The first impression, that you get looking at the "Youth Image" presented on the posters of United Way company is that its true and real. There are four boys or young men, obviously from a poor district…
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Another is smoking a cigarette, which probably contains some sort of narcotics. The third, sitting on a sofa is having a doubt. But his position (between two users of drugs) suggests that most likely he would join his fellows. And the last one, staying near the window, is a newcomer. May be he is there because of pure curiosity, maybe he is going to test drug for the first time, or may be is thinking how to help his friend or relative, who is drug addict. Some interesting details are catching your attention. In the demographic context, all of them are mail and young, White and Afro-Arabian equally represented. We don't see any joy or other positive expression. The only exception is the boy with a relaxed, but tired face. So they don't use "light" drugs (like aphrodisiacs, marihuana or ecstasy), that are popular at rave parties. The bottle with medicine on the table gives us a hint, that they are using crack. Another important part of the picture is diagram. It shows two ways how events could develop. If you give money, than United Way can provide these boys with help (like rehabilitation for drug addicts and job for unemployed). If you do not, then the number of drug users would increase and subsequently the number of crimes and rate of violence in society would grow up. The same message is contained in brief text at the picture bottom.
We can distinguish five statements implied by this picture: 1. One of the major problems in our society is using of "hard" drugs, which cause physical and mental damage. 2. Drug users are inclined to committing crimes, at the beginning small one (like robbery), and than more serious (violence crimes). 3. Most drug users are from poor districts. 4. Drug user in most cases is a White or an Afro-Arabian young man. 5. To solve the problem we must support charity organizations. Still the question remains whether all these messages are true and relevant
From our point of view, this picture is representing several most popular myths about drug and crime. The definition of myth by Robinson (2000, p. 133) is: "A myth is falsehood that becomes accepted as truth because it is told and retold over time. Crime myths are distorted conceptions of crime-related issues that have deviated from the truth because of debate and discussion through public forums and private conversations Typically, crime myths are built around particular groups in society, usually lower-class minority males". Idea of criminal myth is very close to ideas of stereotype and discourse. As Deuthmann (2004, p. 255, 338) states: "Thus, although a particular group may have a higher rate of drug abuse than another, it is probable that most members of that group do not use drugs Stereotypes exaggerate cultural differences and treat whole grope as deviantThe impact of discourse may occur through the things that are said, in words, print pictures; it may also be through what does not appear. Dominant discourses silence or marginalize alternative views, demonize them or render them invisible". So discourse is the way in which myths and stereotype
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