TV Drama Representation of Ethnicity
Different ethnic groups are a large part of British and American TV Dramas. Familiar stereotypes of ethnicity are heavily conformed to but commonly challenged amongst many TV dramas. The issues and situations surrounding ethnicity is often built upon to create exciting and touching story-lines. In a clip from 'Hotel Babylon' that I analysed shows the event of a immigration raid. The characters all of different ethnic backgrounds and are represented in different ways.
The clip opens with a mid-shot of a white man, he is dressed in a suit therefore immediately can be depicted as respectable and well educated; this initially conforms to stereotypes of white British men. The camera pans right to show him turning a corner to come face to face with white police men. The two-shot combined with non-diegetic sound of fast-paced music creates the understanding that something bigger is about to happen. The fact that the police men are both white reflects the stereotype that white men hold respectable jobs. The diegetic sound of the police men telling the man that nobody can leave is politely accepted, the white man is represented as polite and well mannered; his reaction is predictable for a white man.
An establishing shot follows, a lobby is revealed and a white blonde girl stands behind the reception desk. As the camera zooms in on the blonde girl, she is attractive and clearly takes care of her appearance with curled hair and neat make up. The mise en scene shows that this white women is represented as narcissistic and conforms to stereotypes of white females. The use of the camera zoom connotes that she likes attention her ethnicity is represented as self-centred. The shot cuts to an over the shoulder/long shot of police entering into the lobby. The entrance of the characters is far from discreet, in relation to ethnicity this could infer that white people are arrogant and egotistical or it could show them to be proud of their profession and seek the approval and aid of those around them. As the police walk through a mid shot focuses on a black man holding a newspaper, this familiar position of hiding behind a newspaper suggests he is guilty and has something to hide, the representation of the black character is that he could be a criminal therefore supporting stereotypes. Analysing the shots mise en scene, the back man is sitting down as the men walk past, the shot only shows the middle part of their body consequently making the white men appear higher that the black man. This creates the representation of a divide in ethnicity and suggests the negative idea of inequality. An over the shoulder shot shows the police man in charge speaking to the receptionist, he introduces himself which highlights the good manners associated with white people. As the women alerts Ben and the other staff through a code about the police being there a close up shot of the police man reflects his suspicions and connotes his intelligence and good education.
Fast paced editing and cuts are used when the men are running to inform 'Jackie' of the presence of the police. The white man says 'Jackie' followed by the black man saying 'immigration', this simple diegetic sound reflects the representations of the men. The white man is shown to be more of a polite and intelligent man whereas the black man is straight to the point, less hesitation. 'Jackie', an Asian character is first shown in a mid-shot. She looks very well put together and her red lipstick gives her an element of glamour whilst holding a professional look. Additionally, diegetic sounds show that she is in heels, she is represented as very feminine. There is a lot of shouting and chaos as she enters the kitchen, mise en scene reflect the ethnic groups as being hard working.
A shot of the Asian women and immigrants is shot from being some bars, this connotes being trapped. The characters are being targeted in the clip and being trapped and scared by white people therefore the clip creates a representation of white people that conforms to the stereotype that they are racist. In association with this is the diegetic sound of the jingling keys which is repeated through out the scene which implies that the Asian lady has control of the situation.
The mid-shot of a black man hoovering with his earphones associates black people with music which supports stereotypes that all black people are very involved with and get enjoyment out of music. As this man is taken by the police, a tilt down angle is used as the white man walks away making the audience lose respect for the white man and creating a negative representation.
Once the black man saves the diabetic lady he says, "I wasn't always a cleaner", this diegetic sound creates the representation that black people are not given a fair chance and they are just as respectable and intelligent as white people. In the background of this is the diegetic sound of shuffling feel which reflects the nerves of the immigrants and the power and control white people have over them in this situation.The Asian lady is thankful to the cleaner and is stroking the head of the lady with care. The camera shot zooms in on her face as she reacts to the diegetic sound of knocking on the door. A hand held camera follows her as she walks to the door and unlocks it with mild hesitation. Her character is represented as brave and intelligent, a very positive representation of her ethnicity.
In the clip the Asian lady pleads to the white police man to let her employee go but he declines her with no pity. His representation builds as arrogant and selfish. The camera zooms in on her face as she begs to connote her as an honest and caring character. Once the police leave the lobby, the camera pans left from the blonde receptionist to a waiter and the shot reveals only white people that look quite shocked and uncomfortable with the situation therefore continuing the negative representation of white people being snobs.
As 'Jackie' clears the locker of the man that was taken away by the police the non-diegetic music slows down and creates a sombre atmosphere therefore making the audience feel sympathy for the black man and emphasise the negative representation of the white man. The clip ends with a left pan of the immigrants sitting eating their dinner. The shot rests on two black characters praying at the table before eating their meal. This creates a very religious representation of black people. As the black lady picks up her fork to begin she is stopped by the man as he finished praying, this implies his dominance and perpetuates the representation of their comintment to religion.
The clip alone shows a negative representation of white people, the situation provokes arrogance and selfishness and reflects commitment the police had to their profession. The clip created a very positive representation of the Asian character as she came across as very caring and selfless.