Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Common Stereotypes-Ethnicity


 To begin with I probably need to explain what ethnicity is. Ethnicity is a belonging of a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition. This would be called an ethnic group. An ethnic group is stereotypically a socially-defined group of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience. Being part of one of these ethnic groups tends to define you as a person by your cultural heritage, ancestry, and myth of origins, history, homeland, language (dialect), or even ideology. It can also have something to do with your cuisine, physical appearance and something fashion choices.

Since the 9/11 attack and all the political issues that sided with it, we commonly see that certain ethnic groups are represented in different ways. Religion I would say is significant here because people look at religious figures and how they are represented. Stereotypically people look towards non-religious leaders more positively than leaders that are religious. Issues can also be created by national and regional identity. Western and non-Western people (in terms of clothing, social attitudes – e.g. towards women and alcohol – religious practice, music etc.) can be a key binary opposition to look for. The most negative stereotype that we often see is of Muslim/Asian/Middle eastern characters. They are normally often similar to the old stereotype of the Northern Irish; Violent, fanatical and religious. More side taking representations of people being ethnically stereotyped may include issues of social class and status and how black youths are stereotyped as criminal. This is spreading to Asian youths being stereotyped like this also. With coloured youth people in particular, in TV dramas you often see a heavily Americanised character through the persons language, dress and occasionally there musical taste. You may also get in TV dramas racist white characters that are against the ‘black criminals’.  The question that is often asked though is; are the different ethnic groups shown in TV dramas, have more in common with each other than they actually have differences.

The TV drama that I will be focusing on is Doctor who and how ethnicity is stereotypically linked to it. At the end of May this year there was a discussion about the ethnicity of the programme and whether it was okay to show or not. In the new series of the show the new star is Peter Capaldi and he is a Scottish man so the show has started making references to stereotypically Scottish things. David Tennant, also Scottish, stared in the TV drama however he changed his accent for the show and was never known as Scottish in the programme. It is only the new series where they have kept the identity of the actor in the programme and added something ‘different’. Peter has also mixed up the show further as he disposes of the boyish attitude and gets older. Previous actors like David Tennant and Matt Smith played the character much younger of 34 and 27 when they landed the part. Peter however is an older man at 57 and is a throwback to the show’s roots when the character was once iconic. Another thing about ethnicity that I should mention about doctor who is that it is alien based, so that no matter what, they have included everyone in their show.

1 comment:

  1. Exceptional work Melissa. Superb detail throughout. You have clearly enjoyed doing this work. Well done.