Class Communication in Multicultural America


According to the article, Class Communication in Multicultural America, the increase of racial diversity as well as the rise of new technologies, influenced the media. These no longer target their message to a broad mass, as it was the case since the 1950s, but tend to rather tailor it for specific publics, which are defined in terms of social class, gender, and race. Hence, audiences are segmented, or divided, using these criteria, to provide them with more personal information. By the same token, advertisers are now being sold those niches by newspaper or cable channels, for example.
Magazines, newspapers, radio, or television have therefore adapted their communication to this new tendency. They are trying to reach racial and cultural minorities that are growing and represent an interesting market. These media are mainly paid through advertising and corporations are aiming for these subgroups in order to generate profit. Thus, advertisers are no longer being sold space or time to channel their message, but rather the number of persons in a given niche, as well as the characteristics linked to their class.
According to the author, this process could be dangerous, in the sense that early media use to provide mass audiences with the same content, which created a common culture. Whereas now, with the rise of specific media, the public is divided in terms of the information they are given. Although it might be profitable to minorities, since they are being addressed directly, the author suggests that it could as well reinforce existing differences within society. The fact remains that dividing people by class, for instance, and then assume that all of them respond to the same characteristics, is a way of stereotyping them. This type of segmentation lacks in differentiating between the members of a given minority whom might not share the same language or culture, as it can be the case for the “Asian” one.
In my opinion, and as said in the article, segmentation truly results from financial decision, made in order to reach audiences that could generate profit. However, the author writes that media specially targeted for minorities might prevent them from learning or accessing the mainstream culture. It seems to me that people from Latinos minorities, for example, are very attached to their culture and their language and are therefore great consumers of Spanish programs or magazines. Nevertheless, most of them are bilingual and being targeted by specific messages do not necessarily prevent them from understanding or knowing about the mainstream culture.