Terminology

AFROPHOBIA

Afrophobia, is a relatively new term used to denote key specific forms of global racism which people of African descent have experienced throughout the history of racism.

ANTI-SEMITISM

Anti-Semitism can be expressed as manifestations that target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.” Further on http://www.antisem.eu/about-us/

ASSIMILATION

Assimilation was an unsuccessful policy aiming to absorb minority ethnic groups into the majority community, with an expectation that communities, their needs and their culture would become invisible or would expire. Assimilation has been largely discredited and has been superseded by concepts of integration, multiculturalism and interculturalism. (See also Integration).

BLACK

People can describe themselves as Black for a number of reasons for example, in relation to their physical appearance, their ancestry, as a political term, or all of the above. Black is not generally considered to be a derogatory term and in Ireland, the term ‘Black and minority ethnic group(s)’ is often used.

COLOURED

The word ‘coloured’ is now considered to be a derogatory term in Ireland and many other countries. It was frequently used in the US in the past and was enshrined in law in South Africa during the apartheid era when the term Coloureds was one of the four main racial groups identified by law (Blacks,Whites, Coloureds and Indians).

ETHNIC GROUP

In the UK an ethnic group was defined by the House of Lords as a group that regards itself or is regarded by others as a distinct community by virtue of certain characteristics that will help to distinguish the group from the surrounding community. (See also ethnicity and minority ethnic group).

ETHNICITY

Shared characteristics such as culture, language, religion, and traditions, which contribute to a person or group’s identity.

INSTITUTIONAL RACISM

“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. Institutional racism is similar to systemic racism, except that systemic racism primarily relates to systems, policies, and procedures; whereas institutional racism relates to the entire institution, including people.

INTEGRATION

In the most simplistic terms integration can be a one way process (in effect assimilation), but integration can also be a multi-facetted, intercultural process that requires the state, majority and minority ethnic communities to work together and to make accommodation of diversity.

INTERCULTURALISM

Interculturalism is essentially about interaction between majority and minority cultures to foster understanding and respect. It is essentially about creating the conditions for interaction, equality of opportunity, understanding and respect.

ISLAMOPHOBIA

Islamophobia or Muslimophobia refers to fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture.

MINORITY ETHNIC GROUP(S)

It refers to a group whose ethnicity is distinct from that of the majority of the population. The term ‘ethnic minority’ is sometimes used, but the term ‘minority ethnic’ draws attention to the fact that there are majorities and minorities, all with their own ethnicity – white Irish people are the majority ethnic group.

MULTICULTURALISM

Multiculturalism acknowledges the need for recognition and celebration of different cultures in a society.

OTHERING

Othering” is the creation of a binary opposition between the imagined homogenous Irish and ‘them’.

PREJUDICE

Prejudice involves ‘pre-judging’ someone and is frequently used to describe the negative attitudes some people have towards certain groups, such as religious or ethnic groups.

STEREOTYPING

Generalising about particular minority ethnic groups and labelling them, thus creating false expectations that individual members of the group will conform to certain (often negative) traits or characteristics which have been attributed to the wider group or community.

SYSTEMIC RACISM

System racism is found in the systems of an organisation, for example in policies, procedures and practices. It is often unintentional but can have a negative impact on a minority ethnic group(s). It is unlikely to be identified and tackled unless proactive steps are taken by the organisation.

TRAVELLER

Travellers were recognised as an ethnic group by the Irish state on 1/03/2017. “Travellers are an indigenous minority, documented as being part of Irish society for centuries. Travellers have a long shared history and value system which make them a distinct group. They have their own language, customs and traditions.” Travellers may or may not live a nomadic lifestyle.

Recommendations & links

Terminology recommendations

  • Don’t reproduce anti-Semitic expressions on the name of freedom of expression. These kind of attitudes should be denounced as anti-Semitic.
  • Fair reporting needs fair language. It is very important for journalists to be aware of as many dimension of meaning of the words that they are using as possible. That is especially important when talking with and about any type of minority group, but should be adapted as a general rule as well.

Research recommendations

  • Check and request sources of statistics and data presented to you on press releases or interviewees. Prepare yourself ahead of any interview or panel discussion and always challenge inaccurate information.
    If you don’t know much about Islam and Muslim communities, engage with Muslim communities.
  • Content recommendations
  • Ethnicity shouldn’t be mentioned on crime reporting.
  • Where people do commit acts ‘in the name of Islam,’ the diversity of Muslim communities and opinions therein must be underscored, not side-lined.
  • Media coverage of issues such as the conflict in Syria and Iraq was problematic in that “it’s simplistic” and the main source of, and means, to propagate homogenising, racialised stereotypes of Muslimness which have real effects on the lives of Muslims in your country. Don’t focus only on the event, but use it to explain your audience the background to the situation and the possible solutions.

Recommendations concerning sources

  • Facilitate the presence of ethnic and religious minorities in general news or feature items. They have opinions on education, health care, public transport, etc.
  • If looking for sources, go to civil society organisations and academic partners who would know how to engage with Muslim communities specifically providing people with the tools and the knowhow of how to respond and engage with media outlets in relation to issues concerning the communities.
  • When looking at your sources, make an effort by increasing visibility of Muslim men and women in your country. The focus should be on the normalcy of being Muslim in society; these do not have to discuss Islam or even refer explicitly to the religious aspect of those included.
  • Roma and Traveller organisations and Roma have the right to put forward their own spokespeople. Reporters should not seek to speak to a ‘typical’ Traveller. This person does not exist and is usually a construct of the reporter’s own prejudice.
  • Facilitate minorities’ presence in media as sources, researcher, presenter, experts, etc. but not only in programmes or news specifically related to ethnic or religious minorities.

Recommendations concerning ethics and general / systemic considerations

  • When portraying Muslim Women, avoid the stereotypes and generalisation
  • Diversity within the Roma and Traveller communities needs to be acknowledged and promoted. Journalists need to understand that there is a range of experience and a range of opinions within the Roma community.
  • Emphasise the diversity of ethnic identities in Irish society – thus challenging ideas of homogeneity and stereotypes, and be aware of the diversity within the ethnic minorities them The use of language must be addressed so that terms such as ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islam’ are not further stigmatised in contemporary discourse through their association with particular acts; Report racism and hate speech online to the authorities, to the social media platforms and antiracist organisation. Request monitoring or facilitation of any comment forum on online publications.
  • Newspapers and publications should be made responsible for online comment in the same way they are responsible for publications on their letters’ pages. Government bodies should introduce measures to counteract incidents of highly offensive, racist and incitement to hatred online comment threads.
  • Roma and Traveller people need to be supported to become active in media production to become reporters, editors and producers of media.
  • Commitment to more diversity in the media can be achieved more effectively with strong networks. Networks are being build in Germany in my metropol regions by the BAMF (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Federal office of migration and refugees). They offer guidance and counseling, organise common events and help editorial teams adapt to changes caused by diversifying the staff.
  • People from minority backgrounds should be specifically supported in their efforts to get media education. Broadcasters should demand supportive action from government agencies.
  • The media literacy of minority communities should be strengthened

Bibliography / Links