The media portray and the cultural knowledge of a sign system around the world

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The media portray and the cultural knowledge of a sign system around the world

They provide us with definitions about who we are as a nation; they reinforce our values and norms; they give us concrete examples of what happens to those who transgress these norms; and most importantly, they perpetuate certain ways of seeing the world and peoples within that world.

Himani Bannerji notes that the media provide us with images of prescription and description. They tell us how society sees us and at the same time, tell us how to behave in society.

They promote a notion of consensus - that there is a core group of which we are a part, a core that defines the social order, and that it is in our interest to maintain. Through coverage of those that deviate from the consensus, we are constantly presented with the threat of a lawless society where chaos could reign.

The notion of consensus - that there is a common value system binding us, obscures the hierarchies that are present in Canadian society.

The media portray and the cultural knowledge of a sign system around the world

The media tend to portray all groups as having equal power - equal cultural capital. In other words, all groups who are law abiding have an equal say, and any conflict that exists can be resolved at the level of discourse - through words, and finally, through the socially sanctioned route provided by another central institution - the judicial system.

Inequalities if they exist, within this mythical notion, are translated into the responsibilities of individuals. Within this system of the imaginary, the barriers of racism, sexism, homophobia and class are all translated into individual actions.

Social institutions that perpetuate these barriers are presented as being innocent of these actions. In fact, they are often represented as being too liberal in their intent.

In the same vein, the media see themselves as the "fourth estate" -reporting on issues of concern to the citizens of the nation. The defend their position on grounds of neutrality, objectivity and balance.

They are there to present the "facts" as these are played out in any arena of social life; as being objective by virtue of their distance and nonpartisan relations; and as providing "balanced" coverage by presenting the different sides to an issue.

The media claim that they provide the best possible explanation of issues that occur in society. In that light, they draw from society and return to society, interpretations of events and issues that make "sense" - that fit the prevailing definitions of these issues.

At the same time, the media tend to report most directly, the comments, statements and arguments of other powerful institutions, as for example, the government. Definitions articulated by these social institutions are seen as more credible and hence less open to interrogation. The positions of the elite, in this case, powerful institutions, thus get perpetuated over time and become part and parcel of our definitions of social reality.

How then do the media perpetuate racism? The media do not stand in isolation from the society on which they report. In fact, they are an integral part of society.

The media portray and the cultural knowledge of a sign system around the world

They utilize the same stock of knowledge that is part of that pool of "common sense" which informs all of our lives. It is common sense to expect punishment if one has committed a crime; it is common sense to have a system of law and order; it is common sense that some people will make more money than others.

This pool of common sense knowledge is a reservoir of all our unstated, taken-for-granted assumptions about the world we live in. It is filled with historical traces of previous systems of thought and belief structures.

An inherent part of that historical legacy is the way in which the media positioned and represented peoples who were different; different from what was considered acceptable in Canadian society. That difference covered the entire span of peoples - Aboriginal peoples, people of colour, Jews, Ukrainians, etc.

Any difference was constructed as a negative sign and imbued with connotations of threat, invasion, pollution and the like. People who were different were positioned as "others.

Critical to the media discourse of the time was the opposition between "them" and "us. In contrast, the Scots, English and other preferred groups rated high in terms of positive coverage. The situation was no different in other colonies of the British empire. In Australia, New Zealand and even in the United States which had ceded by the turn of the centurypeople of colour and aboriginal peoples continued to be portrayed in negative terms.

They were most often associated with crime, deviance and the threat of invasion. In several recent studies of the major dailies, it has been found that coverage pertaining to people of colour and aboriginal peoples tends to cluster around particular themes - crime, deviance, exotica and negatively valued differences.

The historical legacy continues to bear influence in the ways in which particular groups are represented.

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Where racism and racialization came together was under periods when different groups were subjected to domination and colonialism in the name of empire and nation building.

With the advent of colonialism, racism underpinned the different and negative valuations attached to skin colour.Despite the media's fawning, Obama's open passivity toward aggressive, brutal dictators didn't make him look like the world leader the office of President of the United States commands.

It made the U.S. itself appear weak, and . The rich media world Canadian children and youth enjoy so much – television, movies, music, videos and video games, and the Internet – has a profound influence on their views of themselves and the world around them.

While media offers children many opportunities to learn and be entertained, some. Many Hollywood films portray typical US-American values and culture, especially White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture, and this is visible in the portrayal of the USA in historical films and films about war (Croteau, Hoynes, & Milan, ).

1 ETHICAL ISSUES IN MEDIA PORTRAYALS OF GENDER, RACE, AND ETHNICITY Position Paper for Media Ethics Roundtable Speech Communication Association Miami, Florida Barbara L.

Baker, Ph.D Department of Communication Central Missouri State University Warrensburg, MO. Several issues come to mind when I think of media . Rich media, cultural knowledge and everything in between Keeping Culture KMS is more than a repository of images, movies and audio recordings.

It draws together cultural knowledge and real world subject matter to form an interconnected perspective, or window, into historical and present day community life. Media and Racism: How then do the media perpetuate racism? The media do not stand in isolation from the society on which they report.

In fact, they are an integral part of society. They utilize the same stock of knowledge that is part of that pool of "common sense" which informs all of our lives.

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