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Stereotypes and Propaganda in Society Analysis Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 8th, 2021

Stereotypes play a significant role in contemporary society and particularly in propaganda. Stereotyping is a rigid traditional conception or an idea of an individual or people, endeared by a number of people. Stereotyping can be fundamental or complicated classifications that people attribute to individuals or masses steeped in their appearances, attitudinal patterns, and beliefs. They are pervasive. Although our world is undergoing refinement in many respects, yet is hard to eliminate all traces of stereotyping and thus liberate us from its claws and clutches. Stereotypes have survived from the dawn of human civilization down to this day. They have traveled by the vehicles of religion, politics, and media. Stereotyping is embedded in almost all human beliefs whether it is humor, explanation of others, and other articulations. One may think that it is possible to surmount the array of such thinking, but the persistent propagating suggests that task is huge and even impossible.

Propaganda is a persuasive force, which can be deferential for everyone. It brings in its wake transformations in attitudes and beliefs. Media is a great tool for impacting the opinion of the viewers who feel compelled to mold their value patterns after media information is processed in their minds. A huge quantity of stereotypes aired through media infuses the same effects. The media has the habit of misrepresenting stereotypes; they are, however, listened to by people and they seem to be amiable. TV shows like that of Simpson are littered with stereotypes even if the duration of the program is just half an hour.

The show attracts a large number of audiences, as it is broadcast in prime time. Characters, for instance, Apu are poured with much discrimination and in turn, stereotyping. In this show, he is marginalized as a person hailing from Indian origin. He has a strange accent, which is easily noticeable as it is common with none. This is stereotyping -plain and simple. Youngsters imbibe it as something very funny and they replicate this humor in real-life situations. Viewers of this program the numbers of which are very large readily tend to believe in the facts presented and they have little idea about the genuineness of the contents being offered. They also do not bother to take pains of having little research about the authenticity of the claims. The results are horrifying for society.

The unfortunate reality is that the propaganda onslaught is continuous and the gullibility of the audience is also too often and thus the thinking of the majority of the audience is corrupted on heavy scales. Media has perfected the art of grabbing the attention of viewers by means of various tools in the form of comedy, drama, talk shows, and the exploitation of prime times. “We do not really understand how media technology works, develops, and changes over time”. (Dr. Joseph D. Straubhaar, Media Now: Understanding Media Culture and Technology). In fact, sometimes the very survival of these programs is based on the quantity of the stereotyping they churn out. On the other hand, the propaganda exploitation of stereotyping is not always retrogressive. It is sometimes instrumental in endowing some people with the much-needed passion to carry out the completion of the task with greater zeal. Hence, the entire propaganda cannot be dismissed and condemned.

People are taught the lessons through restricted and inaccurate information by sources like televisions, cartoons, or even humorous literature. Stereotyping is inextricably linked with media. Both have no existence without each other. They are mutually reinforcing. Media is the vehicle of stereotyping to spread its tentacle in society. Media propaganda is the other type of media that is entitled to media manipulation. Stereotypes of ethnic groups often thrive in media and it is the most significant source of corrupting the thought process of an entire nation or a given community. The two world wars in the last century are highly indebted to the media propaganda, which encouraged one nation to go to war with another nation. Bismarck once remarked, ” each nation is one day held responsible for the widows broken by its press, the bill is formed in the shape of hostile sentiments in another country.

Propaganda can be regarded as the foster womb of stereotypes. It is the purposeful manipulation of public views by means of clandestine messages in advertisements and other genres of media.

Frightening scenarios, brainwashing, calling names, dashing generality, mismanagement, and others are the methodologies that media propagates to mold the opinion of the people on a very large scale and thus is co-opting the people to climb up to its own perception of others. “It is not possible to isolate the effects of the media nor can either system be fully defined or understood” (Lorimer, Mass Communications In Canada).

Propaganda gets the utility of stereotypes because it is smooth, abrupt, and penetrates straight into the public without any hindrances. Some of the ethnic groups are portrayed as terrorists, uncivilized, unfit for urban life, naïve, barbaric, and uneducated. It is propagated successfully that no sane thing can be expected from every member of this group. The entire group is condemned because the media throws so much mud on them that some of it are stuck with them. Maneuvering by media successfully operates in the hearts and minds of people and they ultimately give their verdict to take strict actions against such people and even their elimination is justified on various grounds. The generality is thus converted into a theory, which switches on automatically when any of the members of a society imbued with stereotyped notions come to interact with those against whom media has done remarkably well.

It is highly unlikely that every man would travel and make endeavors to dig out the truth; consequently, these stereotypes flourish in societies. News reports and movies are the modern-day tools of stereotyping that pervades the thinking of the people. The flood of information consumes the attention of people and they have little time to take a pause and think deeply about the quality of the information they have to process in their minds. Egyptians have been dubbed as a nation lacking in sophistication and education, but it has been proved fallacious by the various studies undertaken. “According to Sahar El-Tawila, the principal researcher on the team, interviews conducted with girls and boys nationwide show conclusively that work and marriage were rarely stated by boys and girls respectively as reasons for leaving school. […] These may be options for those who have already left school, but they are not the impetus behind their decision to leave” (Tadros, Mariz, Reading, writing, and plowing).

References:

Tadros, Mariz “ Reading , writing and ploughing”, Al-Ahram weekly, nº 399.1998.

Lorimer, Mass Communications In Canada.OUP publishes Canada. 2003.

Dr. Joseph D. Straubhaar, Media Now: Understanding Media Culture and Technology. Wordsworth publishing company.2004.

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