The role of mass media in spreading racism




Even in the age of the internet, which is some sort of an information superhighway, there are a few major actors, such as Google and Facebook, that control the traffic and at times, introduce bias. The mass media houses are using this new information technology to get their messages out as well. In addition to traditional avenues like radio, magazine, and television, the internet is being highly utilized by different mass media organizations.


Mass media is guilty of propagating stereotypes that perpetuate racism because of selective programming and partial reporting.

They pick and choose what news items to broadcast and for the sake of ratings, the news focuses on aspects that have a certain appeal to segments of the society, at the expense of other members of the society.


Therefore, it will be difficult to talk about the origin and propagation of racism without looking at the role of mass media inseminating information and the impact this information has on race relationships.

Take the case of Africa, which has been described as the dark continent, the white man’s grave to a place of extreme poverty, famine, diseases, and death. Nobody is refusing that there is no farming, disease, and death in Africa, but the problem is when the only things that the news outlets in the western world focus on are war, disease, famine, and poverty.


Many in the west who have never gone to Africa are having this distorted view that is not true. The fact is that there are famine and suffering in Africa, but many people are also well fed, prosperous, and doing well. Everybody is not living on trees or grass huts, as some in the west want everybody to believe.


The question is why so many news outlets only focus on what is wrong with Africa and Africans, but not what is right in Africa?

This one-sided, biased reporting has painted a picture of Africa that is false and distorted.

On the flip side, the images and stories that west feeds into Africa and the rest of the world are carefully staged to give an image of unparallelled prosperity, sophistication, and advancement.


The picture of the West that is presented is perfect and flawless that the rest of the world has bought into the lie that in the West, there are no problems. Some even think there is no poverty and no homelessness and no suffering. Technological advances have solved all human problems.

This false image of some earthly paradise is far from the reality on the ground in most of these countries.


As you can see, all these positive and negative messages are consumed through our five senses, and they end up forming our opinions about the world around us, including the people that we interact with.


The portrayal of people from different parts of the world is not limited to Africa alone. Most of the so-called third world or less developed or developing countries for lack of a better word are all portrayed in a negative light. Whoever decided that some countries are third world and some as developed and some not-so-developed has contributed to some of the racial tensions across the globe. This is another thing that we will be touching on in later chapters.


Our five senses are the channels through which racism is transmitted. Therefore, any solution to the issue of racism that does not attack it at the level of the senses is hallowed and will not yield any lasting results.


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