This article provides a comprehensive review of the article by Lin (2002). This article addresses how media portrays racism and its influence to lifestyle and health. A sociological approach to the problem of racism is applied, arguing that the society needs to understand the different forms of racism, biological origin of racism, and its meaning in the society. Therefore, sociological concepts such as ethnocentrism, race, and ethnicity can vastly influence media’s perception on racism. The three concepts have different meanings, but are all related and can influence health practitioner’s ability to evaluate media’s coverage of racism issues. For instance, in Richard, Richard, & Nicole (2009), “the interrelationship between the terms ethnicity, culture, ethnocentrism and race is quite complex. These worlds however have a long history coupled with having been used to convey various meanings.” In addition, Lewontin and colleagues in their article titled “not in our genes” have emphasised on existence of a strong interrelationship relationship between culture and science (Lewontin et al., 1985). In the case of ethnocentrism, which is the belief that one’s ethnicity is superior, the media may exaggerate certain health complications as being prevalent in a certain race, thus, increasing stigma and discrimination. This mistaken perception will endanger others since they may believe that they are not at risk and may not take preventative steps. It therefore highlights the importance of a health workers awareness of media coverage about racism and its impact on an individual’s health.
The article portrays the notion of fight against racism and racial injustice in the modern society. This article is about social observation, thought, and conversation among people in the society. It challenges the reader to think of how people make excuses about their racial thought and direct racism attitude toward other individuals. The article further incorporates the sociological approach by promoting productive dialogue about racism and racial inequalities. The approach used in this article is revisiting the previous experimental works. For instance, article starts by directly quoting an important paragraph by the British Medical Association. Although the author does not utilise pictures to convey his meanings and understanding to the reader, incorporation of some important poetic work links the reader directly to the concept contained in the article. In this article, the author has posed some of the topics in the form of questions. Consider the topic on; “What is Racism?” Through this approach, the reader is challenged to critically think in relation to the topic even before reading the concept contained under the topic. This approach is hence useful when it comes to triggering a more enhanced understanding to the concept under the topic.
Karen and shandell (2011) argues that the race may be relatively easily identified by physical or biological characteristic of an individual. However, race has been viewed as a category that is defined by the dominant group in society to indicate the difference in status. The argument offered in this article is supported by the perception of Dain (2002) on racism. Dain (2002) perceives racism to be the variation in the capabilities and traits inherent in people. These differences are perceived to be caused by race. Racism is also be perceived to be the racial consequences of racial discrimination (Dain, 2002). In the article by Bernard (2003), racism has mainly been connected with the harmful activities such as murder, displacement, and isolation. Dain (2003) also highlighted the activities to include hatred, extremism, racial supremacy, exploitation, mass murder, and separatism among others.
There are some questions raised in this article to target the topic. For instance, consider; “Why some people dislike or fear people they have never met.” Understanding of social structure gives us a platform to consider how objects of “culture” are developed in social contexts. This leads us to understand social constructionism, which is an ongoing dynamic process and the norms reproduced by people acting on their interpretations and knowledge. Through social constructionism health practitioners could examine claims the media portrayed about issues such as racism. The approach would influence how social ideas influence knowledge, which in our case is medical knowledge. For instance, according to the article, social constructs are facets of reality and objects of knowledge that are not "given" by nature; they must be constantly maintained and re-affirmed to persist. This process also introduces the possibility of change: What "justice" is and what it means shifts from one generation to the next (Karen & Shandell, 2011).
Fergin (2010), together with Lin’s article (2011) highlights the likelihood of discrimination determining the living conditions of the group. In addition, racism is portrayed to be a trend in which one group threatens the other by hampering its power, political strength coupled with weakening its social status. Lin (2011) additionally evaluates some efforts and actions that call on people to be literate about fair treatment of other races or groups, therefore reducing the destructive effects caused by these actions. However, as the same author highlights, the modern society tolerates racism attitudes and behaviour without consequences, which should not be the case. These actions apparently contradicts our modern social norms in the society where we believe in equality and equal justices regardless of their biological, gender, race, and ethnicity of a person.
This article clearly demonstrates the prevalence of racism as a major concern in the modern health care setting (Paul & Creagh, 2002). In addition, the author has explored the fact that there is no favourable atmosphere in the government health services for caring for the indigenous patients. The author further explores the notion that has commonly been held by workers in health care. From this notion, the aboriginal people are perceived to have a high likelihood of being non-compliant to the treatment. Basing the argument on the recently conducted surveys, the author has strongly insisted that there exist no evidence to prove the likelihood of the aboriginal people not adhering to the treatment recommendations (Larkin, 2005). In conclusion, the article disqualifies compliance as a medical issue. The presentation of this article follows a systematic message for a reader and society to observe and reflect on their attitudes. For example, it acts as a confrontation for racists or wakeup call for individuals who just follow the trend of the society to remain in good books of power. The author also refers to some categories of racism in the society and changes occurring during the time in the modern society by updating the standards of racism and drawing the perspective of “modern racism” (Lin, 2011, p. 2). Dain (2002) stipulates that modern racism goes on unnoticed with the prejudiced party only feeling it. The modern racism practices include prejudice in employment, in health facilities, and in politics. Lin (2011) therefore mentions that the recent show conducted on SBS TV (GO back to your country where you come from) stretches on the point that racism is not dead in our society.
The logical flow in this article follows a time frame. Therefore, the authors follow the changing trend and attitude to explain how racism in the people has been changing since 1960 civil movement put pressure on the society against a racist behaviour. As they quote; “civil rights ….. Socially acceptable,” this reflects the idea that racism was not acceptable during the early times. However, people have changed their way of racism toward victims. For instance as they have made one way street of policies, only superior people of the society have been permitted to walk on it (Richard, Richard & Nicole, 2006). Therefore, understanding on a sociological perspective by contrast highlights the ‘race’ concept as a fiction. Worse still, this perhaps helps to clarify that the problem is how to be a human being. Experimental example given by Lin in the article where she used DR Vanman’s idea of a racist person, from the study, he found that in a person, a racial thought immerged in the brain during MRI scan. However, this concept is controversial in the society (Robert, Tooby & Leda, 2001). This article argues contemporary issues for our society to think if it needs to make biological identity for a person. For example, “I need to know your ethnic background for medical reason.” instead of asking blood group.
The article by Lin provides a perspective of the different forms of racism in the present societies most of which have roots in the ancient society. For instance in the article, the psychologist has made comment signifying old-fashioned racism which was common issue in the 20th century. The point is; can we say that racism is dead” or old fashion racism has given a birth to modern racism, which we called institutional racism. Institutional racism is a form that is mostly found in the present society. The form is where access of services, goods, and opportunities vary to different people in a society. It is very different from other forms of racism because institutions have systems and laws, which makes prejudiced groups disadvantaged in getting services, goods, and opportunities. Institutionalized racism may occur in hospitals as it occurred in Australia when the Immigrant Restriction Act was introduced in 1901. However, the policy of Racial Discrimination in 1975 was introduced to try to stop the vice from taking root in health institutions.
The article by Lin is a challenge for us to think for our society norms and attitude toward a people who have excuses for their racial thoughts. Racism is a sensitive issue to cover by media and shape the meaning by targeting “some” people in the society, particularly using language. Sociological concept such as ethnocentrism, race, and ethnicity gives us a broader understanding to critique the contemporary issue among multicultural societies and their norms.
Bernard, L. (2003). "From Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry".InKevin Reilly, Stephen Kaufman, Angela Bodino. Racism: A Global Reader. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 52–8.
Dain, B. (2002), A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
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Karen, W. and Shandell, E. (2011). Society, Culture, and Health. Oxford University Press, USA; 2nd ed. Pp. 1-271
Larkin, C. (2005). Assisting Aboriginal patients with medication management. Aust Prescr; 28:123-5
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