LatinaLista — Media violence. The two words evoke fistfights, shoot-outs, assaults on women and children and even cartoon characters disintegrating their enemies — all in the name of telling a good story.
So, it was never a big surprise that over the years there have been calls to boycott television shows that rely on that kind of action to be entertaining, particularly when studies found that “violence in media can desensitize people and make violence in real life seem more acceptable.”
But as we become a more sophisticated society, we are learning that violence doesn’t have to start with an action — it starts with just words. For that reason, this year’s third annual So We Might See Coalition’s Media Violence Fast campaign is partnering with the National Hispanic Media Coalition to take a stand against anti-immigrant hate speech.
During the week of October 19-26, the 2009 Media Violence Fast is focusing on:
…fight(ing) anti-immigrant hate speech. At the same time we are avoiding gratuitous violence in our entertainment media, we are going to challenge ourselves to listen to some of the worst anti-immigrant speech and support efforts to increase the public’s access to information about hate speech, thus enabling them to take a stand against it.
The campaign organizers, in addition to having an online petition for people to sign that will be sent to the Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Commerce asking them to conduct an inquiry into hate speech, are also asking their visitors to do something different — purposely listen to hate speech so they can tell the difference between what is hate and what is free speech.
The campaign has a page dedicated to identifying anti-immigrant hate speech. There is also a link to the Media Matters website where there are examples of hate speech directed against immigrants that are televised daily on cable news networks.
Campaign supporters can also join the Facebook page for the 2009 Media Violence Fast.
Understanding that words have power and using that power is an awesome responsibility — it’s a shame that some have chosen to abuse that power by diminishing the contributions and lives of others.