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Über dieses Buch

Media, Crime and Racism draws together contributions from scholars at the leading edge of their field across three continents to present contemporary and longstanding debates exploring the roles played by media and the state in racialising crime and criminalising racialised minorities. Comprised of empirically rich accounts and theoretically informed analysis, this dynamic text offers readers a critical and in-depth examination of contemporary social and criminal justice issues as they pertain to racialised minorities and the media. Chapters demonstrate the myriad ways in which racialised ‘others’ experience demonisation, exclusion, racist abuse and violence licensed – and often induced – by the state and the media. Together, they also offer original and nuanced analysis of how these processes can be experienced differently dependent on geography, political context and local resistance. This collection critically reflects on a number of globally significant topics including the vilification of Muslim minorities, the portrayal of the refugee ‘crisis’ and the representations and resistance of Indigenous and Black communities. This volume demonstrates that processes of racialisation and criminalisation in media and the state cannot be understood without reference to how they are underscored and inflected by gender and power. Above all, the contributors to this volume demonstrate the resistance of racialised minorities in localised contexts across the globe: against racialisation and criminalisation and in pursuit of racial justice.



1. Introduction

For the three editors, this volume marks the broadening out of a conversation that we began together some five years ago or more, about the relationship of the media to the racialisation of crime and the criminalisation of racialised others. We have learnt much from those who have here joined us in this conversation, and of course from those who have bequeathed us all the language and the terms of that conversation.
Monish Bhatia, Scott Poynting, Waqas Tufail

2. Turning the Tables? Media Constructions of British Asians from Victims to Criminals, 1962–2011

This chapter describes and analyses the processes and mechanisms of media-induced campaigns that construct the issues of ‘race’ and immigration as public or social ‘problems’ and ‘threats’ to order. Focusing on a succession of periods marked by distinctive themes connoting race and immigration, we see a dominant media discourse build the presence of visible minorities in British society as constituting ‘problems’ and ‘threats. Although directed at racialized visible minority groups generally, the chapter shows the particular role that British Asians come to play in a transformative drama in which they are at first seen as benign and even victims of injustice, then as coming to represent the greatest threat of all, towards the end of our periods.
Colin Webster

3. Cultural Repertoires and Modern Menaces: The Media’s Racialised Coverage of Child Sexual Exploitation

This chapter will discuss the mass media’s coverage of child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases in Rochdale (Greater Manchester) and Rotherham (South Yorkshire). These cases gained prominent media attention in the period between 2010 and 2015. The cases involved male abusers of black and minority ethnic (BME) background, in particular of Pakistani heritage and of Muslim faith, who had been abusing young female victims. Although some of the victims were also of the same ethnic background as the abusers, media attention selectively focused on those victims who were of white ethnic background. The chapter argues that the cases were narrated entirely through a cultural repertoire and drew on older racialised panics about the brown menace and white victims. The problem here is that the crime of CSE in these locales (and others like it) became racialised—presented as a form of culturally specific deviance, rather than one about gender and power, this process of ‘browning’ not only created a newer category of the black folk devil, and thus ignored white perpetrators, but also served to marginalise all victims of such abuse. A comment on the media’s racialised (re)presentation of these CSE cases takes into account their relative power in modern society, as well as their status, along with other elites, as joint-producers of information about race and racism (van Dijk 2000: 36).
Tina G. Patel

4. Media, State and ‘Political Correctness’: The Racialisation of the Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

Over the past decade in Britain, a number of sexual abuse scandals emerged. These ranged from the revelations about celebrity Jimmy Savile, thought to be the most prolific sexual abuser in British history, to the crimes of long-standing Liberal MP Cyril Smith. Both men, now deceased, were left unchecked to commit sexually violent offences against young girls and boys over a period of decades. Operation Yewtree, the on-going Metropolitan Police investigation initiated following the Jimmy Savile scandal, led to the conviction of high-profile sex abusers such as celebrity publicist Max Clifford and entertainer Rolf Harris. Around the same time as the celebrity sex abuse scandal began to make news headlines, another scandal emerged concerning the violent sexual abuse of young girls and women. This related to revelations that groups of men in towns including Rochdale in Greater Manchester and Rotherham in South Yorkshire had been sexually abusing scores of young girls over a number of years. Whilst all of these crimes received widespread news coverage, there was a marked difference in how they were framed and how they came to be understood. In the popular press representations of the Rochdale and Rotherham sexual abuse crimes, issues of violence against women and patriarchy were relegated and decentred in place of a dominant and mainstream narrative that portrayed the child sexual abuse scandal as primarily due to the uniquely dangerous masculinities of Muslim men (Tufail 2015; Gill and Harrison 2015). This chapter examines how local media and state actors and institutions in Rotherham framed the child sexual abuse scandal, the impact this had on minority communities and community relations more broadly and the ways in which these representations were challenged and resisted. This chapter also addresses the inherent tensions between feminists and anti-racists that arise in the context of sexual abuse scandals involving ethnic minority perpetrators (Grewal 2012; Ho 2006) and argues that in Rotherham there is evidence of an emergent, grassroots, anti-racist feminism.
Waqas Tufail

5. The New Year’s 2015/2016 Public Sexual Violence Debate in Germany: Media Discourse, Gendered Anti-Muslim Racism and Criminal Law

The New Year’s Eve 2015/2016 sexual attacks on non-migrant women in German public spaces near the main train stations in Cologne and Hamburg, but also in Stuttgart, have triggered far-right populist debates on the ‘integration and gender equality skills’ of new immigrants and North African male refugees, in Germany and elsewhere. This chapter discusses some of the national and international media coverage of the New Year's Eve 2015/2016 sexual attacks, and the political, legal and societal responses to it in the period January to July 2016. By this, it highlights institutional gendered anti-Muslim racism framing the perception of public sexual violence and moral panic.
Ulrike M. Vieten

6. Culture, Media and Everyday Practices: Unveiling and Challenging Islamophobia

In this chapter we wish to broach the issue of the cultural representation of Muslims. While there is now a broad range of literature which documents the ways in which Muslims and Islam are commonly depicted in the Western media, relatively scant attention has been paid to the gendered nature of prejudice against Muslims. Moreover, moving from the plain of representation to material impact, there has been a paucity of studies focused on how Muslims themselves engage with and negotiate distorted representations of their faith, identities and aspirations. Presenting qualitative evidence from a 2015 empirical study with young British Pakistani Muslims living in the North-West of England, in this chapter we consider the associations made between women and Islam at a representational level, focussing primarily on clothing as a marker of identity. We argue that intersecting discourses of gender, identity and faith—which are based on erroneous assumptions—serve to present Muslim women as simultaneously victims of gendered oppression and agents of cultural separation. Further, we posit that dominant ideologies prevalent in the UK undermine Islam and seek to impose upon Muslims narrow, assimilationist notions of British culture and values. Drawing on the data from the empirical study, we contrast common and negative non-Muslim understandings of the meaning and purposes of the veil with the positive attachments and affiliations expressed by Muslim participants. In addition, we emphasise the importance of resistance as a response to labelling and stereotyping, outlining the ways in which this is made manifest in both counter discourses and everyday practices. Before we provide a capsule account of the research methods deployed in the study, it is first necessary to discuss the specificity of the British context in general and a focus on the veil in particular.
Fatima Khan, Gabe Mythen

7. Stupid Paki Loving Bitch: The Politics of Online Islamophobia and Misogyny

In 2013 feminist writer Caroline Criado-Perez found herself subjected to numerous rape threats following her Twitter campaign calling for Jane Austen to appear as the new face on the £10 bank note. A string of female MPs have also experienced online abuse, death threats and harassment. Furthermore, many celebrity figures and those in the public eye have also complained of sustained online harassment (Jane 2014: 558–570). Cases of women as victims of hate continue to escalate in the unregulated online world, whose sexism and misogyny appears to know no bounds. Symbolic and systemic violence targeted towards women is not new; patriarchy is a staple feature of western societies. However, with the rise of the Internet and new digital technologies, an environment of hate and vulnerability has flourished whereby violence towards women (and minority groups) is increasingly made possible, without restrictions and without constraints. Gendered hatred continues to spiral in cyberspace as it has come to represent a discursive stage in which the distribution, performance and displaying of graphic sexual violence are routine practice (ibid.: 558). Online hate has thus become normalised as media systems continue to facilitate the monitoring, stalking and surveillance of individuals (Atkinson 2014: 164). These shifts have worked to feed a (male) predatory relationship with women, whereby many female celebrities have often been targeted because they have gained a few pounds or lost a few pounds (ibid.). The contemporary mediascape has as such given rise to a culture of voyeurism, which continues to prop up hetero, white and hyper-masculine cultural norms that subjugate females (and those deemed ‘other’). Subsequently, more and more individuals are increasingly finding themselves at greater risk of online stalking, bullying, hate and harassment (ibid.).
Katy Sian

8. ‘Ta-Ta Qatada’: Islamophobic Moral Panic and the British Tabloid Press

The racialised ‘Muslim Other’ has since 9/11 become the pre-eminent ‘folk devil’ in the global ‘West’. Morgan and Poynting (2012) argue that the moral panic framework, suitably developed to recognise the contemporary globalisation of the process, can usefully comprehend this construction of the global Muslim figure of evil and moral threat. This chapter examines the media-driven furore in 2012 over the detained London-based Muslim cleric, Abu Qatada, as a case study exemplifying this. The so-called hate preacher and supposed fundamentalist Islamist proponent of terrorism is quite a stock figure in the global iconography of Islamophobia, and Abu Qatada provides a clear instance. The symbiosis between crusading populist media and political leaders determined to outbid each other in their tough profile in the ‘war on terror’ is well demonstrated by this case. It also illustrates the ideology of purported ‘failed multiculturalism’ and supposed excessiveness of ‘human rights’ promoted in recent neo-conservatism, as well as some characteristic ideological elements of contemporary global Islamophobia.
Anneke Meyer, Scott Poynting

9. Bordering on Denial: State Persecution, Border Controls and the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Following the lead of the Australian government, the refusals by the Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian authorities to permit the entry by boat of several thousand Rohingya migrants travelling from Bangladesh and Myanmar in May 2015 generated a Southeast Asian ‘refugee crisis’. While the three states eventually relented, those arriving by boat continued to face indefinite detention, containment in camps or a precarious, stateless existence dependent on illicit smuggling networks. Drawing on Stanley Cohen’s work on bystanders and denial and more recent scholarship on state crime in the region, this chapter examines how the forced migration of the Rohingya has been framed predominantly as a crisis of border policing and migration controls. Further, it is argued that the focus of regional governments and global institutions on increasing private investment and economic development in Myanmar, a state also embraced by a burgeoning network of NGOs as in transition to democracy, serves both to sustain and obscure the systematic persecution and genocide of the Rohingya minority.
Michael Grewcock

10. Social Death: The (White) Racial Framing of the Calais ‘Jungle’ and ‘Illegal’ Migrants in the British Tabloids and Right-Wing Press

In the week commencing 24 October 2016, demolition of the Calais ‘jungle’ camp was officially initiated. The workers surrounded by the armed riot police tore down the wooden shacks using ‘sledgehammers and chainsaws’; bulldozers moved in later during the week, to fully clear out the ‘ramshackle shantytown’ (Mirror). The tabloid press in Britain pursued the subject intensely and obsessively. They reported ‘furious refugees’ protested against demolition (The Sun), set camp on fire (Telegraph) and ‘fought’ a ‘pitched battle’ with police—terming it ‘The Battle of Calais’ (Daily Mail). The ‘jungle’ camp was ‘finally destroyed’ (Daily Mail), which was portrayed as a victory over ‘invaders’, ‘illegals’, transgressors and security ‘threats’, who wanted to bring misery and instability to ‘soft touch’ Britain (The Sun; Daily Mail). Immediately after the demolition, the French prefect of Pas-de-Calais Fabienne Buccio released a statement outlining that it is a ‘mission accomplished’ and ‘there are no migrants in the camp’— news largely welcomed by the right-wing and tabloid press. However, this was neither the beginning nor the end.
Monish Bhatia

11. Racism as a Crime in Britain’s Right-Wing Press

Critical research of news media coverage has long highlighted the regular reproduction of hostile attitudes towards minority ethnic identities, immigrant groups and cultural and religious difference. Such studies often present compelling evidence demonstrating how the press construct and reproduce xenophobic or racist discourse through labelling and other language choices, the regular collocation of minorities with threats including terrorism, crime or anti-social behaviour and/or other negative narratives concerned with national vulnerability or social deterioration (e.g., Fox et al. 2012; Lynn and Lea 2003; Moore 2012; Moore et al. 2011; Poole 2011). Previous work also demonstrates how multifaceted and fluid discourses of racism in the press can be, with rhetorical defences to the accusation of racism readily at hand or embedded in the language through which racism is articulated (van Dijk 1992, 1993). The denial of racism as ‘a slur’, backlashes against ‘political correctness’, the endangerment of ‘common sense’ social criticism or ‘free speech’ and counter-accusations of ‘reverse racism’ are classic examples of such strategies employed in the defence of or legitimisation of, especially elite, racist discourse (Augoustinos and Every 2007, 2010; Kobayashi 2009; Seidel 1988). This chapter examines a fundamental issue at the nexus of this conflict—the meaning of racism. What is racism understood to be, and how are these definitions of what is and isn’t ‘racism’ constructed in crime and law and order news? Drawing upon findings from an extensive study examining the representation of racism in UK national newspapers, the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph and The Sun, it looks at the kinds of stories that feature racism, how racism is discussed, positioned and made sense of. What kinds of racist practice are represented as newsworthy? How are actors in narratives about racism characterised? What do the discursive boundaries of racism and their policing tell us about how racism is likely to be understood and addressed?
Kerry Moore, Katy Greenland

12. Closeness and Distance in Media Reports on the Trollhättan Attack

This chapter explores the Swedish media reporting on the Trollhättan school attack, in which a pupil and two school staff members were killed and another pupil injured by a young man. The day after the attack the police declared that the attack had been a hate crime, since the victims had been selected because of their skin colour. I am interested in the first twenty-four hours after the attack—the time from when the news about the attack broke until the moment that a hegemonic knowledge about the attack was established—and claim that the media played a special role in installing frames, through which the audience could look at the event. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of frames and Lilie Chouliaraki’s theories of media discourses as construing suffering as being worthy or not of the spectator’s pity, I identify three different frames installed by the media during this time: of the compassionate spectatorship, of a threatening suburb and of a racist act. I analyse these frames and explore the possibilities they offer for audiences in terms of distance to the suffering other.
Marta Kolankiewicz

13. Racism, the Press and Black Deaths in Police Custody in the United Kingdom

In Dying for Justice, the Institute of Race Relations, looking at black and minority ethnic deaths in custody between 1991 and 2014, revealed that out of 509 cases, just ten had been considered unlawful killings at an inquest, only five prosecutions had been brought, and nobody had ever been convicted of an offence (Athwal and Bourne 2015). The media shares no small part in denying justice for the bereaved. Invariably, where one would expect the media to investigate police wrongdoing in a suspicious death in custody, the dead themselves are smeared as too strong, too volatile or too alien for their own good, and so having brought their death upon themselves. The police are able to frame the death in terms of a media narrative that portrays race, and not racism, as the problem. As family and community campaigns for justice emerge, police and the media collude to define their demands as extremist and therefore illegitimate. A potential crisis of legitimacy for the police is deflected by the press.
Ryan Erfani-Ghettani

14. Indigenous People, Resistance and Racialised Criminality

Racism and racial discrimination is a common experience for many Indigenous people. Recent Australian research found that, depending in which state they lived in, between one in three and one in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people mentioned experiencing racial discrimination over the previous two years in a range of areas from abuse in public places to denial of access to goods and services, including employment and housing. This chapter focusses on one particular aspect of racism: the ways in which racialised criminality is both constructed and reproduced in the media, with a focus specifically on racialised criminality and Indigenous peoples in Australia. The chapter takes a broad approach to media and includes mainstream media outlets (both print and television) and other media forms including social media and film. It looks at both non-Indigenous and Indigenous media, the latter being particularly important in understanding Indigenous resistance and challenges to mainstream representations.
Chris Cunneen

15. An Analysis of Anti-Black Crime Reporting in Toronto: Evidence from News Frames and Critical Race Theory

Modern media representations of Blacks as violent and criminal (Crichlow 2009, 2014) have contributed to the construction of Blacks, and particularly Black males, as ensconced in a life of crime, poverty, and violence. The issue of media depiction of Black males is particularly important in the present age—coined “post-racial”—after Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008. Politics constitutes a variant of the post-racial era in Canada, where political parties have sought out racial minority candidates in predominantly Black, ethnic, and racialised communities. This was most evident in the appointment of Canada’s first Black Governor, General Michaelle Jean, in 2005. In general, however, media reports about Toronto’s Black communities address violence, gangs, and crime, and are anecdotally recognised as reporting Blacks as academic underachievers, recipients of child welfare, overrepresented in youth correctional facilities, and living in abject poverty (Crichlow 2014). Entman and Rojecki (2000) suggest that print media and television visually construct poverty as nearly synonymous with Blacks and that surveys show that whites typically accept this view. In this sense, news—whether print or visual—encourages the acceptance of the prototypical Black as poor and the prototypical poor person as Black (Entman and Rojecki 2000, p. 102). These anti-black working class racist stereotypes besmirch the image of Black men who are either not poor or are from middle and upper class groups (Collins 2004; Poindexter et al. 2003).
Wesley Crichlow, Sharon Lauricella

16. Contesting the Single Story: Collective Punishment, Myth-Making and Racialised Criminalisation

On the 31 January 2016, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a review, to be led by the Labour MP David Lammy, to investigate “evidence of possible bias against black defendants and other ethnic minorities”. He continued,
If you’re black, you’re more likely to be in a prison cell than studying at a top university. And if you’re black, it seems you’re more likely to be sentenced to custody for a crime than if you’re white. We should investigate why this is and how we can end this possible discrimination. (Ross 2016)
Patrick Williams, Becky Clarke

17. The Figure of the ‘Foreign Criminal’: Race, Gender and the FNP

The UK’s ‘Foreign National Prisoner crisis’ erupted on 25 April 2006, when it emerged that 1023 foreign offenders (FNPs), who had been recommended for deportation by the courts or the prison service, had been released upon completion of their sentences. The FNP ‘crisis’ inspired a ‘moral panic’ (Cohen 1972), in which a range of emergency measures and new policies were hastily instituted (Kaufman 2013). After the ‘crisis’, ‘foreign criminals’ became increasingly salient in migration debates in the UK. The FNP ‘crisis’ incensed the media and politicians, who framed the issue in terms of dangerous foreign men whose hypermasculinist violence presented a severe and existential threat to the British people.
These constructions of ‘bad migrants’ relied upon race for their intelligibility and these racialised stereotypes were articulated through gender. Put simply, ‘foreign criminals’ are dangerous racialised men and the violent state practices implemented to protect the British public from these ‘monsters’—that is, prison, indefinite detention, and deportation—can only be understood in reference to the racialised and gendered stereotypes that construct them as such.
Luke de Noronha

18. Beyond Media Discourse: Locating Race and Racism in Criminal Justice Systems

This chapter re-visits key concepts and methods in race and racism in order to consider the limits of media discourse, and of discourse analysis more broadly, for understanding race and racism in criminal justice systems.
Vicki Sentas


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