Friday, April 27, 2012

Xenophobia produces poor journalism, writing

That is an obvious statement, perhaps, but think about it. How true could the reporting of xenophobe be if they are writing from a skewed lens of unfounded fear or suspicion of the strange or foreign, especially in regards to people? Even the form of uncritical stereotyping renders their writing dishonest. Maybe not intentionally so, but still inaccurate.


Not being a psychology expert, I'm not even sure if you can be self aware of suffering from xenophobia. However, there are treatments available.

Even beyond journalism, even novel writing suffers when you use what you think you know about a culture. It will keep your work from achieving the depth it deserves.

If you took a minute to ponder the concept, then the usable takeaway for all writers would be this: Did you really look at your subject before applying preconceived notions? Did you explore beyond what you expected to find? Did you give it a fair chance? Did you really listen to those close to the topic?

If you answered "yes," then you're on the path to truth and accuracy. And that matters.

'X' posts from other A to Zers:

The Story: X - Xerox your smiling face.
Pirate Knitting: X is for X BONES
Parenting From Aaah! to Zzz: X Marks the Spot!

10 comments:

  1. Being Chinese, I find a lot of examples of my culture being misrepresented or represented on such a facial surface it irks me. Kudos for encouraging others to take that deeper dive.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Caroline! I think it's really important for writers to do so.

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  2. I was thinking if you were writing a novel, a xenophobic character might be interesting, but if the author was a xenophobe, then all of her characters might take on this quality. It could get complicated.

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    Replies
    1. That it could, Chuck! Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Our society is so full of cultural and racial misconceptions, it is difficult not to have some misconceptions of your own about others that are different from you. However, it doesn't make it right. Every time I discover one of my own, I make sure I consciously correct the misconception until it no longer exists.

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    Replies
    1. Great point, Amanda. I'm sure we all have to work on stereotyping. Thanks!

      Delete
  4. Great points you bring up. I think it definitely creates a problem, as other commenters have pointed out but I don't think the journalist would be self-aware so as you said, there lies the conundrum.

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  5. Interesting concepts, Tamara. Gives me something to think about.

    ReplyDelete

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