1. Racism is something that has existed, and continues to exist throughout human history. According to the Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia, racism is defined as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race (“racism”). Racism is a very ugly issue that separates people into “us” and “them” based on irrelevant fasts such as where one comes from, color of their skin, religion, etc. It is more than just actions or words. Racism is also the big and small invisible barriers that can prohibit people from succeeding as well as others in life merely because of their cultural background. On the other hand, some believe that reverse racism is also a legitimate issue in today’s society. Meaning they believe that programs such as affirmative action, are put into place in order to unfairly advance ethnic minorities. Contrary to popular belief, reverse racism is not real for several reasons.
Racism occurs when power is combined with prejudice to make legislation, media bias and social constructs that all work together to hinder the rights of a group of people. More often than not, these groups are minorities living in the shadow of white privilege. The historical and current power structure of the United States reflects a society in which whites have benefited. Our society also builds off of white being the ideal beauty, the main face in the media, which in turn negatively affects the perceptions of many institutions today. Specifically affected are college admissions, welfare programs, public school funding, neighborhoods, criminal cases, and many other experiences and or institutions that allow white privilege to remain pertinent in American Culture. Today in America, there is no active system that works to diminish the rights of white people. In conclusion, reverse racism does not exist because our culture actively supports and implements being white as the norm.
2. Poverty porn is any type of media, whether it be filmed, photographed or written which exploits the stereotypical issues within an impoverished or colored community. This media is typically produced by outsiders, or “mainstream” whites, and allows them to act as tourists within the communities. However, this media encourages the people within these communities to play the stereotypical roles, and actually amplify their roles in order to enhance the overall effect of the piece. Sadly, this type of media focuses on the negative stereotypes and portrays them as the normal behavior of the community, all the while failing to shed any light on the positive things that are also happening inside the community.
One of the major issues with poverty porn is that glamorizes poverty. To some, it may serve a purpose for bringing awareness and or monetary support into impoverished communities. However, it also sends out a message to the masses that the highlighted group is helpless, and it is up to you, the viewer to save them. While it is a fact that the communities in focus are in need, the argument that the poor are helpless without outside support removes the will of the community to improve their situation, and is severely detrimental to the development process of the community. Poverty porn wrongly promotes the popular stereotype, failing to educate anyone on the whole picture of the community.
In order to stop poverty porn, we must develop a more sophisticated and meaningful understanding of culture. Instead of following the typical poverty porn script of portraying poverty as only a suffering from lack of resources, we must bring forward the harsh reality of the social and justice systems that are currently in place to perpetuate the condition of the poor. Poverty porn must make the shift from focusing on an individual within a community, to bringing forth the bigger picture. The narrow focus on the individual leads to…