“Ethnicity is still too often portrayed by the mass media in ways that reinforce stereotypes” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view?
A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing, these can be gender specific or towards a specific race.
Stuart Hall (1978) conducted research and found that between August 1972 and August 1973 there were at least reports of 60 muggings in national newspapers and that there had been a reported increase of 129%. He states that the media was attempting to cause a moral panic to create fear in the public and Black people were the folk devils in which the moral panic was based around. He argues two reasons for the cause of this moral panic:
The state and the ruling class were suffering a ‘crisis of hegemony’ and that there was a decline in the dominance of the ruling class due to ‘Black Power’ demonstrations, the oil crisis and strikes and power cuts. The second reason was the ruling classes needed to regain control and making mugging a moral panic achieved this by portraying violent crimes as a threat to society, which lead to the justified use of a police crackdown, muggers were portrayed as black and justified the targeting of black people by police. Hall also explains how the labelling of black people as criminals then leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy as they are stopped and searched more and arrested more, making them appear in official statistics and committing more crime than other races, Hall says this demonstrates how the ruling class use the justice system to criminalise groups in society who oppose them and portray them in negative stereotypical ways.
The film ‘Boyz N The Hood (1991)’ supports this view of criminalising black people and leading them into a self-fulfilling prophecy of thinking that crime is the only option in life. The film follows two brothers Doughboy and Ricky and their close friend Tre, Tre and...