When topics of race and gender show up in the media, the actual issue usually ends up being put by the wayside and stereotypical portrayals are painted. It can be a movie’s portrayal of a certain race, a newspaper article written in a way that demeans a certain group of people or an advertising campaign on television that promotes and targets a stereotype.
The first example I have to show how uncomfortable America is discussing topics of race and gender is the recent law enacted in Arizona. The full text of the law can be viewed here.If you are not familiar with the bill, it basically authorizes law enforcement in Arizona to check anyone’s residency status if they look “suspicious”, or like an illegal alien, for basically any reason. I personally find it unconstitutional and I think it will be repealed by the Supreme Court. The media has been extremely divisive and split on how to cover the bill, with most all local media outlets reporting something a little different. I read Dallasnews.com often and there has been talk this past week about enacting a similar law for the state of Texas. The consequences of this to me are devastating and will move our society as a whole in the wrong direction. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the coming months.
The second example I see in the media that shows how controversial and divided we are on race and gender issues is a recent article in the Washington Post. The entire article is based around how woman didn’t make gender an issue in this year’s political campaigns. It references how this year could be the ‘year of the woman’. It has a lot of interesting facts about the general landscape of politics and how it is still extremely unbalanced in many states around the country as far as male/female representation. Here is the link.
The last example I have is more a general issue of TV commentators discussing people’s race or gender as meaningful in any way. I watch CNN, local news, television shows, and it is everywhere. So I leave you with an interesting Youtube video that includes some memorable racist moments on TV in recent years. Here is the link.