A secondary school teacher, who doesn’t wish to disclose his identity for privacy reasons, explained how his conversation went with his students during one of his lessons.
So today, during one of my classes, I was teaching the topic – the influence of mass media. This was from a textbook.
Within the text itself, the writer spoke about how the mass media shapes people’s views especially when there’s a major event such as a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.
I was rather surprised that they used the concept of a terrorist attack in a secondary 5 (16-year-old students) educating material.
But, as I do, I tried to test my students critical thinking and knowledge regarding the topic. So, I asked them:
“When you think of the term ‘terrorist attack’, what comes to your mind?”
Their replies (from 10 different students in a class of 32):
“ISIS, 9/11, AK-47, Bombs, Paris Attack, Boston Marathon Bombing, Bin Laden…” One even said South Korea, and then realized oh no North Korea lol!
Let’s be honest, we shouldn’t be shocked by this as this is just the result of how certain media, certain governments and certain xenophobics have brainwashed the masses.
I then asked them: “Do you know about the number of shootings in USA and other killings that are being done, not by Muslims? Do you know how the media presents them? Have you seen them use the word terrorist in their reporting?”
They didn’t reply, but their faces spoke.
I brought the topic back to the text, as in the text itself it said:
We should be careful how we judge the news being presented to us. We should verify and check the sources.
All in all, it’s important we all bring this topic to the surface in our own fields in a way which is wise, since it’s definitely being grounded in the minds of the people and naturally it sets the norm of what we see around us in terms of the double standards and hypocrisy.
More and more people ought to feel the same way of an innocent life being lost in Paris, New York or Sydney due to an attack, as if it happened in Aleppo, Kashmir or Nigeria.
We need to stop the selective outrage and the biased emotional outbursts. Every life should be cherished and no life should be treated cheaper than another.