stance and refuse to consider alternative opinions. For instance, Hamborg et al. (2019) posit that the presence of bias in media is nearly unavoidable, which is why a tool for gauging the extent to which the rational respective has been skewed in a particular news piece is necessary. Indeed, given the fact that the authors of articles cannot provide complete neutrality since they need to filter information through the lens of their perspectives and values, the emergence of inaccuracies in media is unavoidable. Therefore, to shape people’s perceptions of minorities, media will not be enough. In addition to the presence of multiple news sources, people will also have to engage in the active cross-cultural dialogue in order to develop a clear and accurate idea of other cultures (Dukes & Gaither, 2017). Thus, people’s opinions will not be clouded by the judgments that may come from an honest and well-meaning place, yet skew the reality significantly, thus affecting the perception of minorities and leading to the development of prejudices and preconceptions.
Being represented by a specific group of people and, therefore, implying the presence of cultural or otherwise significant biases, media cannot be considered an entirely trustworthy tool for changing people’s perception of minorities. Furthermore, as recent examples of media being used to enhance the divide between different groups shows, the specified tool is particularly prone to being abused by authorities and powerful figures. Although, with a substantial amount of diversity, media can be utilized to build cultural awareness, it may still represent a skewed perspective, whether deliberately or unintentionally. Therefore, to ensure that the perception of minorities is developed based on the principles of equality, it is important to ensure that the specified perception is affected not only by several types of media, but also live interactions. Thus, the cultural rift between different populations can be mended.
Dukes, K. N., & Gaither, S. E. (2017). Black racial stereotypes and victim blaming: Implications for media coverage and criminal proceedings in cases of police violence against racial and ethnic minorities. Journal of Social Issues, 73(4), 789-807. Web.
Eason, A. E., Brady, L. M., & Fryberg, S. A. (2018). Reclaiming representations & interrupting the cycle of bias against Native Americans. Daedalus, 147(2), 70-81. Web.
Hamborg, F., Donnay, K., & Gipp, B. (2019). Automated identification of media bias in news articles: an interdisciplinary literature review. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 20(4), 391-415. Web.
Saleem, M., & Ramasubramanian, S. (2019). Muslim Americans’ responses to social identity threats: Effects of media representations and experiences of discrimination. Media Psychology, 22(3), 373-393. Web.