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Black and White: Societal Dichotomy

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One big word to describe the current phenomenon of the world.

Basically we are all tied in it. Globalization and free trade they say. They covered all the intentions up to easily penetrate into world domination.


The news today, popular people, things and events are rooted from the American way of life. The American dream it is. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the celebrities we are fond of, the music we plugged into our earholes, the language we speak and even the way we think, is centered in one country, the United States. I’ve asked this to myself earlier while on the ride going to school. Why had we become this way? My mom asked me a thought I’ve been trying to answer as well. How did it all start? Who told us to think this way? To prejudice and to exploit people that the US dictates as a person of the lower rank.


The Rolling Stones issue with the Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev as the cover blatantly explains how the US wants us to see the world. The editors wanted to delve in the social issue and deliver journalistic element of fairness and justice to each side of the incident. However it just seemed to be like one. Reading the article, the editor’s note and seeing the face of Jahar in the cover looked like the magazine was giving a big chance for him to be understood by the rest of the world. But if subliminally analyzed, it only made things worst. The title included “fell into Radical Islam and became a monster”. Clearly it gave the notion of stereotyping people in religious sects such as the Muslims. Inclusion of the September 11 bombing strengthened the thought. Facial features like Tsarnaev’s plus being a Muslim indicates a terrorist. As easy as that the notion of people changes. More importantly, the magazine targets the youth as the audience they are catering such information. As young as a teenager, readers are molded into having the Americanized trail of thought and the habit to stereotype. Through this, the perception of reality narrows down to how the US portrays their image and the image of the “others”.

Just like how superhero movies are made, the story about Jahar started as a human interest story with an appeal to emotion. Capturing such human element pushes the readers to believe the heroic deed of Americans, the coach in the story and the editors by publishing such article. It made you feel better but only made the worse out of how you envision non-Americans. Certain details emphasized such as the brothers’ origin, the naturalization Jahar acquired and the statement “They were Muslims, yes, but also they are Americans” repeatedly indicates that they are and never will be part of the American society, excluding them from the dominant.

Dealing with this kind of issue is hard to consolidate in this kind of medium. The magazine just made the readers feel like they are doing their moral obligation as journalists to seek fairness, but in reality they didn’t do anything extraordinary to uplift either sides.

Fairness cannot be achieved by merely being able to represent both sides literally. Even though biases cannot be completely taken out of context, one must be impartial in telling stories. Getting angles that won’t give double meanings to harm either side. Balance can be fully achieved if stereotypes and norms of societal thinking are set aside and broken. Open-mindedness and relative fair sense of viewing the world is key to avoid such articles to be written.

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