Running Head: MEDIA MISREPRESENTING STREET RACING
Date of submission:
Media misinterpreting street racing
Street racing was a common game in the past but its reputation is continually decreasing due to its being labeled by the mass media as being allied to criminal activities. Such criminal acts include; gambling, theft, car crashes and increased absorbance of the youth to alcohol and drugs among others. This however stands to be rejected since this sport has also encouraged innovativeness in car modeling, socialization and tools of social networking. It has been used for a long time as a form of leisure. Recommendations concerning the acceptance of this sport while maintaining discipline and only for the competent have been advocated for as detailed in this paper.
Street racing in the contemporary society has significantly reduced primarily because it has been type casted by the mass media as illegal (Hayward, 2009). This is normally an impromptu sport done without notifications to the people concerned, it often occurs during the night thus can pose as a risk to trespassers. It stands as a risk particularly since it occurs during the night and also involves rivalry between two opposing groups and in desolate, secluded areas vulnerable to crime. Some social aspects such as clubs specifically for cars, lack of contingent sports, remote roadways and also presence of societal gangs can cause the emergence of such sporting activities as street racing. A major concern is a decrease in the sport and its being labeled to be associated with societal deviants. Though this is not always the case these claims must be proved right though they are negatively affecting the trend of the sport since it has been associated with negative claims such as driving under the influence of alcohol, injuries due to crashes for innocent passers by and also mortalities due to sloppy driving or even under the influence of other drugs (CQ Researcher, 2011). Although the stereotyping of this sport, it has been seen as a field to enhance development of proficient drivers who have sharpened skills of driving in bad roadways with accelerated speed minding the safety and that of the surrounding. In this paper much focus is put on the exploring these misinterpretations that have been intensified particularly by the mass media depriving off the reputation linked with this sport.
Misinterpretations of street racing
Street racing is a leisure activity that has been long in existence since the 1950s and gained its reputation when movies and computer games concerning this sport emerged enticing many youths to make it practical. In essence it took many different forms such as sprints, touge and drag racing. Whichever the case street racing has been a major concern by the mass media terming it as a threat and a cause for erosion of morals as according to Mille, Hess and Orthmann (2007). Misinterpretations painted along with this sport are discussed below.
Moral decay as a result of street racing
According to Lendon (2008) the mass media views this sport as illegal and as a direct way to kill or maim oneself, this may be true since according to demographics 9 out of every 10 deaths of such street racers is due to results of damages and consequences caused by this street racing. It has also been observed to be addictive though this may be the case no valid data has been given to support these claims. This sport is promoted by the same mass media since it has been enticed these youngsters with movies such as ‘the fast and the furious’ (Lendon, 2008) which trigger them to be addicts of this game. Computer games such as ‘need for speed’ which involve street racing have also encouraged the participation of this game and are frequently advertised in the mass media. This game has thus been widely used as a leisure activity and in some cases has been embraced as a legal sport thus a big misinterpretation concerning this game.
According to Peak and Glensor (2004) recounts on the introduction of this race from the famous American movies such as the insurgent without grounds and also the grease all that were about the street racing. These were promoted by the mass media and become the most celebrated movies among the youngsters. The same media claims that this sport which it promoted has been the resultant of assaults on cases of retaliation on fulfilling bets made and has helped to increase gang related activities. Street racing has also been allied to insurance fraud in a bid to seek for intentional damage compensation. Though these are true and have been observed in the contemporary society only the drag racing which involves competitors on who drives the longest distance can be applied in this case since it requires a permit from the municipal council for validity thus not all street racers are cause of alarm (Peak & Glensor, 2004). Street racing has also been associated with youths who are known to be irresponsible thus being associated with moral deviance such as car theft and increased societal crime. Although this may be case the youth are not the only participants of this sport as the mass media claims but also adult aged from 25 to 40 years of age for leisure (Peak & Glensor, 2004). This should thus not be stereotyped only among the youths and if so not for all the wrong reasons. It should also be noted that there is responsible street racing thus an added reason not to criminalize this sport.
Claims from the media concerning this sport associated it with modification of vehicles by incorporating them with alterations such as smog controls and computerization. The modifications may be illegal but they have been important in portraying one prowess in driving. They have also opened fields for new technological developments and advancements developing cars that are hyper with super speeds and also with electrical control promoting growth in the field of engineering. This shows that though the stereotype, new innovativeness and inventiveness discoveries can be created from street racing. It has also been noted that the that the same mass media is the one that incorporates these new models in their adverts telling the public of how such cars have high speed and are efficient for racing provoking them to try them so that they validate such claims (Hayward, 2009). This brings questions concerning street racing as either negative or more advantageous to the motor vehicle industry. This out dos claims of increased theft of auto parts from stalls, fences and also those of money so that equipment to model such vehicles can be obtained. Although this is the case such behavior can also be a result of deviance and poor role models and not necessary from street racing. This sport has also facilitated socialization among persons of the same age group appreciating interaction, sharing of ideas and discovering of ones weaknesses other than concentrating much on negative effects of street racing as portrayed by the media (Vaaranene & Wieloch, 2002).
The issue of theft and its relationship with street racing is also being questioned since this sport has been thought to cause increased crimes through rationale though the claims have not been validated. The theft of auto parts have also been associated with street racing, this may be the case but it does not cause the stereotyping of this sport as criminal since activities such as touge racing are legally accepted. Further other societal influences in such far-flung neighborhoods, bad parenting and lack of elites to emulate could be the main reasons why these crimes increase in such areas. Such societies have also been associated with complains from residents concerning noise particularly because this sport mostly occurs during the night. Littering and also vandalism of property due to the carefree attitude of such drivers though not all has been stereotyped with this sport making it to be associated more to societal deviants which may not necessarily be the case. The media also claims that this sport can not occur if one is in sound mind thus the participants are associated to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs (Peak & Glensor, 2004). According to CBC news (2005) the most frequently stolen cars in the United States are the speedy and sophisticated ones and the one of the major reasons why they are stolen is associated with street racing. Though this may be the case no demographics have been used to support this claim and other problems such as insecurity and careless packing are also associated with this theft hence we can not exclusively rule out that street racing is the causative of such theft.
Street racing and increased mortalities
The other major and grave concern associated with street racing is the new trends of causing deaths through crashes among rivals, maiming through accidents and also severe injuries and their resultant consequences. According to Lendon (2008) it has been used by people who are suicidal as an easy and non blamable way of trying to commit suicide. It also states lamentations that people have been killed trying to race; others have been killed while crossing roads where some of these events are taking place (Sax, 2009). It also makes this issue of concern since it is drifted and only affects the male child though it is seen to pose as a danger not only for the participants but also for the spectators (Sax, 2009). This is however not valid since female participants have also been seen to participate in street racing as according to Vaaranen and Wieloch (2002). Though this is the case such dangers should only occur if the drivers are not competent and skilled thus the sport is not bad but participation when one is not competent could lead to deaths as stated thus stereotyping should only occur if there is participation in the sport without any competence (Johnson, 2006). The validation that car trouble have also been the resultant of deaths which could be avoided has also been outlined by Conley and McLaren (2009) though it has shown positive light since persons such street racers who were known as social deviants have changed to be morally upright but still participate in the sport meaning the sport is not bad but has many deviant persons who participate making it to be painted as so. Emphasizes on death from this sport is accentuated calling it a dead end career through crashes (Vaaranen & Wieloch, 2002).
Positive view of street racing
According to Johnson (2006) street racing is not bad but an exciting and thrilling sport since all it requires is quality training to get the skills with frequent practice. It also requires the maintenance of discipline by observing rules such as not driving under the influence of alcohol. Johnson (2006) also proposes the reducing and controlling of street racing as the best option to reduce its aftermaths since deterring it will only encourage its being done without authority’s knowhow thus continued suffering of the innocent. The recognition of this sport publicly will also encourage its being done during the day and will serve as a social activity just like other sports such as base ball and American football. Imposing large fines to people overstepping policies of this sport by activities of theft, vandalism of property, intentional crashes and gambling on bets should be heavily castigated. Although this does not stop such occurrences it poses as a serious warning to those tarnishing this sports’ reputation. Integrated community policy is however the suggested way to discern participants of legal and illegitimate street racing hence preventing misrepresentations of this sport as negative by the mass media and labeling of the participants as thieves and murderers (Johnson, 2006; Mille, Hess & Orthmann, 2007). Another solution for legalizing this game is to provide channels with which it can transpire otherwise this problem will continue to be labeled by the mass media using unsubstantiated claims.
The misinterpretations concerning this game have tarnished its character declined though an exciting and worthwhile game to invest in. It has been seen to be promoted by the mass media through its adverts on modern models of cars, advertisement on computer games such as need for speed and also other movies. The claims that this sport is associated with criminals are to some extent is true though not valid to ruin the sports’ reputation. This is because the sport itself has no anomaly and not all those who participate in it are thieves, societal deviants, murderers and drug addicts as the media tries to paint it. This calls for legalization of this sport, its reduction other than its dissuading (Johnson, 2006). Recommendations on monitoring the operations of this sport will ensure only proficient drivers participate and discipline is observed among the participants. Recognition of this game will ensure it is done publicly and that stringency in the participants accompanied with security is enhanced reducing it from being of societal harm through claims of theft and vandalism of property. Embracing this sport will encourage it to be used as a tool for innovativeness, inventiveness, social networking which are positive aspects in societal moral development. Recommendations on reporting of valid claims by the mass media concerning this game is advocated for as it will encourage the appreciation of this game like any other dangerous sports such as rugby though posing a risk of injury and even death.
Frequent labeling of the sport of street racing has been portrayed by the mass media terming it as a sport for criminals. As observed from the findings of this paper, it has been allied with theft of auto parts of motor cars, the killing of the innocent passers by and also the maiming and injury of the participants. It has also been associated with encouraging moral decay in the society by encouraging the emergence of gangs, activities such as gambling, theft and indulgence in drug and alcohol taking. Though this is the opinion of the media this sport has also been seen as a center of adventure, socialization, inventions and leisure thus the stereotype is not true but just a misrepresentation of the sport. Recommendations on recognition of this sport, its acceptance and also a positive focus on it while maintaining discipline will ensure these misinterpretations are done away with. The maintenance of security and also public notifications on such sporting activities will help in avoiding accidents. Recommendations on ensuring only qualified participants are recruited will also ensure no intentional accidents and deaths will. In conclusion this sport is a good recreation method and the media should stop stereotyping it while they are the same ones who advocate for people to indulge in it.