Discrimination of the Nation

Always read between the lines.

5 min readDec 31, 2020
Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych from Shutterstock

It is 2020, but racism is still heavily prevalent in journalism. From tabloids to articles on the web, racism is everywhere. Though it is often not always visible, it is lurking behind the shadows, once again proving that this matter is not resolved.

Firstly, to understand the concept of racism, we must grasp the concept of race itself.

What is race?

Race is a historical concept that divides humanity by their physical characteristics.

It is heavily integrated into society that race is a social construct. This means that we have created our own rules, values and meanings which are subconsciously applied to each other, psychologically classifying society altogether.

According to the journalist Erin Blakemore, racial bias leads to social exclusion, discrimination and violence against people from certain social groups. This leads us to the next section, racism.

What is racism?

The mistreatment of people due to their skin colour, placing white people at the top with the highest superiority.

The criticalness of racism is emphasised by the author Mike Cole, describing the matter as “a frighteningly real, burning and omnipresent issue”.

This is accentuated by the death of George Floyd, which occurred in May earlier this year and antagonised many. Floyd was an African-American man who was brutally killed by a white police officer, his last words “Please! Please! I can’t breathe”. The cruciality of this case was that the Police officers knee was the weapon used, rather than a gun. This lead to a colossal amount of George Floyd protests afterwards, insisting that he only encountered extreme police brutality because of the colour of his skin. It makes you question, if he was white, would he still be dead? Perhaps not. We will never know.

Racism in journalism

Injustice towards all ethnicities is represented in many forms of journalism.

For example, in May this year (yep, the same month that Floyd was killed) The Times newspaper was heavily accused of making racist remarks. Have a look at the article below.

Mark Oosterveen’s image from Twitter

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ they say. Interesting…

The writer Mark Oosterveen spotted this travesty and took to twitter to express his rage, writing the caption “The Times use a photo of black men in an article about cocaine use and IN THE SAME ARTICLE show a graph which says cocaine users are 94% white”.

The image of the black men is automatically associated with the title below, cocaine. This is prejudice, as a pre-conceived opinion that black men are drug users must have been made to link the two aspects together. This is one of the medias over exaggerations, that black men and criminality come hand in hand. This stereotype must be broken.

To support Oosterveen’s statement, the news article features a graph to show the ethnicities of the cocaine users. Take a look below.

Mark Oosterveen’s image from Twitter

Can you believe what you are seeing? I know that I certainly couldn’t.

The majority of the studied participants, a hefty 93.6%, who take cocaine are white. So, why is the articles main image full of black men? Not a white person in sight.

The matter here is not who takes the cocaine, but who is portrayed to take it. It is a recurring theme that the media distorts reality, presenting black people as perpetrators of brutal crimes, even if they are not the culprit. This social construction that has been embedded into our society is hugely warped, providing a false identity of black men altogether.

“Negative stereotyping of minorities is often reinforced in newspaper reporting, which ends up reinforcing negative racial stereotypes about black criminality, drug use, destructive sexuality and inadequate fatherhood” quotes the theorist Auburn et al., 2007.

The outrage that the article sparked caused an alteration in the image itself, only two hours after Oosterveen publicly declared the misconduct. The image of the black men was swapped with a generic shot of cocaine powder sprawled out on a black table. The new image is shown below.

Mark Oosterveen’s image from Twitter

It is particularly relieving that the image was changed, but it is worrying to think about how long the original image would have stayed there if there was no infuriation. If the image stayed there for its prolonged duration, then society would have encountered this detrimental cycle, which is the basis for most racism within the media.

The destructive pattern is demonstrated below:

  1. The media portrays a distorted representation of black men.
  2. Media consumption manipulates the attitudes projected towards black males, negatively affecting their understandings.
  3. These distorted attitudes and understandings towards black males result in real-world consequences.

The media’s role in the portrayal of black men is crucial for being the pinnacle of the representation of black men in the real world. If black men in the media are perceived as violent and heavy drug users etc, then that is how they will be recognised in reality. Journalism such as the above article that I have analysed does not help this matter, nor Black Lives Matter.

Lastly, I carried about the poll below to see if people thought that journalism incorporated racism.

My own poll conducted on Twitter.

A strong three-quarters of my voters felt that journalism does incorporate racism, supporting this blog post altogether.

However, a quarter of my voters did not agree and thought that racism is not evident in journalism. This is intriguing, as even though I have only analysed one article, there are plenty more that I have found which prove that racism is visible within journalism. This makes me question whether some of society are unaware of racism within journalism? Maybe this is because racism isn’t always painstakingly obvious, or because we are purely blinded by the media.

Whatever the reason is, we must break the stigma. Once and for all. #BlackLivesMatter

“White feelings should never be held in higher regard than black lives.” Rachel Cargle.

If you are interested in racism within journalism, watch the BBC3 documentary- Fighting The Power: Britain After George Floyd.

Do you think that racism in journalism has a profound effect on reality? I want to hear your views, so reply to this on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.




Bournemouth Blogger | Social Media Addict | Sunset Chaser. Devoted to exploring journalism and the media.