Textproduktion: Comment/Speech "Bradford and Race: The TV experiment that aims to change perception and prejudice" by S. Man-Zoor
The media and above all TV programmes, such as Make Bradford British, have a major impact on the integration of ethnic minorities. So what are the positive effects of TV shows?
Firstly, they help eliminate general prejudices because they provide an insight into the lives of ethnic minorities and therefore negative assumptions are refuted. A convincing example is Damon, one of the participants in the TV series Make Bradford British, who reflected the experience together with his friends which let them reconsider their view on immigrants (l.51). After the show, Damon still kept in touch with Rashid, another participant of the experiment who is a Muslim, and they became friends (ll.46f.), which was not to be expected as Damon considered Muslims bad people.
Secondly, the motivation of migrants is increased because they can see that with hard work, they can become rich and successful, such as Aneta Sablik, who won the song competition of Deutschland sucht den Superstar in 2014, or Ivy Quainoo, who won The Voice of Germany in 2012.
And thirdly, TV programmes help migrants, who are often isolated or unemployed and thus spend much time at home watching TV, to learn the German language and adapt themselves to our culture. Several cookery shows like Volle Kanne or ARD-Buffet, talk shows like Hart aber fair or Britt, and documentary reports, such as Familien im Brennpunkt or Unsere erste gemeinsame Wohnung, illustrate the life in German households and represent the first step to a successful integration.
To sum things up, TV programmes support the integration of ethnic minorities by contributing to clearing up misunderstandings, acting as positive examples and communicating the German language and culture.
Both Damon from the article on the TV experiment and Jake Sully from the movie “Avatar” meet a person with a different cultural background. Thus, what is the best outcome of an encounter with a member of another ethnic group?
Damon, who comes from a mainly white neighbourhood (l.13), meets Rashid, a religious Muslim (ll.9f.), whereas Jake, a human from the Earth, has an encounter with Neytiri, a Na’vi from the planet Pandora, who has a strong animistic belief.
A positive effect of the TV experiment is that Damon and Rashid became friends (l.46). Likewise, in the movie “Avatar”, Jake and Neytiri grow fond of each other forming a romantic relationship in the course of time.
Furthermore, Damon participates in Rashid’s life attending Rashid’s sister’s wedding ceremony (ll.46f.). Jake, however, lives in Neytiri’s village, where he is taught about Na’vi rituals and customs. Later, he hunts with the natives and learns to tame wild animals.
As a result of having spent time with Rashid, Damon shifts his opinion on Muslims, whom he previously considered to be bad people (ll.47-49). He reflected the experience together with his friends which let them reconsider their assumptions on migrants (ll.50f.). Likewise, Jake rethinks his reconnaissance mission and decides to ally himself with the Na’vi, whom he previously considered to be wild and uneducated, and to protect them against the human invaders, during which he is supported by some of his human friends who share his conviction.
Taking everything into consideration, the encounter between two people with different cultural backgrounds requires open-mindedness, understanding and the willingness to reflect on one’s prejudices. Both Damon and Jake show these characteristics, which is why I think they act as a positive role model for every one of us.
Myself being half Romanian, I’m often considered to be poor or steal things which I sell on the black market – by the way, I have an excellent offer on golden watches right here in my jacket, so meet me after the speech – but when I reveal that I’m also half German, people think that I’m humourless and drink a lot of beer. So how can getting to know migrants change people’s perception and their behaviour?
To begin with, I would like to point out that an encounter with people of foreign origin supports open-mindedness and eliminates prejudices because it helps to clarify any previous assumptions. Damon, for example, who took part in the TV experiment Make Bradford British, rethought his negative image of Muslims (ll.47-49). He reflected the experience together with his friends which let them reconsider their assumptions on immigrants (ll.50f.).
Furthermore, contact to migrants contributes to getting to know other cultures leading to the formation of new friendships, such as Damon, who became Rashid’s friend during the experiment and even attended Rashid’s sister’s wedding ceremony (ll.46f.). So why not invite your Romanian neighbours for dinner? – I prefer a juicy steak, by the way – An invitation of their own definitely won’t be long and you could experience a foreign culture.
Moreover, I’m convinced that meeting migrants in person and finding out about their problems increases one’s motivation of actively contributing to their integration. Sabbiyah for example, another participant of the TV experiment mentioned before, recognized that integration can only be accomplished with much effort (ll.41f.). So why not ask your neighbours if they need a helping hand in everyday life such as when dealing with authorities or doing their weekly shopping? Why not support your local church institutions or charitable foundations, which offer aid especially for migrants?
Finally, I would like to point out that the rejection of foreigners is often based on wrong perceptions. A personal encounter can eliminate prejudices, form new friendships and contribute to a positive attitude towards integration. Thank you for your attention and have a nice day!
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