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White privilege is the importance attached to the being white. It is about the concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to shape the norms and values of society that whites receive, unconsciously or consciously, by virtue of their skin color in a racist society (Adams, Bell & Griffin 97).
Considering how the media operates, it turns out that being white still commands more respect and authority unlike being non-white. According to Jensen (2), being white is not just white politically. Rather, it is equivalent to power. For a very long time, this is a practice that has led to non-whites being excluded from the media and their voices remain unheard.
This paper examines the subject of being white and non-white and goes on to look at how the media is contributing to either aggravate the situation or weaken the culture of considering whites as being superior to the non-whites.
Are Non-white Voices Increasingly Being Heard?
The United States of America at the beginning of the twenty first-century, four decades after the Civil Rights Act, was predominantly a white supremacy society. It was a society whose founding was based on an ideology of the inherent superiority of the white Europeans over non-white (Jensen 4). This ideology was wrongly used to justify the crimes against indigenous people and Africans who created the nation.
It was a society in which white people occupied most of the top positions in powerful institutions, with similar privileges available in limited ways to non-white community. The voices of the non-whites were rarely heard by those in power.
However, as a result of a change in the status quo, it became clear that the voices of the non-whites could now be heard. A good example is the election of President Barrack Obama.
At first, it appeared unimaginable but finally it became a reality. Although a section of the American citizens were and still are convinced that the United States was headed towards the wrong directions, this did not stop the proponents of this new ideology to make their agenda pass.
In all these, the media certainly took centered stage. This is a clear indication that the voices of non-whites were increasing being heard.
Through the support of the media, President Obama managed to sell his ideas to supporters and non supports alike and it is obvious that he eventually was able to change people’s opinions, especially those who were opposed to a non-white presidency and could not imagine him becoming the president of the United States of America.
What Happens in Society When Voices Go Unheard?
There are serious consequences of voices going unheard in a society. First and foremost, this creates a fertile ground for oppression. When people suffer in silence and they do not come out in the open to discuss the injustices they are suffering, the oppressors are able to get away with their injustices.
Secondly, the state of a nation can never improve considering that policy makers will end up making decisions that are meant to affect everyone but without considering the views of all people. Another dangerous concern is that if continually ignored, those who are never heard may eventually rebel against the authorities and this may impact the nation negatively.
Too many times, strikes and all sorts of demonstrations have been orchestrated by citizens who are always ignored by those who are in important positions within the society. It is also true that when voices are not heard, the society loses in terms of ideas. Because they are not heard, the ideas of many do not get to see the light of day.
People may have brilliant ideas but since no one is willing to listen to them, they end up perishing with those very ideas that would have been of benefit to the entire nation. It is therefore important for those in authority to do all they can to an atmosphere where everyone is free to contribute in whatever way towards the common good of all.
In view of this, it is beneficial both for the nation and for those who are considered less important and therefore not heard, to be proactive and seek ways of ensuring that every single citizen is heard and that his or her opinions respected.
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People must be willing to confront their fears and acknowledge the impact caused by this on their practice and perceptions (Lund & Colin 9).
Avenues Non-Whites have followed to be heard in the U.S.?
A number of strategies have been used by non-whites to ensure that they are heard in different forums. In the early days of the American history, non-whites would resort to demonstrations to get the attention of those in authority. An important person to remember here is Martin Luther King. Martin was an American clergyman and a powerful leader in the well known for the role he played in advocating for the rights of others.
Without resorting to violence he was brought together scores of people to make their voices heard. Another a venue that was used for a long time to make non-whites heard was religion.
Clergymen as well as human rights activists would use the opportunity they had to speak to their congregants to make known their intentions not only to them but also those in authority. This has worked very well especially because most of the time, followers tend to believe what their religious leaders preach to them and as a result they are easily convinced.
With the advent of the Internet, however, things have changed. It is now possible for one to reach a wide audience within just a short while and at the comfort of their offices or homes. Unlike yester years, many channels exist today that that make it possible for people to air their views.
For President Obama to ascend to power and become the president of the United States, the media and especially the Internet, had to play a big role.
The television is also another popular media type that reaches a wide audience. Although not very popular, especially among the younger generation, newspapers provide a useful avenue to communicate with the public. The Internet is the most preferred and easily accessible avenue that is available to all.
However, not all that glitters is gold. It is also important to realize that despite the obvious advancements that have been realized, thanks to the media, there are also negative impacts that the media has continued to portray.
In some instances, the media has been used wrongly by individuals to advance their own selfish interests. Considering that they are in business, those in the media industry will sometimes do just about anything to survive. Unfortunately, this may include perpetrating animosity within the society.
Through the discussions presented in this paper, it is quite clear that the form of racism that once dominated the United States of America is slowly becoming a thing of the past and the media has contributed greatly to this historic transformation. The different forms of available media have realized that racism does not add value to the development of humanity and have resorted to treating all people alike.
This may also be attributed to the fact that the world has become very competitive and with the onset of globalization, people have to think globally. Whatever is done anywhere may have far reaching effects that may be felt by a person living and operating in a far away location.
The coming of the Internet has definitely created an open society where every single individual has an opportunity to know what is happening anywhere and with the amount of information made available, people are able to learn extensively and understand the important art of coexistence.
As this trend continues, there is a possibility that the media will help people to overcome the prejudice that has for so long affected peaceful existence. Beyond any reasonable doubt, the media has continued to be an important channel of fighting prejudice in people. Many people have been challenged to think differently and this is a great leap in the right direction.
Although some negative traits have been linked to the media, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. As such, the media will continue to be the one critical too that will help to foster a healthy society.
Adams, Maurianne, Bell Lee and & Griffin Pat. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, New York: Routledge, 1997. Print.
Jensen, Robert. The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, San Francisco: City Lights Books. 2005. Print.
Lund, Carole and Colin, Scipio. White Privilege and Racism: Perceptions and Actions: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. 2010. Print.