Media and Stereotyping
The media no doubt play an important role in shaping public opinion, and have done so for a very long time. As such, it is quite plausible to argue that the media in essence have played a key role in the development of current stereotypes that individuals from minority communities are commonly viewed with. The video “A Short History of Asians in America”, as well as the two articles “How the NY Times Helped Railroad Wen Ho Lee,” and “100 Years of Anti-Arab Stereotyping,” serve to in a way, reaffirm Kozol’s views regarding the role of outside forces in creating stereotypes that have constantly impacted minority groups negatively.
In the video, the stereotype against Asians and discrimination are all depicted to have started almost 2 centuries ago, and continue to persist simply because of how the media continues to perpetuate these stereotypes. The media continues to depict Asian Americans as less of Americans than their white counterparts. This is evident from the biased reporting that occurs as well as the biased roles that most entertainers are cast to play, further fuelling the stereotypes already created, and in actual sense, affecting the ability of minorities to bridge the gap created by numerous injustices committed in the course of history. The story by Kozol on Elio and her friends perhaps offers insight into the possibilities when it comes to correcting the inequalities that have not only dogged the education system but also other aspects of life for most minority groups. The story by Kozol, regarding St. Ann is actually quite inspiring, more so if stereotypes as peddled by the media are to be corrected. In fact, the environment provided by St. Ann cannot be replicated, unless the media adjusts its approach and views towards the minority groups. Findings by Jack Shaheen as reported in “100 Years of Anti-Arab Stereotyping,” seem to suggest that the damage stereotyping does, negates any efforts that are being made to achieve equality for the minorities, an assertion that the manner with which Wen Ho Lee was treated, as a result of rogue and irresponsible reporting by the New York Times, confirms.
The story regarding espionage by Wen Ho Lee, no doubt created significant disquiet and distrust amongst most American Citizens towards their Chinese American counterparts, as it heightened emotions unnecessarily and helped rekindle bad blood that had existed due to historical occurrences. This was typically a case of the media unnecessarily fueling stereotypes and fanning discrimination.
These articles serve to confirm the fact that the media must be considered as an external force that is constantly disrupting efforts to achieve equality, through continuous stereotyping and irresponsible reporting. The media is essentially an external factor that must be taken into account whenever discussions regarding inequality and injustices against minority groups are being held. The media has undoubtedly made a significant contribution towards the inequalities that exist; primarily through biased reporting. For instance, Wen Ho Lee was simply singled out to be the fall guy in a conspiracy theory because of his race. He simply happened to be the right race, in the right place, at the right time. A phenomenon that is typical of so many cases of racial discrimination and victimization. Looking at matters through the lens provided by Kozol, offers a refreshing picture of what can be achieved through cooperation and a complete change in attitude.