Diversity makes one of the strengths of Europe, but discrimination – overt or covert – continues to plague coexistence at social, cultural and economic level. Racism and xenophobia are among the most widespread forms of discrimination that individuals experience because of their origin, culture, language, or lifestyle.
The media and entertainment industries – simply referred to as “popular culture” – are powerful agents of stereotyping. They have a fundamental role in replicating societal trends, shaping public opinion, producing and reproducing stereotypical representations of groups, communities and individuals, and “fixing” their characteristics and identities over time and space.
BEAMS (Breaking down European Attitudes towards Migrant/Minority Stereotypes) brings together 15 partners from 11 different EU states to better understand the link between popular culture stereotypes of migrant and minority groups and discriminatory attitudes of the consumers/citizens, which still prevent such groups from obtaining full rights of citizenship in many respects.
The partners also join force to raise awareness and educate young Europeans to “stop watching and start seeing” stereotypes and the different mechanisms underpinning them, and to use an informed and critical look to break down the negative correlation between stereotypes and discriminatory behaviors towards specific migrant and minority groups.