The researchers presented the paper “Representations of Anti-Racism Activism and Black Identity in the Media: A Case Study Analysis (Police violence in Seixal, 1/2019)” at the IV International Conference on Innovation, Invention and Memory in Africa, hosted by CHAM, which took place at NOVA FCSH 17-19 July 2019.
The question of media influencing racism in society has been posed by media theorists and addresses several aspects, concerning inequalities in terms of access and visibility, image stereotyping, body sexualization, racialization of identities and patterns of criminalization of black people. Media impacts in civic culture, memory building and collective risk perceptions (Whiteley, 2011) can work as a system of racialization (Littlefield, 2008). The portrayal of events involving racial tension has a major impact in the construction of collective perceptions and can lead to prevailing distorted and exclusionary visions of the “other”. The processes that may reinforce racism in media discourses are complex and exceeds the presence of racist ideology. Racism is understood as a complex societal system of ethnically or “racially” based domination and its resulting inequality (Van Dijk, 1993). In mediatized and connected societies, the notion of media is plural and fragmented, circulating from traditional to digital media and messages are symbolically negotiated among different ethnic groups and subjected to multiple subjectivations, in the production and in the reception. In this paper we propose to analyse how the Portuguese media (social media, television and the press) covered the events in the neighbourhood of Jamaica, in Seixal, when violence erupted among police and black residents, leading to significant social protest in the streets. We will establish a critical reading of the media coverage (textual and visual contents) of the black peripheries portrayed, in the national context of the rise of new anti-racism activisms strengthen by political and academic networks.