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Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Racism in Mass Media Communication

5 pages
1110 words
Sewanee University of the South
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Stereotype can be defined as an over-generalized or a fixed belief towards a particular culture, group of people or community. In most cases, it is based on some spectra of truth or rather a kernel of truth which does not hold much water (Fiske, 2000). For instance, most, people tend to believer that the British make better police than any other people while the Italians are better lovers than any other community. Such perception blurs most people judgment and creates a pattern in the mind that is hard to avoid. Similar when one gets in contact with such a perception one tries to create similarities that match the perceived stereotype. Stereotyping also has a positive side of it because it enables people to identity people with similar characteristic. After identifying one can be able to connect to the person and hence adapt better in a foreign environment. Almost all are guilty of stereotyping, a situation where one places another in an opinion box based on half-truth and not the full truth. All in all, stereotyping is a necessary ingredient for survival that enables humans to identify limitation or gap in a new environment and take the necessary step within the limited amount of time possible.

Prejudice can be defined as the sense judgment due to inherent hostility based on deep negative emotions towards a particular group of people, race or community. Prejudice is much deeper than stereotype since it is built on engraved emotions based on what is good and what is bad or rather morality (Fiske, 2000). For instance, one particular religion claiming that their religion is the true religion or better than the other religions. People with deeply rooted prejudice can end up to be hostile due to the intense emotions that come with prejudice. Hostility arises when the intense negative emotions are converted into actions.

Prejudice can arise due to several factors in the environment. For instance, survival and adaptation may lead to prejudice among different opposition fractions of the society. Humans are an example of being who has evolved and became better than any other beings. Humans have built strong affections towards members of the which mostly leads to biased towards other beings and hostility whenever other groups try to attack humans. Resources and limited space is another factor that can lead to prejudice since favoritism will arise as competition for scarce resources rages. People will start to have prejudice toward fractions that do not share the same opinion which may lead to hostility or even war. Group categorization is another factor that leads to prejudice within a society. The human brain has evolved to recognize those whom they belong with in the same group. It starts with small issues such as trust, who to fight for or against. Such places people into different categories were evoking very strong negative emotions that often results in prejudice. Categorization tends to be deeper than the usual divisions that exist such as race, age or gender (Fiske, 2000). Fear factor that enables humans to detect danger is another aspect that leads to prejudice. A structure in the brain known as the amygdala is capable of filtering possible threat from a different angle even from fellow human beings. By detecting threats in the environment, amygdala makes one judge others emotional leading to prejudice due to fear. The structure explains why at a time some people do not like other people for a reason, they become less empathic due to threats imposed as communicated by the amygdala. At a time the amygdala might be wrong due to negative images displaced by media, public notion or stereotype.

From the factors discussed above as per debate on prejudice, attachment to a group randomly and division leads to acts of discrimination through a conflict of resource, conflict of desire, blame game, and group support.

Racism is an impression that one particular race has inherent superiority over another particular race, the definition depends on the successes and failure of the two groups being compared. Racism is now above stereotype and prejudice since it now becomes a belief that purely relies on genetic endowment. Despite the fact that humans come from the same species, racism has remained a problem. The biological endowment has made one group of people thinking that they are superior and hence have the right to mistreat other races. It is majorly based on skin color, but currently, racism is advancing to other detailed fractions such as religion, body features, and sexual preference. Recent grouping is inherently due to the superiority that a particular group feels towards the other which makes racism thoughts to be evoked easily whenever different groups meet.

Racism can be said to be the manifestation of stereotype mixed with prejudice leading to the human tendency to draw lines. The trend leads to one group feeling and believing that they are powerful hence mistreating the less powerful in the society. As the trend progresses, racism can be expressed through different avenues like visual effects, cultural rituals or even daily habit in public places. The debate becomes bigger it takes media a great deal to understand how this faction that exists in the society behaves at any instance

Media and Cross-Cultural Communication

Racism and prejudice lead to the rise of new cultures having different views of life and belief in socioeconomics of the society. It is therefore important to understand the dimensions of the cultures to get proper way of communication (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005). Therefore, the media play a crucial by either fueling the negativity or enhancing positivity. History has shown media as part of fraternities that have fueled negativity due to the topics that they constantly discuss. Excessive attention towards a particular subject by the media can lead to the assumption that the implied notion is true. For instance, if media houses focus on a topic on ethnicity or racism people will tend to assume that it is true that racism true exists. Media can convince the masses that some expectations are true despite the contrasting norm. Trends to fight prevalent topics that leads to favoritism and stereotyping should be avoided at all cost in media houses.

Media can find a way of enhancing cross-cultural communication to enable people in the society to accept one another and live in harmony. Media can enhance such communication better than any other person since it has the potential to reach as many people as possible.



Ting-Toomey, S., & Chung, L. C. (2005). Understanding intercultural communication. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fiske, S. T. (2000). Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination at the seam between the centuries: Evolution, culture, mind, and brain. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30(3), 299-322.


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