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Racial Bias of Pictures in English BSE Coursebook of Junior High School Grade VIII

Ahmad Khoirul Sholeh Prawiranegara






Prawiranegara, Ahmad K.S. 2012. Racial Bias of Pictures in English BSE


Coursebook of Junior High School Grade VIII. Thesis. English Language Teaching. English Department, Faculty of Letters, State University of Malang. Advisor: Dr. Mirjam Anugerahwati, M.A.




Key words: bias, BSE, pictures




Coursebook is an important part for English Language Teaching in


Indonesia. It is used as guidance for teacher to deliver the lesson and learning source for students. Nowadays, the form of coursebook has transformed from the conventional hardcopy coursebook into a digital one which is called as BSE or Buku Sekolah Elektronik (Electronic Coursebook) published by BSNP (Badan Standar Nasional Pendidikan or The National Education Standardized Body). It is expected that both students and teachers can access the coursebook easily as their learning sources. Students learn cultural identity, and character building through the coursebook content (e.g. pictures). According to Cunningsworth (1995), an EFL coursebook material should represent people in gender, ethnic origin, occupation, age, social class, and disability. Students need to comprehend their cultural identity before competing in the global society.


This study focuses on coursebook evaluation from cultural content point of views. It aims to identify and find out how the racial varieties are depicted in the coursebook pictures. By investigating the way the racial groups are presented in the pictures, the researcher found the most frequent appearing race.


The researcher uses content analysis method to conduct this study. It focuses on colored pictures since they are easy to be distinguished and attractive for students. It also shows the characteristics of each race better. Besides, characters are chosen to show racial presentation in each frame. All pictures are sorted based on the racial categories; Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasoid, and ‘Others'. Besides, this study investigates the combination of those racial groups within the pictures frames.


The finding shows the comparison between colored and non-colored pictures are 83.6% (61 frames) and 16.4% (12 frames) out of 100% (73 frames)


respectively. 29.5% (18 frames) out of 100% (61 frames) of colored pictures are in form of photograph while the rest, 70.5% (43 frames) are cartoon. In the way those races are combined, Caucasoid appear in all combination. In single race picture, Caucasoid appeared as the most frequent (17 frames) among others. Furthermore, it dominates the racial characters by 46.8% (127 characters), Mongoloid 21.4% (58 characters), Negroid 16.6% (45 characters), and ‘Others' 15.2% (41 characters) only out of 271 characters. Based on the findings, the coursebook reflects inferior complex in its pictures and shows Western superiority among other races. This coursebook less conveys local and national values. The notion of ‘Orientalism' influences this coursebook contents a lot.


This study will be beneficial for teachers, students on how to select and use a coursebook. Besides, the coursebook writer should be more aware of the contents details. In addition, it is suggested for the EFL teachers to be more


selective in choosing teaching material and be more critical for students. The


coursebook maker should balance the local, national, and international contents. Moreover, the representation of the ethnic groups has to be balanced. It should not focus on one ethnic group (e.g. Javanese).