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Diversity, Media & Stereotypes

1. In your opinion, are stereotypes in the media assisting or detracting from the cause of diversity and/or assimilation?
2. In your opinion, what is the effect of media portrayal on promoting diversity consciousness in the workplace?
3. Could the stereotypes in the media be changed?

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1. In your opinion, are stereotypes in the media assisting or detracting from the cause of diversity and/or assimilation?
For example, most would agree that the media plays a positive role in assisting the causes of diversity and/or assimilation to a certain extent, but stereotypes act as a definite detractor from the cause of diversity as stereotypes lead to racism and discrimination. On the positive side, for example, strides in media integration of racial and aboriginal minorities have not gone unnoticed. These are evident in the U.S., where African-Americans (but not Hispanics or Asians) are increasingly featured in TV commercials - from high-powered executives to personal-product advocates, once deemed off-limits to people of color. But much of the existing research continues to underestimate the challenges of restructuring media-minority relations http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/articles/diversity/media_minorities.cfm, and promote stereotypes that leads to racism, sexism, etc. and discrimination, which clearly detracts form the cause of diversity and/or assimilation.
For example, another positive role of the media and in fact, it is well known that the media in its variety of forms provides a crucial role for all communities in the provision of information and news, entertainment, discussion, education and in the important fields of cultural reproduction, identity and language. This is true for both the minority and majority communities. For example, it is argued (which makes sense) that access to media in minority languages and with content relevant to minorities themselves is an important factor in providing minorities with a sense of belonging, acceptance, community and well-being. http://www.minorityrights.org/International/int_stat_detail.asp?ID=98
However, on the flip side, as mentioned above, stereotypes in the media clearly detract from the cause of diversity (e.g., which is about accepting and embracing individual differences, while also recognizing the similarities across all cultures, etc.). This process begins the childhood, most would argue, where the education teaches about diversity and encourages assimilation or at least the acceptance of individual differences, but yet the media promotes stereotypes that separate and divide different groups of people (e.g. detracting) by stereotyping and only focusing on the differences. The true cause of diversity is to accept the differences, but also recognize similarities across all groups (e.g., human qualities).
For example, Petrozza (n.d.) writes that stereotyping promotes racism and sexism (distracting from the cause of diversity) in an article available on-line at http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/media.html. Briefly, she argues that the “media is a major contributor to the propagation of racism, sexism and stereotypes in our pluralistic society. Media racism acknowledges the pervasive influence of both structures and agendas that have an unintended yet negative effect-both systemic and subliminal-of misrepresenting minority women and men (Fleras and Kunz, 2001). Critical awareness of how the media propagates these notions in children has to be brought to the forefront, she argues. She demonstrates this relation effectively, through critically dissecting the movie Pocahontas, a children's film that although attempting to be a representation of a different culture has been proven to be inaccurate and as a result a brutal misrepresentation of the culture it attempts to represent (see Example 1 below or click on http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/media.html)
The following analyses clearing demonstrate how the stereotypes of Native Americans and their life acts to divide as it points only to the differences (and not accurate), which clearly detracts from the cause of diversity. However, ...

Solution Summary

This solution debates the notion that stereotypes in the media are assisting or detracting from the cause of diversity and/or assimilation. It also explores the effect of media portrayal on promoting diversity consciousness in the workplace and whether or not the stereotypes in the media can be changed. Supplemented with an informative article on Media, Stereotypes and Diversity.