Racism is one of the issues that never stop to be discussed. Thought many movements of right equality, but in fact it can be found in the real life that racism still exists. Based on Oxford Dictionary, the definition of racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. From this definition it can be seen that because of racism there will be discrimination to the people. Many people think that racism and discrimination are the same, but actually both of them are slightly different. Both racism and discrimination are the different treat to people based on their race, origin, gender, religion, etc. Racism is the result of believe that one group is superior to other, where discrimination is the result of the stereotyping or prejudice. This essay will talk about how racism and discrimination still exist in America through the new form of it.
Slavery and extreme discrimination has been decreased in America since the Proclamation of Emancipation in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln (the sixteenth President of America). Slavery is the worst form of racism in American history, because many people suffer and die. Most of the victim from the slavery is the black people. They do not have a right like the human being, but they are just like goods that can be possessed. Thought the extreme discrimination act such as slavery has been abolished, but racism and discrimination still exist with the new form of it. Media as the tool of communication where people are informed and also entertained is one of the new forms of racism that can be found. From the media people try to build the public opinion that can also affect their way of thinking and treat to the certain of group or people.
It can be seen from how media in America try to discriminate certain group or ethnic. Larry Gross in Liebes & Curran (1998) said that media tends to build the image from minority as the effort for the different treat that will affect other minorities. He also said that the majority always has the power and place to express what they feel, where the minority cannot express their feeling and opinion through media. There is the limitation for the minority to show and express how they feel through the media. There is an unbalance access for the minority in media that makes public cannot access the real information from the minority itself.
As one of the example, we can see how media in America inform the 9 September tragedy. People think that Muslim is terrorist because of the news in media. That is why after the incidents, Muslim in America gets a lot of pressure and discrimination. Besides, it can be found easily whether it is noticed or not, that most of the criminalist in American movie is the black people or Arabian. Moore (2001) said in his book that the movies from America try to build the image that black people and Arabian people are terrorist, murderer and also criminalist. Maybe it is unrecognized for some people, but that is indeed what media tries to build. They do not immediately say that black people and Arabian are bad, but they try to make people believe through the real picturisation (movie).
Media has the big role to set how people think. Mauk (2009) said in his book that media also can be one of the tools that is used to gain the power and also leading to the distrust or rejection. Through what people see and hear from media, they will build and have a perception to a certain group of people. According to Slameto (1991), perception relates to the process of receiving message and information into the brain, and through the perception people keep building the relationship with the environment. Perception that people get from the media will also influence how people treat other people.
People said that racism and discrimination has vanished from America, but in fact the racism still exists. From the media and the perception that they build, certain group of people such as black people, Muslim and Arabian are discriminated. Perhaps the effect of racism and discriminated is not as great as the racism and discrimination before, but still there is racism and discrimination exist. Government of America cannot just let this thing off, because America as the country of freedom and liberty also has to make sure that everyone in that country has the same portion of freedom and liberty. It means there is no one has the right to discriminate anyone verbally, physically, immediately or not immediately. Government should pay attention to any form of discrimination and solve it as soon as possible. Thus, America can be the country where democratic can live and develop well.
Mauk, D. (2009). American Civilization (Fifth ed.). Great Britain: TJ International Ltd, Poadstow, Cornwall .
Moore, M. (2001). Stupid White Men. Harper.
Yusuf, I. (2010, October 11). Ketika Media Menjadi Alat Diskriminasi. Retrieved March 27, 2013, from Bincang Media: http://bincangmedia.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/ketika-media-menjadi-alat-diskriminasi/