Television Program as a Media for Racist Show

By: Ahmad Lizamuddin

Television is well-known as a telecommunication media with its function to receive broadcasting program in audio visual formats. Historically, it had function to deliver information to people about urgent things about the world condition, like the function of radio. But, it had better understanding for viewers with its visual features than radio did. Decades by decades, such as other technology equipment, it has changed since it was found in 1920. In the beginning of its invention, it was only served with black and white screen. It then has changed to be better with its features. So, now, people are able to watch television with colorful screen and other joyful facilities as the result of television development.

Talking about TV does not mean merely the TV kits itself. They do not talk about the shape and the components of TV. Now, when people talk about it, they tend to mean the programs which are broadcasted through it. Such as the TV kits having transformation in each era, its programs also change from era to era. It used to show urgent things which relayed to whole society for instance, the speech of a country’s president. Long by long, it moves to many kinds of programs which tend to be more entertaining. In a couple years ago, when people wanted to watch a film, they had to go to movie. Now, they can enjoy it only by turning “on” their own tv.

The transformation of tv programs which is explained previously cause many experts state their opinion responding the case. Most of them underline the function of tv that has changed from information media to entertainment media. There are many views of the function stated by them.

According to Wilbur Schramm as one of communication experts, he assumes tv is equalized with the other massmedia. So, with its capacity as massmedia basically it has four functions. They are information sources, education, and entertainment. However, the function of tv which is the most appropriate for nowadays is only for entertainment. The other functions are only the complements in order be varied. People prefer watching entertainment programs rather than education and information programs. As a supporting proof, a research which was conducted in Brazil with six tribes of indigenous society showed that 1.972 responders were asked about their favorite tv programs. 57% (among 898) stated that they like watching entertainment programs like telenovela, series film, comedy, etc. better than other program genres (Kottak, 1990:66).

Anyway, I am not going to elaborate more about the genres of tv. I am going to focus on the inside of tv program development. There are many crucial things to discuss from tv programs. Then, what I want to state here is the “racist show”. Maybe many people do not analyze deeply what they watch. The main point is that their entertainment needs are fulfilled. Who thinks that what they watch contain racist show? I donot generalize that all tv programs in all countries do so. I am going to serve my concerns for tv industry in this country, Indonesia.

Racism is defined as a way of life for measuring the degrees of people group based on biological organs of human. The impact of it is discrimination acts that occur in society environment. They can judge a person with white skin is assumed having better level than other skin colors.

Historically, racism was one of serious problem for all countries in this world. Africa countries, Middle East countries, Indonesia, even a super power country the United States have black memory of their own history where racism influenced the society degrees. Many people with black skins were imperialized on slavery system which people with white skins became the owners in the past. Indonesia also had similar experience when we were in imperialism era. All the indigenous society became slaves under Dutch imperialism. They were asked to work for Dutch projects, for instance working as slaves of oil palm farm as long as their lives, till death that could stop them working.

Those are some of the black memories of world history.  Because of the impacts, racism is assumed as a harmful thing now. It is supported by the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It stated that the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of humanrights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.(New York 7 March 1966)

As good people of the world, we should take a part as our real support for erasing racism. Unfortunately, this honor purpose is not understood by most people, especially the businessmen of tv industry. They still push aside this serious problem. It is roved by the program show.

In my opinion, There are two crucial proves of racism which are attached on tv show program. They are the skin colors of the actors and the language used for the dialogue.

First, the racism which is shown on tv program is discrimination based on skin colors. At a glance, when watching film series of all tv station the case won’t be found. Manythings can be analyzed here. We believe that the actors who got the role for the film are selected professionally. But, when observing all film actors of tv program, the ones who got a good role or main role are the actors with white skins. Even, the crossbreed actors can get a good role easily. when seeing the real of this country, the indigenous society are pushed aside in tv industry. Let’s see our brothers and sisters from papua or other ethnics with dark skins, they will be pushed aside. If they get role, they will only get figurant role, or other lower role. E.g, they become servants, robbers, etc. the case indirectly teaches people to do so. The ones who are goodlooking are the ones like actors actress with white skins in tv.

The Second is supremacy of a language. I watched a comedy show in one of tv station. I still remember almost all the details of it. One thing the most I remember is that laughs appeared caused by local accent. When the comedians speak bahasa with “lo gue” accent, they are assumed using “bahasa gaul” which is adopted from betawi accent. The condition is different when the actors are using other accents. If the actors speak by using “medok or ngapak” accent, laughs will appear easily caused the accents. It’s an irony. In fact, the viewers of tv are through all Indonesian people who have different culture background even language. so, all founding father of this nation have deal for solving these differences. The real solution includes in youth pledge which states that Bahasa Indonesia is as unity language. Unfortunately, most of people do not understand well for practicing the values taught by our founding father.

In conclusion, those two proves are new transformation for discrimination. Racism is really difficult to be erased from this world though, at a glance it never happens anymore. But, it is possible that it will come with new “innovative” forms in the future.

The writer is an alumne of IAIN Walisongo Semarang and IELSP Cohort 9.

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About ahmadlizam

I'm from menco, wedung, demak.... I like something new and challenging.....
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