Research opposes media narrative of ‘African gangs’ in Melbourne
The Director of Deakin’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Professor Fethi Mansouri, has called for contextualisation of the issues surrounding the sensationalised reporting of ‘African gangs’ in Melbourne.
Findings by researchers at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute (ADI) have shown that Australia’s project of a multicultural nation is put at risk by irresponsible reporting on marginalised communities.
“We need to steer away from the hysteria and culture of public fear that is being propagated by the media and politicians around African-Australian youths in the city of Melbourne,” said ADI Director, Professor Fethi Mansouri.
“The kind of racialised rhetoric that surrounds this issue is causing immense harm to the African-Australian community, who are all being labelled as criminals in response to the actions of a relatively small proportion of the population.
“Most Australians form their views on public issues, particularly those in relation to migration and diversity, from the mainstream media and political discourse. Simplistic, reductionist and negative reporting of African-Australian youths leads to whole communities being stigmatised to a point where it is acceptable for them to be publicly denigrated and ostracised,” Professor Mansouri said.
“We’ve seen this type of racially-based hysteria before when the culprits were Asian, Middle-Eastern or Eastern European rather than African. Yet much of the existing research evidence shows that there are no causal links between ethnicity and criminality.”