Blog Post/ Discussion Question: "Whites of Their Eyes, Ideologies and The Media"

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Stuart Hall gives a concise but in depth argument towards racism in media. His argument is that racism in the media is a repercussion from ideology. Hall uses the term ideology to "refer to those images, concepts and premises which provide the frameworks through which we represent, interpret understand, and "make sense" of some aspect of social existence" (p. 204).

Hall prompts three important notes about ideology in order to understand the presence of racism in media. The first is "ideologies do not consist of isolated and separate concepts, but in the articulation of different elements into a distinctive set or chain of meanings". I interpreted that as culturally acceptable ideologies are created through the communication of various characteristics of an abstract idea that once connected create an overall meaning. The second important thing about ideology, stated by Hall is "Ideological statements are made by individuals: but ideologies are not the product of individual consciousness or intention". The third and last understanding of ideology was stated as, "Ideologies 'work' by constructing for their subjects (individual and collective) positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to 'utter' ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors" (p. 204,205). Media plays such a crucial and defining role in our society. Media is intended to demonstrate a realist understanding of our past and present day society. Because of this and the power of influence it hold on our society media controls how we present ideologies to the public. Therefore, media is controlling the "real world" cultural outcomes.

With these three understandings of ideology Hall discusses the "overt" and "inferential" racism present in our media. "Overt" racism is when an occasion presents itself to bias give coverage or attention to a person, issue, or argument in order to discuss racist policy or view. "Inferential" racism is a naturalized event or situation discussing race which ultimately ends up giving an unconscious and unrecognized assumptions towards a particular race. Hall gives many base-images of racism in media, such as, the slave-figure, the native, and the clown or entertainer. Although in todays media the stereotypes are blended a bit more, Hall think these images have been reworked and rooted in todays modern images; that the racist ideologies are "just below the surface".

Discussion Questions:
- Was societies racism developed because of ideologies in media or did humans natural
define racism (unconsciously from natural instincts) creating ideologies that support racial stereotypes then depicted through media?
- Is the idea of "primitivism" given as an excuse for racist stereotypes in media or is it actually apart of evolution and the human species?

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This page contains a single entry by robbx063 published on October 8, 2012 12:42 AM.

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