This was an incredibly hard assignment to think about and what example I wanted to use to answer the prompt.
As humans living in a highly mediated world, we have all been subject to stereotypes, norms, and generalizations. For this week’s blog post, I would like to reflect on my friend’s experiences and identities in the media.
Growing up as an Indian-American, my friend has seen various stereotypes and generalizations about his culture in the media. One of the most prevalent stereotypes that he has come across is the portrayal of Indians as being solely successful in the fields of engineering, medicine, and technology. This stereotype has been perpetuated in various forms of media, from movies and TV shows to news articles and advertisements.
The media construction of this stereotype portrays Indians as being intelligent and hardworking individuals, but only in certain professions. The construction is inaccurate because it fails to recognize the diversity of the Indian community and the various professions in which Indians excel. This stereotype also perpetuates the myth of the “model minority,” which can be harmful to other minority groups.
Two examples of this construction in media include the portrayal of the Indian-American character Raj Koothrappali in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” and the news coverage of Indian-American CEO Sundar Pichai’s rise to the top of Google.
In “The Big Bang Theory,” Raj is depicted as being a shy and awkward astrophysicist who struggles to talk to women. While the character is a nuanced portrayal of an Indian-American, the show still perpetuates the stereotype of Indians being successful in STEM fields. This perpetuation is harmful because it reinforces the idea that Indians can only be successful in certain professions.
In news coverage of Sundar Pichai, he is often depicted as the quintessential Indian-American success story. While Pichai’s achievements are impressive, the media construction of his story fails to recognize the role of luck and privilege in his success. Pichai had the opportunity to attend top universities and work for successful companies, which contributed to his rise to the top. The media construction of Pichai’s story perpetuates the myth of the “self-made man,” which can be harmful because it erases the contributions of others and can lead to a lack of empathy for those who are not as successful.
The construction of the Indian-American stereotype can be harmful to both my friend and others because it limits the potential of individuals in the Indian community and reinforces harmful myths about the model minority. Someone might benefit from this construction by using it as motivation to succeed in fields that are traditionally associated with success. However, it is important to recognize that success can be achieved in any field, and that the construction of the Indian-American stereotype is inaccurate and harmful. It is important to challenge these stereotypes and generalizations and work towards a more inclusive and diverse media landscape.
The media plays a powerful role in shaping our perceptions and understanding of the world around us. As individuals, it is important to recognize and challenge the stereotypes and generalizations that we encounter in the media. By doing so, we can work towards a more inclusive and diverse society.