Race Culture & Diversity – Reflections on Issues Relating to the Traveller Community and the Portrayal of Minority Groups in the Media Assignment

Race Culture & Diversity – Reflections on Issues Relating to the Traveller Community and the Portrayal of Minority Groups in the Media Assignment Words: 1657

Many issues have been introduced and discussed in regards to race, culture and diversity, and their impact on children and society. In the attached journal I have recorded some of the subjects we discussed in group sessions such as: British Empire Legacy, Equal Opportunities, Post Code Culture, Ethnic Minorities, Sex Education, Legislations, and the Traveller Community. I have also included other interesting issues that I came across and thought to be relevant to this module.

For the purpose of this reflective statement on the module and journal, I will focus further on and discuss the education of children in the traveller community, and inequalities in the representation of race and cultures in the media. The right to education is a fundamental human right. Every individual, irrespective of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity or social origin, religion, age or disability, is entitled to an education without discrimination of any kind (UDHR, 1948). However, discrimination exists in all walks of life, whether obvious or not, including in education.

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Brown (1998:x) comments that, “children are aware very young that colour, language, gender and physical ability are connected with power and privilege”. These factors have a major part to play in undermining their development. Brown (1998) goes on to argue that social inequalities are deeply rooted in British history, which have been created and maintained by vested interests over centuries. Social inequality “changes the very nature of” a child (Mongomery et al, 2003:71). It determines the way a child sees itself fit into the society and ultimately the future.

Opportunities vary depending on race, gender and socio-economic background. Ermisch et al, cited in Davis (2006:34) note that, “education has become a key area of intervention in disadvantaged children’s lives, and low-income children are seen as particularly at risk of ‘failing’ at school”. Policies such as ‘Every Child Matters’ (ECM, 2008) are intended to change the situation to make a better future, including those of children in the traveller community. The gypsy and traveller community are a minority group, that are greatly outnumbered by non-travellers and affected by racism (see Journal entry ages 49, 57 & 65). The Roma, who form a significant part of the traveller community, have the legal status of a race. The session we had on 14/11/08 on travellers was very interesting and informative. I was not really aware of this group of people and their culture and had very little knowledge of them. In fact, I had some negative views of them and thought of them as I had seen in the movies. I was surprised, to say the least, to find out more about their existence and presence as I had never come across them in my life or knew of anybody that had. This learning was interesting and informative for me.

To eradicate prejudice against travellers, it is important to understand their history and way of life. Travellers have been dealing with misconceptions for a long time; they have been targeted by the majority and have been discriminated against. For example, they were barred from the Royal Windsor Horse Show which was open to the public. Many were told that “your kind are not welcome” here (Bowcott, 2008). The traveller community have their own unique way of life, and education authorities try to work with them to help their children to get an education without compromising their way of life, their culture.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (2007) has also recognised that Gypsy Travellers face public hostility, institutional discrimination and widespread ignorance about their needs in society. This is despite the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, which has made all these things illegal. The elder generation of travellers have very little or no education. Although traveller children today are encouraged to get an education and appear to do well in primary education, but they seem to struggle when they progress to secondary education.

It appears the transition into secondary school is hard for the children as they have to form relationships with many adults who struggle to understand them and their lifestyle. They may also have to deal with prejudice and bullying from the other children in the school. These uncomfortable situations often lead the children to leave education early and join the family trade, where they feel more at ease and comfortable (Reynold, 2003). These children are the lowest attaining amongst all Ethnic Minority groups. Many travellers are still very much a part of ircuses and fairgrounds. Many still live in trailers and do not want static homes, which also makes it difficult to get them to integrate as they will not join in with settled society as they have a nomadic lifestyle (Tait, 2004). Tait (2004) reports that travellers have the lowest level of educational attainment of any ethnic group. They have low attendance rates and are often taught informally by family members. Though distant learning has been introduced to help integrate the traveller community and give their children an education, access is still a big factor.

The DfEE (1998) report on Traveller Education found as many as 10,000 Traveller children who were not even registered with a school. Travelling often means children are not able to settle into one school, which undermines their educational progress, with the main issues identified by Bhopal (2004) being, underachievement, racism and bullying. Not being a member of the majority group can play a vital role in your development, as a child may always be seen as ‘different’, having to work that little bit harder than someone who is of the majority.

For example in schools, if you are of a different religion to the majority or your parents are homosexual, or if you do not comply to the social norms of your sexuality, or are of a different race, you could be victimised in the playground and be bullied, or treated differently by staff and feel alienated. These issues also extend to the media, in terms of prejudice and negative portrayal. Lake et al (1998) note how, “research demonstrates that children get messages about their race by seeing how, and how often its members are portrayed in the media.

Media grant legitimacy through the ‘recognition’ and ‘respect’ shown to racial groups. ” Recognition takes place when group members appear in programs, and respect is given when certain group members are cast in positive roles. Therefore, if a certain group is not represented or represented negatively, it shows they are not worthy and do not need to be acknowledged, and are may not be respected, especially when they are shown in a stereotypical view. Lake et al (1998) comment that, “children get these messages about other races as well as their own, helping shape their earliest opinions. The traveller community is often portrayed negatively in the media (see Journal entry pages 51 & 65). As the articles in the journal show, the traveller community in the media are portrayed in a negative stereotypical manner. Headlines which appear to be factual are used to arouse reactions; although when the full article is actually read, it is not the case. They make out the traveller community to be like ‘bogeyman’ and raise fear of them, by using use scaremongering tactics, so non-travellers tend to fear them and do not know what to expect.

Minority groups are often shown in negative roles, which reiterate the stereotypical and over generalised views of minorities in society. They are undervalued and not represented well in society. For example, Balkaran (1999) argues that, “media have divided the working class and stereotyped young African-American males as gangsters or drug dealers. As a result of such treatment, the media have crushed youths’ prospects for future employment and advancement”. Homlwood (2008) & Hewlett (2008) support this and note that where there is representation in the media of minority groups, they can still be portrayed incorrectly.

In conclusion, with regard to race & ethnicity, some groups are discriminated against and this is reflected in their relative ranking in terms of prestige and power in society (Gillborn, 2000 & Adams, 2002). As I have shown, these inequalities can be seen in the portrayal of minority groups, such as travellers, in the media. These negative representations can, in turn, feed the discrimination they experience in society. Bibliography Adams, B. N & Sydie R. A (2002) Contemporary Sociological Theory. Pine Forge Press. Balkaran, S. 1999) Mass Media and Racism, The Yale Political Quarterly [Internet], Yale University. Oct, Vol 21 (1) Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08] BBC News (2008) Travellers’ camp stops race plans [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08] Bhopal, K. (2004) Gypsy Travellers and Education: Changing Needs and Changing Perceptions. British Journal of Educational Studies [Internet] March, Vol. 52 (1), pp. 47-64. Available from: [Accessed: 15/12/08] Bowcott, O. (2008) Travellers allege race bar at Windsor show [Internet] The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08] Brown, B. 1998) Unlearning discrimination in the early years, Trentham Books Limited. Davis, J. (2006) Children, Young people and Social Inclusion. Bristol, Policy Press ECM (2008) [Internet]. Every Child Matters. Available from [Accessed 30/11/2008]. Gillborn, D. & Mirza, H. (2000) Educational Inequality: Mapping Race, Class and Gender, OFSTED London GRT Leeds (n. d) Race Equality. [Internet], Gypsy Roma Traveller Leeds. Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08] Hewlett, S. (2008) Colouring by numbers on TV fails to reflect diversity [Internet] The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08]

Holmwood, L (2008) Too many black and Asian faces on TV, says BBC director Samir Shah [Internet] The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08] Montgomery, H B, R and Woodhead, M. (2003) Changing Childhoods. Local and Global. Wiley and the Open University Overview also available on [Internet], Available from: [Accessed 06/12/2008]. Lake, Sosin, Snell, Perry & Associates and Motivational Educational Entertainment (1998) A Different World: Children’s Perceptions of Race and Class in Media. Children Now. Los Angeles, California, [Internet] Available from: [Accessed: 15. 2. 08] Reynolds, M et al (2003) Traveller culture and lifestyle as factors influencing children’s integration into mainstream secondary schools in West Belfast. International Journal of Inclusive Education. Vol. 7 (4) Oct-Dec, pp. 403-414. Tate, P. (2004) Report 1: Travellers, PYE TAIT LTD [Internet], Available from: [Accessed 12/12/2008]. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (2007) [Internet] London Available from: [Accessed 16/12/08] UDHR (1948) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [Internet], Article 26. Available from: [Accessed 06/12/2008].

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Race Culture & Diversity - Reflections on Issues Relating to the Traveller Community and the Portrayal of Minority Groups in the Media Assignment. (2019, Jun 19). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://anyassignment.com/social-science/race-culture-diversity-reflections-on-issues-relating-to-the-traveller-community-and-the-portrayal-of-minority-groups-in-the-media-assignment-53021/