Before learning the true meaning of diaspora, I imagined it was some ghastly disease of the lung or intestines. However, I recently learned the word diaspora is derived from the Greek word dia meaning ‘through’, and speirein meaning ‘to scatter’, thanks to postcolonial theorist Avtar Brah for clearing that one up (Khorana, 2014). As such, diaspora refers to the spread of people from their homeland. You can only imagine my relief after this discovery; diasporic media wasn’t sounding too appealing prior to this knowledge.
Diasporic media essentially involves media focusing on people spreading from their homeland. So, why is there a name for this type of media and why is it worth discussing? Well, according to Cottle (2000), it has the potential to ‘enhance the confidence of minority ethnic individuals and communities’, resulting in greater access to and participation in media and production (Khorana, 2014).
Diasporic media is important because stereotyping, stigmatising and marginalisation of racialised communities can easily and quickly form and spread in host countries. As Sukhmani stated in this week’s lecture, diasporic media can aid the socialising of migrant communities into their new environments in a smoother, less intimidating way with host countries.
Initially, I would’ve thought the best solution to avoid marginalising racial communities and minorities would be changing and adapting their representations in mainstream media. However, after having read Salazar’s 2000 article “Digital stories and emerging citizens’ media practices by migrant youth in Western Sydney”, I agree there are better first steps in effective and successful diasporic media. Salazar argues that “community media is better positioned to recognise changing attitudes towards migrants and refugees, and that these changes must also take place from the bottom up.” Community media being any form of media that is created and controlled by a community and separate from commercial media and public broadcasting. Salazar’s findings also corroborated Cottle’s (2000) arguments that diasporic media encouraged greater access and participation in media, and even further when young media practitioners became active citizens exercising their human right to self-representation.
In popular culture and mainstream media, an exemplar case of diasporic media would be the 2002 British film “Bend It Like Beckham” (Khorana, 2014). The plot follows an Indian girl, Jesminder, and her family living in London. Jesminder is infatuated with football (read: soccer) and struggles to follow her dream of becoming a pro as she is held back by her family and cultural constraints.
Salazar, Juan Francisco. (2012). ‘Digital Stories and emerging citizens’ media practices by migrant youth in Western Sydney’. 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizen’s and Third Sector Media and Communication, Issue 7. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezpr oxy.uow.edu.au/ehost/detail?vid= 3&sid=c5373eb0-b85c-44ea- b3e5- cc2e901acc61%40sessionmgr40 03&hid=4201&bdata=JnNpdGU 9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db= ufh&AN=79551905. Accessed May 20, 2014