Hall, "The Whites of Their Eyes"


Use the following to guide your reading post your discussion questions below:

1. How does Hall understand ideology (89-90)? Where does it come from? What does it do? How do we inhabit ideology?

2. What does Hall mean when he describes media as "part of the dominant means of ideological production" (90)?

3. What does Hall mean by "overt" racism? What does he mean by "inferential racism"? Can you think of a media example in which each one operates? (91)

4. What are some tropes of inferential racism that Hall mentions? What tropes of inferential racism have you noticed that Hall does not address?

5. What does Hall mean by "the grammar of race" (91-92)? What are some of its elements?

6. Hall describes the recurring figures of this "grammar of race" as deeply ambivalent, a kind of "double vision of the white eye through which they are seen" (92). What does he mean by this?

7. What are some present-day media examples in which inferential racism, in Hall's terms, operates? Are there "grammars of race" that you have observed in media that Hall overlooks?


Hall describes ideologies as not consisting of isolated and separate concepts. Rather that ideologies are defined by the articulation of different elements. The articulation (or connecting) of these elements are what ultimately give them meaning, and it is in the way that these elements are articulated that give them meaning in different contexts. He uses the idea of freedom to exemplify how ideologies can have different meanings to different groups. How does the media articulate racism differently to different audiences?

My question pertains to page 214 where Hall talks about how TV shows address race relations problems. Does anyone agree on his description of how "every word and image of such programmes are impregnated with unconscious racism because they are all predicated on the unstated and unrecognized assumption that the BLACKS are the SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM"? (caps used for emphasis). I have never seen a show with the problem of racism as the theme that implied that the group that was discriminated against (which is usually black people) were the source of the problem.

While reading on page 215 about how racial characters are usually used for "entertaining" purposes, I can think of many example from previous classes I have taken, however, like DarkStar above me ^^, I cannot think of any recent shows where racialized characters were comedic sources only, or where they were the "source of the problem"

In this article, I found the conversation on page 91 to be very interesting. That part talks about the different types of racism. In the beginning of the article it talks about the different ideologies and how that comes to play with different groups of people. I wonder how different targeted groups view the popular display of overt or inferential racism. Do they take action against the portrayed images?

While reading Stuart Hall's article "The Whites of their Eyes," I again found myself having questions through out. I think it was hard to follow at times, but some of the points he made, made sense to me. In the beginning when he states on page 212, "Language and ideology are not the same-snice the same linguistic term ("democracy," or "freedom") can be deployed within in different ideological discourses. Does Hall mean we can use those terms in one context to mean one way and use them again in a different context and they can mean something different? I want to understand more of what he is getting at here, and why is it that language and ideology aren't the same. If he means what I think he may mean then I can see why, but if he means something different then why is this the case. I would also like to discuss more about why media plays a role and acts as a source for ideas about race. What is Hall referring to when he talks about unconscious racism, where in the media is an example?

I think when Hall describes media as "part of the dominant means of ideological production" he means that what ever media produces, we see it to be true. The media might have to twist it a little bit of it but it is not something that we don't know already. I think when we watch it on tv it just confirms our ideas or beliefs. My question is why does the media choose to construct these meaning if they know it is racist?

Question 1.
I think the key word in that quote is "part." Many people place complete blame on the media for creating these ideologies, especially racism. I think Hall is one of the few people we have read about that actually tries to hold societies and cultures accountable too. My question is, why do so many people continue to not take accountability for these ideologies?

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on March 1, 2013 8:59 AM.

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