The Othering of the Black Community in News Media Reports During the Ebola Epidemic of 2013 to 2016
Keywords:Ebola, Othering, Racism, Media, News, Infectious Disease, Black community
The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the racial undertones found in the news media reports on the West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2013 to 2016, focusing mainly on the portrayal of North American cases on television. As with many political activist issues, the first step to making a change for the better is recognizing exactly where the errors are made. Through the analysis of news reports posted by CityNews and The National, the paper identifies four critical themes: Othering, Them versus Us, and the impact of Visualization. Othering is the process of alienating the Black community from the rest of the population as the leading responsible factor for Ebola. This creates a dilemma of Them (the Black community) versus Us (the general population) that exasperates the already existing racial tensions. All of which is done not only by what is expressed by the reporters, but what is shown on the screen as part of the news story. This is evidence of systemic institutional racism in the media industry. By understanding the key reoccurring themes of racism found in the event of an epidemic, society can be better prepared to confront the situation when it arises again.
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