Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Community Conversation: Victoria Esses

I've had to wait to post while my broken finger has been healing.  As they say, better late than ever.

Image result for Community conversation st thomas

It was my pleasure to attend Community Conversations at the CASO Station on September 13, 2018.  After a warm welcome by Karen Vecchio MP, the first speaker was introduced.

Victoria Esses from Western University spoke on the topic "The Media's Portrayal of Immigrants and Refuges" in which she discussed the ways that media dehumanizes immigrants.

In 2016, of all new permanent residents in Canada, 53% (155,994) were Economic class immigrants, 26% (78,004) were Family class immigrants, and 21% (62,348) were Humanitarian class immigrants.

The media (and others) use words such as flood, bogus, and que jumpers when describing immigrants and refugees.   Sadly, people tend to respond to negative portrayals of new residents.  One sided negative messages help to reduce uncertainty by dehumanizing these newcomers.  The media (and others) accomplish this by blaming immigrants and refugees for everything wrong in our world, by showing how they are a threat to Canadians, using words that suggest they are animals or monsters.  Immigrants blamed as sources and spreaders of infectious diseases such as ebola increase their dehumanization.

When we are able to dehumanize people it makes it easier to see them as a threat, as "other", and as less than ourselves.  

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
~ Aldous Huxley

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