Essay on Influence of Media on Racism and Desensitization

7 pages
1685 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Argumentative essay
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Racism is an ongoing characteristic of the world today. It is an antagonism towards specific skin tones, ethnicity, cultural, and religious beliefs. Most people believe that the white people caused racism, but in the real sense, it is more complicated. The idea of racism dates to as early as BC. Notably, despite the ancient extent of racism, its ideology remains well and alive today (Nelson, 2015). Even with development and enlightenment of humanity, people still face discrimination every day based on their skin color. For instance, African Americans still experience hate and denial of opportunities which ensued to the black lives matter campaign. At the same time, the Middle East is also experiencing civil unrests and wrangles based on discrimination of race and cultural differences. Thus, racism is a large breed evident across the globe.

Horrors of brutality and murder have become normalized in the media and the news. In reality, people are subjected to this eminent desensitization as young as in the third grade (Burkholder, 2011). For instance, children are shown how black men and women are dragged from their homes to work in cotton plantations as well as how black women are sexually assaulted, whipped, and, in worst cases, killed. The media goes ahead to show images of young people who appear dehydrated and malnourished but still subjected to work for a white tycoon. Nonetheless, it also displays black people's cruelty towards the whites as a form of retaliation.

Since the media is a fundamental institution in the society, it plays a vital role in providing definitions of who we are (Small, 2014). It reinforces people's norms, values, and beliefs and promotes a sense of consensus. Essentially, the media is not an isolation of the society they represent, in fact, they are an integral aspect of the community (Burkholder, 2011). The music video provided aims to portray the plight of current and past oppression of the black people. It underpins the various negativities associated with skin color. The oppressed, nevertheless, direct their anger even to the innocent white children. The attention thus shifts to whether any of the races deserve such kind of injustice; hence, making the issue a controversy.

Laws have been institutionalized to ensure that racism is no longer a part of the society. However, such a profound belief cannot be changed merely by abolishing some laws when the real roots lie deep in the members of the community. The video provided illustrates that learning institutions have helped to intensify the discrimination of black people. Ideally, schools should focus on shaping one's social behavior (Nelson, 2015). Nonetheless, African American students in public schools are punished more and have lesser access to veteran tutors than their white peers. Furthermore, black students are being expelled twice the rate of their white counterparts. According to a report by Baird (2017), black students were suspended at a sixteen percent rate compared to a twelve percent rate of white learners. At the same time, minority learners are stuck in schools with new, inexperienced teachers who fail to meet certification requirements. Such kinds of discrimination in learning institutions lower the level of academic performance for minority black students, further putting them at a risk of dropping out of school.

A notable contrast, however, is that as much as African Americans are suffering injustices in schools, black teachers and parents have refused to embrace white teachers who are determined to do right (Memmi, 2014). Their minds are engraved with all the wrong perceptions and negative prejudices to the extent that they have failed to accept the white's genuine efforts to restore co-existence. White teachers in black-dominated schools have been affected too. They are teased and sometimes brutalized by their fellow teachers and students. As a result, they end up not going to work. Racial harmony in schools cannot be achieved if the black people community continues to uphold the concept of racial discrimination. The video illustrates that these animosity is being passed on to an innocent generation (Burkholder, 2011). At a very early age, black children are made to believe that oppression and hatred characterize the white community. Therefore, the African American's agents of socialization have failed in their role too.

The video illustrates that cases of murder and police harassment of black people have been on the rise. However, the police officers are rarely charged for taking black lives, and in the few instances where an action is taken, they are seldom convicted (Nelson, 2015). Thus, justice is still segregated from the blacks because they are prejudiced as more likely to commit crimes. For instance, even though whites and blacks use drugs at an approximately equal rate, blacks are more likely to get arrested for marijuana abuse as compared to the whites. Such disparities manifest at all levels in the criminal justice system (Baird, 2017). Consequently, African Americans are more likely to be arrested, intimidated, investigated, and convicted to longer sentences, not forgetting the many pending cases of murder labeled against unarmed black people. As a result, the African American community is left devastated and bitter.

Despite the mentioned brutalities, dangerous African Americans sometimes face the police as a means of retaliation. In such cases, the law of self-defense allows the police to defend themselves and other citizens. In addition, statistics show that black people are disproportionately involved in crime, hence putting themselves on the firing line (Nelson, 2015). For instance, in 2013, FBI statistics disclosed that black criminals carried out 38 percent of the total murders, compared to the thirty-one percent of the non-black offenders. The FBI goes ahead to show that a higher percentage of individuals arrested for rape, manslaughter, robbery, and assault in 2013 were blacks. The argument, therefore, is that blacks are equally involved in crime (Small, 2014). Their participation emanates from their poor living conditions characterized by poverty and limited access to public resources. Consequently, they are more prone to police brutality. In this regard, the focus, therefore, shifts from race to morals and living standards. At the same time, since skin color is no longer a significant factor, it is quite unfair to lay all blame on the police.

Additionally, the clip talks about the plight of African Americans great submission to racism within the health sector. Before the abolition of slavery, the blacks depended on their masters for medical care (Memmi, 2014). Despite the provided access to healthcare, the African Americans continued to receive low-quality medical care. The discrimination now manifests itself in more subtle forms. A good example is in organ transplant and, more specifically, kidney transplant. Despite blacks having a higher occurrence of kidney failure, preference of kidney transplant is given to the whites (Nelson, 2015). People of color tend to spend more time on the waiting list. In addition, infant mortality rate is higher for African American mothers. Children born to the middle class, educated black women are more likely to die after a year as compared to those born to poor white parents with lesser education. The disparities extend into adulthood (Small, 2014). A white man has a longer life expectancy than a black one. Surprisingly, the video highlights the case of a young, informed black man whose doctor recommends him for mental treatment for questioning his treatment methods. Studies further show that black people are given less pain medication compared to their white counterparts.

However, conservatives argue that everybody's health is essential. The magnitude of its importance is not measurable by skin color thus, just like black lives, white lives should as well be taken care of (Memmi, 2014). The conservatives go ahead to argue that the disparities in health are not intentional as most are socially and biologically influenced. For instance, they say that there are conditions in which African Americans live and work that place them at a higher risk of medical attention (Burkholder, 2011). Thus, the blacks should focus on minimizing unhealthy consumptions such as liquor and fast foods. Conservatives also push the blame to the African Americans' failure to adhere to most rules and policies governing the healthcare.

The xxxTentacion video also conveys reverse racism. People of color react on the basis of being victims of discrimination. They demonstrate the hurt and pain experienced by the minority. Thus, as a way of revenging, they vent their anger to the white children; for example, they might resort to lynching a white child in the presence of many other black people. In such cases, no individual stands up to condemn the inhuman act of murder and destruction of property perceived to belong to the whites (Burkholder, 2011). According to them, this revenge is justifiable. Unfortunately, the hate does not affect the real perpetrators of the past injustices; instead, it only continues to build up enmity between the two races (Baird, 2017). Lynching the child shows that African Americans are not any better as they equally propagate reverse racism. Thus, blacks and whites remain primarily segregated, and a lingering distrust between the races is manifested.

Towards the end of the video, there is a call for unity between the warring races. Like an earthquake, the wounds of racism run deep. It has created many damaging ramifications including the devastation of relationships and, most sadly, loss of human life. Racism lies in the minds of the individuals. The most significant weapon in fighting racism is in our minds. People can only be treated inferior if they chose to. Still, teachers, parents, and the media need to start socializing the younger generation in a different way such that they will grow up embracing each other's diversity. On the positive, the experience of discrimination molds an individual into a strong person by increasing their resilience levels. By embracing each other's diversity, we flesh people out in our minds and become comfortable around them, then realize that there is so much beauty lying within.


Baird, I. (2017). An anti-racism methodology: The Native Sons and Daughters and racism against Asians in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian Geographer / Le Geographe Canadien.

Burkholder, Z. (2011). Color in the classroom. Oxford [UK]: Oxford University Press.

Memmi, A. (2014). Racism. Univ Of Minnesota Press.

Nelson, J. (2015). Racism and Anti-Racism in Families: Insights from Performativity Theory. Sociology Compass, 9(6), 487-498.

Small, S. (2014). Racialised barriers. Hoboken: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

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