Yasmin Jiwani argues in her analysis of Reena Virk’s murder in the essay “Erasing Race: The Story of Reena Virk,” that the media is a critical player in communicating to the public the notion of race and racism.
In this essay, I will select two contemporary newspaper articles as case studies from which I will conduct a critical analysis of the race and gender dynamics at work in the article. Various notions of gender and race are communicated through texts, but it isn’t the prejudice of an author, but the assumptions made by the reader that leads to the generation of race and racism. I believe that in this article, there is evidence generalization and to demonstrate this I will use the Jiwani article.
Journalists, perhaps other than those working for Fox News, are objective when they approach the story. This is one of the fundamental components of journalism. The writer isn’t supposed to have a biased, and this is a common fact. But sometimes it can appear that reporters are biased in their delivery of the news. Like anyone, reporters sometimes use their views to dictate the way in which they are reporting the news. And though they are supposed to be unbiased, they sometimes make assumptions for the sake of writing the article. “Reporters have the responsibility of interpreting what they see so that those who depend on them for information can interpret events for themselves. We all approach what we see with a great deal of previous experience influencing our interpretations,”(News Bias Explored, 1996).
According to Jiwani’s, this was the case in the article that claims that the story being reported on singled the murdered girl out by saying that her height and heaviness stopped her from being accepted by her peers, though it the essay doesn’t give an example of when this assumption took place. After details of the case came to like, it was recognized that the article did have a bias, instead on focusing on the real issues behind the murder that were later discovered – such as racism, pressures of assimilation, social construction of the girl being an outcast and sexism. “Rather, as with dominant frameworks of meaning that are utilized to cover stories of racialized immigrant and refugee communities – Reena’s difference was underscored and inferiorized,” (Jiwani, p 180).
It could be argued that Jiwani assumes that the media would have all the information needed to create a well-rounded story. However, it could be sympathized that in the real world, when a story breaks, the journalists only have the ability to compile the information that is available. While this isn’t an excuse for jumping to conclusions, it can provide some understanding about the reasons the reporter assumed the murder was because of the girl’s appearance. It should also be sympathized by the reader that in the case of a story such as this one, the available information would be that what is released from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who could be as much to blame for the assumptions that were made in the article. “What you see is not always what others will get as far as interpretation goes,” (News Bias Explored, 2012).