We Start Seeing

About 150 people attended the first international workshop of BEAMS in Madrid on October 14, 2013.

The event put together a diverse and remarkable group of experts, service providers and representatives from institutions, NGOs, minority groups and other organizations working against discrimination and for migrants/minorities rights.

The keynote speaker, Manuel Fresno Garcia, Founder and Director of Social Services Fresno, Expert on Minorities for the European Commission and member of the Scientific Committee of FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency) introduced the topic of stereotyping. He highlighted the human social and cultural factors that create stereotypes in our daily life. Mr. Fresno clearly showed how– since an early age –personal, family and sociological variables influence the link between a natural process of simplification of the world i.e. stereotyping, and the negative consequences when stereotypes become prejudice, which in turn, is likely to become discriminatory behavior.

The BEAMS partners added on this topic with concrete examples from their analyses, sharing the results of their research on ethnic and racial stereotyping, creating a varied narrative that spun from the analysis of films, photos, ads, to sports, hip-hop music, TV fiction, stand up comedy to other forms of entertainment widely recognized as popular culture and having an impact on different groups of citizens.

The presentations showed how mainstream media and industry react, reflect and inform public opinion, with different forms of traditional and new forms of stereotyping, some of them more powerful and negative, others more subtle and less prejudiced.  The overall picture described by the different local case-studies show the complexity of interactions and meanings assigned to minority and migrant representations, underlining both traditional and new stereotypes. The presentations also show the different uses that producers on one side, and different groups of audiences and consumers on the other side, make of stereotypes in different contexts and with different outcomes.

While in some cases stereotypes are less present or are used as a resistance strategy by minority or ethnic groups, in other cases, the analysis show persistent discrimination towards different groups, practiced by both mainstream and other minority groups.

During the event, instant polls have been done, aimed at interacting with the participants and showing the BEAMS methodology and appraising perception, opinion and feelings that samples of music, films, pictures and Tweets are capable to create.

To see the photographs of the event or download all the presentations, click here.

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