Essay about ideology and representation

Submitted By moody9000
Words: 3409
Pages: 14

Write a brief outline of how ideology is working in the “Taxi event” news story

EG 1 What appears to be naturalized, timeless, common sense or universally accepted is actually ideology, a construction tied with power that privileges certain groups in society. Within the “Taxi event” video, Shuttleworth communicates a racist ideology privileging Caucasians over Pakistanis. Shuttleworth’s comments alienated Muslim male, Humayun, speaking to ideologies that whiteness is normal and desirable in New Zealand. This perpetuates an ‘us vs. them’ racial binary, estranging the Muslim community as the ‘other’. The Otago Daily Times article attempts to pass such racist ideology as an aberration, or unwelcome exception to the rule. Alcock, a New Zealand Taxi federation representative claimed, “the region appreciates the contribution new migrants make to our workforce, businesses and Southland as a whole.” Thus, racism is presented as unusual and irregular. Through the use of authoritative white voices such as Alcock, the article paints the Southland workforce free of racism and represents this event as uncommon. Shuttleworth asserts, “that he feels no animosity towards people of other religions” and the “stupid mistake” was a by-product of intoxication. Rather, the taxi event is a contingency or reflection of systemic racism in New Zealand. Mrs. Mohammed, the owner of the taxi company, speaks as the nominated Muslim voice in the article. She suggests that verbal attacks are ‘common’ but often unreported. Thus, racist ideology is embedded in white New Zealand society and the attempt to convince readers’ otherwise further estranges the Muslim population. Conversely, a New Zealand Herald article paints Shuttleworth as a remorseful and sincere victim who should be forgiven for his actions, rather than the perpetrator of racist ideology. It reads, “ As he held back the tears, he vowed to meet the Southland Muslim community to become better educated on Islam.” Prosser, a New Zealand First MP said that “opening dialogue about this issue” was a good thing. The text represents the Muslim community as a group whose role and responsibility it is to educate. This clear demarcation between the Muslim and white community speaks to wider racial roles in society, representing a racist worldview and ideology that privileges whiteness. Fairbrother, (Shuttleworth’s partner) casually passes the incident off as “not cool”, reinforcing the hesitance of the white community to admit that racist ideology is pertinent. Media representation of the “taxi event” attempts to fix racist anti-Muslim ideology as an aberration. These articles reinforce racist ideologies, by not considering other versions of reality and simply reinforcing white privilege. Dominant ideology is given power in the media through repetition. In this case the consistent ‘othering’ of the Muslim community demonstrates white privilege and embedded social racism. Mythically, these articles paint New Zealand as non-racist and accepting. They present the notion that drunken racism as fixable and forgivable as truth.

EG 2 In the media representation of the “Taxi event” ideology plays a significant role. Although media has represented the event in a way that outwardly sympathises with Mr Humayun and the Muslim community, they still speak from a nominated position. Humayun and Mohammed both speak as representatives of the Muslim community, while Shuttleworth speaks from the ex-nominated position of being white. So regardless of the fact that the article is sympathetic to the Muslim community after the “verbal racial abuse”, it reinforces an ideological “us” vs. “them”. The “us” being white New Zealanders, and the “them” being the Muslim community. This is reinforced by various references, including from MP Richard Prosser, of the value of being taught about Islam. This implies that the “other” has an obligation to justify their beliefs and behaviour to the “us”. This