The duration of this quarter has exposed me to forms of racism that I hadn’t considered previously.
While it was evident in mainstream media that racial slurs still existed and people were still racist, prejudice and all around unkind to one another– I didn’t realize how subtle the acts of racism in the media could be until I took part in this examination.
Particularly in the second portion of the blog, I was able to take an in depth look at films, television shows and other means of media outlet in order to illustrate a deeper theme among all of these mediums.
Racism doesn’t exist in instances by which it is done purposefully or forcefully– but it occurs in places that are unexpected and perhaps unintentional.
Unlike real life, the racism portrayed in the media isn’t always necessarily meant to harm people intentionally– however it uses cultural stories and histories in order to evoke a feeling from an individual. A prime example of that type of subliminal messaging is seen in the PlayStation ad. While it wasn’t an intentional way of saying one race is better than another– it used ones thoughts and perceptions about race in a historical context in order to evoke a particular understanding when the image was viewed. We also were able to see this in the first section of the blog, when analyzing the casting choices of the film Avatar– and the creation of the relationship between the white audience and the white hero. With the white population being a much larger audience– it’s possible that they considered them as their primary target.
We can assume that a large chunk of modern American media is directed towards the predominately white audience– therefore the content, the assumptions, the illustrations are all written in consideration of their experiences, their perceptions and their likeness.
This type of white targeting is evident in the Volksgwagen “fake” commercial we see. The target audience was clearly not that of a middle eastern man or woman– that audience would have immediately taken offense to the image– but the white man or woman who has the opportunity and the privilege to say whether or not they find it offensive or politically acceptable. It’s fortunate to see how many white men and women were extremely unsupportive of the imagry– it shows how America, while not perfect, has progressed a small amount in their social acceptance of people who are different than themselves.
In a historical context– white America was taught to devalue anyone who was of a different skin tone, race, ethnicity– and this value structure existed in America well into the 50’s. We could assume that as it was something that was enforced by the media by infiltration that the teachings of how to produce media and evoke thoughts may have not changed a great deal since that period of time.
Building on stories of culture, identification and representation– we’re able to see that racism is evident in media and culture however we aren’t always able to determine the source, the reason or the cause– on the other hand, we’re able to see that it has been integrated into the way we watch and consume images– thus we can examine it and find out it’s meaning by using a historical lens and cultural studies discourse.