I recently returned from a transnational cooperation activity seminar in Berlin. The theme of this seminar was “Fostering critical thinking and media literacy – Strengthening European democracy through adult education” 10th – 12th December 2018.
When I saw the publicity for this seminar, I knew I wanted to attend because I know that imperative role of media literacy in combating the discriminatory rhetoric that is contributing hugely to the rise of right wing and populist movements across Europe.
The seminar focused on discussions around fake news and its detrimental effects on society and especially on already marginalised and disadvantaged people. I guess what really came to light whilst attending this conference was that although research has shown that racial disadvantage exists in many spheres of society, many people around Europe are living in a post-racial fantasy. The concept of post-racialism is important when considering media literacy in present European society because it helps identify that racism does still exist, albeit in a different guise and that claims of living in a post racial society are in fact dangerous and damaging to the fight against racial disadvantage.
Hooks (1995), suggest that although racism may not be as overt as it was in the beginning of the 20th Century, individuals must not be duped into thinking that racism no longer exists and that we are now living in a post racial age because it is still present and is systematically and institutionally embedded within society.
This was something that was discussed heavily in my break out group. We then discussed different project ideas and what we could do within our organisations to combat systematic racism that the media is perpetuating. We agreed that, dialogue is the key to addressing this issue. Dialogue should include all relevant cultures and the issue of white-dominance and privilege should be addressed both for the understanding of the White Europeans and for the furtherance of the BAME communities – for certainly, a problem can only be fixed once recognised and understood, and whilst we live in a post-racial fantasy, there is little chance of real change.
Hooks, B. (1995). Killing Rage. New York: Henry Holt and Company.