Discourse of Health Risks and Anti-Racial Diversity



Title Discourse of Health Risks and Anti-Racial Diversity: An Analysis of Media Coverage of the Non-Ebola Panic in Hamilton
Author(s) Charles Temitope Adeyanju
Date 2005
Publisher ProQuest Information and Learning, Ann Arbor MI
Abstract This study examines the media coverage of the widely-publicized non-Ebola event in Hamilton during 2001, and its impact on members of the local Hamilton Black community. The study argues that the problematization of the non-Ebola event by both local and national print media stems from the anxiety of Canadians over the growing presence of racial minorities in Canada. The discursive construction of the event as a problem of immigration taps into the experiential consciousness of the public who draws on its racial capacity to make sense of the uncertainty and ambiguity of late modernity. Racism is expressed in the media coverage, but through non-race discourse. The study finds that immigration is problematized through its articulation with future health risks for Canadians. By the same token, racial diversity is disarticulated from its socio-economic benefits to Canadian society. Evidently, the discourse of immigration becomes a substitution for the discourse of anti-racial diversity. Findings show that members of the Black community are skeptical of medical and media systems, not necessarily because these systems are fallible, but largely because of their broader experience as a 'racial Other' in Canadian society. As a response to what members of the Black community have interpreted as exclusionary actions of these institutions, and punitive actions of the 'dominant racial group', 'race' is found to be inverted by Blacks, who gloss over within-group differences, out of resistance. The significance of the study lies in the links it draws between moral panic and risk discourses in perpetuating a late modern strain of racialization in the media.

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