• Sharin Hussain

Mainstream Media don't care about the BAME Community

When it comes to the portrayal of the BAME community in media whether its on paper or online, there is always a stigma that surrounds the particular group discussed. There’s already preconceived conception on the group that often gets highlighted whether it’s just based on their colour alone. Ever wondered why many articles written regarding a crime committed always seems to highlight the colour of the persons skin? Oh wait, that only gets mentioned when it’s about black people, never seems to come into play when it’s a white criminal. Ever notices how religion gets mentioned in the media as well? Oh wait, its only about the Muslims and Islamic extremist when it ever gets shared. How fortunate for other religions to be excluded when it comes to a crime committed by one individual.


Isn’t is shameful that often when a white terrorist or criminal takes actions, the media often discusses in lengths about their wellbeing and health condition as if that makes what’s been done ok. Take the New Zealand crime for instance. The Daily Mail posted an article talking in lengths about how wonderful the man who killed 50 people was. Funny, how that’s fine to share when it’s a white person committing the crime. The media loves to share how ‘human’ they really are and that whatever crime they committed was an act of years of childhood angst and blah blah blah. Isn’t it so sad that the media wishes to get you feeling sorry for the criminal- as If they are the victim in all of this?


Other forms of negative portrayal in the media happens with celebrities as well. Lupita Nyong'o, lead actress from the movie ‘Us’ was accused of using a neurological disorder disability called spasmodic dysphonia which involves "spasms" of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the voice quality, to help with a character voice and was under fire for being insensitive. National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA) was one organization that was said to have criticized her for using a disability to establish her characters voice has said on their official website that ‘A media outlet used NSDA quotes out of context, tying us to another a group, and said NSDA "condemn the decision" to use this voice. This is false but many media outlets ran it. In the end, we want awareness. We want research. We want a cure for spasmodic dysphonia.’(www.dysphonia.org/)


However, many other ‘white’ actors have done something similar to help with a character and did not receive any backlash for their actions such as James McAvoy in Split, Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape are just to name a few who have used disability to help with a character role.


Whilst, what is being done is entirely wrong, the criticism shouldn’t be passed to one person who has done wrong and not the other. If using a disability for a character is wrong then that judgment should be for every actor or actress that has done it, not just one individual who has been put on blast.




Image from https://www.samaa.tv/

Another example is, Noor Tagouri, an American journalist who was featured in Vogue’s February 2019 issue and misidentified as Noor Bukhari, a Pakistani actress. Tagouri said she was ‘heartbroken and devastated’ to see that her first time in Vogue was ruined by the fact that Vogue and its people didn’t take the time to clarify who she was. What’s more upsetting is the fact that she did a photoshoot with the magazine so it just seems so unprofessional for them to not know who they were shooting.

Tagouri said “Misrepresentation and misidentification is a constant problem if you are Muslim in America. And as much as I work to fight this, there are moments like this where I feel defeated. People don’t always see you as an actual human being; they see you as something that can fit into their narrative".


The truth is that often enough, there is a stigma around the BAME community and most of the time, mainstream media tend to portray these people in a negative manner. They want to show diversity so that they hit a quota much like when it comes to hiring within a company. Inclusiveness isn’t appreciated if the articles are not empowering the communities but just showing these people in a negative light.

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