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Race Is A Significant Factor In Identification Of Individuals And Groups

1695 words - 7 pages

Race similar to gender and other demographic factors is a significant vehicle for the identification. The acceptation and/or toleration of specific races within society have been through and continue to go through an evolutionary process. The idea of a post-racial society revolves around the ideology that the success point has been reached between “us and them”. Equality between races has become legislative law within the Charter of Human Rights and Freedom, which means the battle is over. This fantasy mentality is due the naturalized process of racism and racial discrimination (Hall, 272). Naturalized racism is especially dominant in aspects of pop culture including television, and movies. Racism has been commodified and depicted as an act of celebration, which adds to the invisibility. Pop culture has an influential role in constructing and producing the celebratory and commodified ideology of racism.
Stuart Hall claims that to understand the ideology of race it is important to understand ideologies themselves. Individuals do not create ideologies; they are a social formations and conditions that are constructed by an articulation of many different elements (Hall, 272). Ideologies are able to construct values, ideas and beliefs within society because they are unconscious and naturalized (Hall, 272). Ideologies help us “make meaning” of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. Racism as Hall claims is “one of the most profoundly ‘naturalised’ existing ideology” (Hall 272). Pop culture and mass media are two influential channels that produce this ideology. Hall has broken down the racism ideology within pop culture and the media into two categories: overt and inferential. Overt racism refers “to those many occasions when open and favorable coverage is given to arguments positions and spokespersons who are in the business of elaborating an openly racist argument or advancing a racist policy or view” (Hall 273). Inferential racism is the “naturalised representations of events or situations related to face whether factual or fictional…. Inscribed in them [is] a set of unquestioned assumptions” (Hall 273). Inferential racism or naturalised racism is most commonly found in pop culture specifically in television and movies.
In his analysis of British television and movies Hall explains that there are three characters African Americans tend to play, the “slave”, “the native” and “the clown or entertainer” (Hall, 276). In present day these particular versions have changed but they still hold the same traces (Hall, 277). An example of these modern black characters would be the “gangster or hood-rats” and the “underdog”. Although these are new version they still hold the same traces even though they appear to carry different meaning (Hall, 277). The gangster or hood-rat character is similar to the savage ideal. In crime shows specifically Law & Order SVU, which deals with several rape storylines it, is more common for a black male to be...

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