Race, Xenophobia and Ethnicity in the media

Race and racism remains a prominent feature of the South African environment, with concerns about racial equality likely to remain for years to come.  Racism and xenophobia, although independent concepts, invariably support each other and share discriminatory discourses. They are both anti-democratic, ignore human rights, and promote unfair and unjustified discrimination. Racism and xenophobia operate on the basis of the profiling of people and making negative assumptions about them. While the former profiles individuals in terms of their race, the latter profiles individuals in terms of their nationality. These profiles are often negative and lead to the creation and perpetuation of generalisations and stereotypes (MMP, 2003, pp. 82-83). Coverage of key social issues such as the representation of race, stereotyping, xenophobia and racism, is often of limited value as it fails to explore pertinent aspects in any depth. Media tend to lead with dramatic headlines that may sell more news, but often trivialise the issues at stake, promote stereotypes and discrimination, and reinforce the alienation of groups of people. 

Having monitored on issues of race and migration (as well as coverage of Africa) for many years, MMA has played a role in transforming how race is covered and stopping the usage of racial identifiers in South African national media.

Please browse through our many race and xenophobia reports and analysis pieces.