The media is one of the significant factors that influence perceptions of ethnic, cultural, and social groups by associating them with positive or adverse events. It has perfected the art of associating people from different ethnic, social, and cultural groups positively or negatively. For instance, the American media portrays Muslims as terrorists and African Americans as criminals (Scharrer & Ramasubramanian,2015). The depiction has influenced how law enforcement and the whites treat these individuals.
Subtle stereotyping in language activates a mindset that prevents individuals from speaking out or achieving their potential in society. The practice can result in social stigma thus affecting strategies to social change.
Prejudice and stereotyping will have negative consequences for society if not reduced. For instance,individuals affected by bias and stereotyping will develop low esteem, lose their motivation, and be indecisive, which may result in dishonorable acts such as violence, and discrimination. Besides, the practice of bigotry will become popular resulting in a lot of conflict in society.
Scharrer, E., & Ramasubramanian, S. (2015). Intervening in the media’s influence on stereotypes of race and ethnicity: The role of media literacy education. Journal of Social Issues, 71(1), 171-185.
Fiske (2016) identifies stereotyping as a readily given image of a particular social group, which is based on negative generalizations, and oversimplified attitudes, opinions, and judgments.
Discrimination is the practice of judging individuals as inferior to one’s status or due to their race, lifestyle, or education (Peterman, 2018). Discriminating against an individual often stems from making decisions on what is likable or unlikable about them.
According to Herek, (2016), prejudice is a negative attitude an individual has towards members of a given group without any evidence or experience with the people. It includes homophobia; xenophobia; racism; ageism; sexism; and religious prejudice.
Stereotypes can be positive if they positively influence the perception of a particular group. For instance, the belief those women are naturally caring encourages people to treat them well and respectfully. However, the practice threatens to widen the achievement gap; for example, the assumption that men are smarter than women jeopardizes their chance of excelling in education and employment.
Fiske, S. T. (2016). Prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. NOBA Project.
Peterman, D. E. (2018). Socioeconomic Status Discrimination. Va. L. Rev., 104, 1283.
Herek, G. M. (2016). The social psychology of sexual prejudice. Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, 2, 355-384.
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