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The critical aspects of media performance with regards to race and ethnicity

Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. Media Content and Effects Summary and Keywords Research empirically investigating the influence of media exposure on issues of race and ethnicity has long documented that media use meaningfully impacts the cognitions, emotions, and behaviors of audience members.

Consequently, it is both practically and theoretically important to both identify how and how often different groups are portrayed across the media landscape as well as to assess the ways in which exposure to this content influences media audiences.

Thus, whereas Blacks have achieved a degree of parity when it comes to the quantity of depictions on primetime U. Further, the same advances have not been seen for Blacks in news, in film, and across other media forms and platforms. For Latinos, little has changed across decades when it comes to numeric representation in the media. When it comes to the quality of these portrayals, although some of the more egregious media stereotypes have faded, other long-standing media definitions of Latinos remain persistent.

Within these infrequent images, a constrained set of characterizations often predominates, such as spiritual American Indians, tech-savvy Asian Americans, and terrorist Muslims. Exposure to these representations has consequences.

  • Given that Native Americans are nearly if not entirely absent on television, they have not been the subject of quantitative content analytic investigations;
  • The Harmful Implications of Exposure on Audiences Studies investigating the implications of viewing unfavorable media depictions of Latinos have consistently revealed that exposure can have a harmful influence on consumers;
  • It is, therefore, difficult to offer insights into the numeric representation of Latinos in the movies;
  • These shows were meaningful in that their predominately black casts helped bring more representations of Black Americans to the small screen;
  • They are essentially invisible on primetime television;
  • Although identification with Black characters and overall exposure to black-oriented media were not associated with improved self-esteem, her survey-based findings reveal that among black high school students, identification with Black male characters was associated with higher appearance self-esteem.

When media characterizations are favorable, more auspicious outcomes emerge. For the racial and ethnic groups being depicted, the effects of exposure again depend on the quantity and quality of portrayals. Negative characterizations prompt shame, anger, and other undesirable emotions and lead to esteem problems. On the other hand, some research indicates that favorable characterizations can serve as a source of group pride, which boosts esteem.

There is variation in both how and how often different groups appear in the media. Further, in many cases these groups often constrained to a limited range of often stereotypical roles. However, this varies based on the group, the medium, and genres within media. Viewing these media depictions is consequential. Experimental and survey-based evidence consistently indicates that exposure to content offered in mainstream U.

Given this, it is important to understand both how diverse groups are characterized in the media and what the range of possible individual and societal implications are when it comes to exposure to these messages. The rate of media representation is an important consideration as it is a marker of societal intergroup dynamics the critical aspects of media performance with regards to race and ethnicity can influence perception about the status, strength, and standing of groups in society.

However, it is important to also consider these numbers in light of variations across genre, as viewership preferences i. Indeed, research reveals this to be the case. In a series of examinations of primetime television programs spanning 1997—2008, Signorielli 2009a2009b found that overall numeric parity for Black characters on TV concealed the fact that they were isolated to a few channels and genres.

In particular, Black characters were predominately seen in situation comedies and on networks with lower overall viewership, namely UPN and The WB. A similar pattern was revealed by Harwood and Anderson 2002 who found that the increase in Black characters on TV resulted from appearances in only seven of the 61 shows sampled.

More specifically, Signorielli 2009a found that genre distinctions exist based on race. Given this, Signorielli 2009a argued that continued segregation indeed exists on TV but is masked by the overall numbers that emerge due to programming with a preponderance of minority characters. One should not dismiss these genre-based distinctions as insignificant. For example, the extended time and narrative arch in dramas may mean that more multifaceted and complete characters are presented.

On the other hand, sitcoms given the shorter time and often abridged arcs are less likely to provide such character development. Thus, the disproportionate representation of characters in sitcoms has the potential to be problematic as these characters may lack development and even rely on stereotypic notions that can prompt unfavorable real-world outcomes if these representations are unfavorable.

How, then, are Blacks depicted? Quality of Television Portrayals Taking a historical look at depictions of Blacks reveals that many notable changes have emerged over the decades. In the 1950s portrayals of Blacks were dominated by unfavorable archetypes such as loyal but subservient mammies and ridiculed buffoons e.

Generally, Black characters function to serve and amuse their white counterparts on television.

Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Media Content and Effects

However, changes began to emerge by the end of the 1960s. Although these new images of Blacks offered idyllic representations of Blacks and U. These shows were meaningful in that their predominately black casts helped bring more representations of Black Americans to the small screen. However, even in these shows, depictions of Blacks were still often stereotypical e.

Further, characters harkening back to the mammy and buffoon persisted. For example, on shows such as The Jeffersons 1975—1985 more contemporary mammy characters appeared who deviated in appearance and lifestyle from these previous figures but reflected much the same overarching theme. In particular, these characters in the 1970s represented a range of skin tones and served affluent white and Black families. However, in these updated sitcoms, Blacks were often seen exclusively as care free figures, leaving these characters underdeveloped.

This shift stems primarily from the success of The Cosby Show and has remained the norm. The average Black primetime character on TV today is a middle-class male, found in a professional or law-related occupation. This is owing in part to the fact that more Blacks are seen on TV, which facilitates the use of quantitative analyses.

The critical aspects of media performance with regards to race and ethnicity

In addition, such quantitative content analyses have focused attention on a range of theoretically and practically meaningful attributes e. In so doing, this work reveals that TV depictions of Blacks have moved beyond the unflattering images seen in the past.

When taken together, content analytic evidence suggests that although advances have been made in terms of the overall rate of portrayals, a number of unfavorable stereotypes seem to persist at least in certain contexts or genres. Quantity and Quality of Film and Advertising Portrayals Portrayals of Blacks in film and commercial advertising have been the focus of fewer quantitative content analyses than representations on TV.

Although limited, work in this area reveals that these characterizations are not altogether unlike those seen on primetime television.

In both domains, the number of Black representations has increased over the years, to a rate that reflects their proportion of the U. However, parity in the sheer number of portrayals does not appear to be indicative of equity in the quality of these characterizations.

  1. Similarly, in a study of 150 top-selling video games which included 4,966 human figures only 2.
  2. They are essentially invisible on primetime television.
  3. Race, ethnicity and education, 6 2 , critical race theory meets intersectionality also considers how multiple categories of difference interact with regards. Early-20th-century cinema was marked by unflattering depictions of diverse groups and Latinos were no exception.

Broadly speaking, empirical evidence indicates that viewing such depictions among white audiences promotes harmful perceptions about Blacks in society e.

In particular, research indicates that exposure to negative characterizations of Blacks in the media can promote unfavorable attitudes and beliefs pertaining to intelligence, criminality, socioeconomic status, work ethic, and values e. On the other hand, viewing positive depictions under certain conditions can produce more constructive and sympathetic views about diverse groups as well as more favorable policy positions among white audiences e.

On the other hand, viewing public affairs programming was not related to esteem. During this time period i. Consequently, Tan and Tan 1979p. Her work revealed several genre-specific outcomes. First, viewing sports programs was negatively associated with racial self-esteem, performance self-esteem, and social self-esteem.

Second, viewing music videos was also negatively correlated with performance self-esteem. On the other hand, primetime television use was unrelated to any measure of esteem. Their results revealed television use to be negatively associated with the self-esteem of Black but not white children. Despite this, Latino characters are rarely seen on television. In fact, the only decade during which the proportion of Latinos on television was comparable with their percent of the U.

Although the Latino population has risen dramatically since that time, the number of Latinos on television has stagnated and even decreased during certain decades. The negligible improvements that emerged in the 1990s with Latinos representing between 1.

Several situation comedies emerged in the early 2000s which cautiously suggested the potential for improvements in the number of Latinos on TV. Shows such as Luis 2003The Ortegas 2003and The George Lopez Show 2002—2007 featured predominately Latino casts and seemed to indicate a shift in programming. Regrettably, such a trend failed to emerge. Only The George Lopez Show was renewed, remaining on the air for five seasons. During that decade, a mere 3.

Although this marks a notable increase over previous decades, it falls well below their proportion of the U. Analyses from content analyses during the 2010s suggest that the number of Latino portrayals on television remains strikingly low when compared to U. Instead, Latinas are more likely than Latino men to be found in leading and secondary e. Thus, despite the critical and popular success of the CWs, Jane the Virgin featuring a predominately Latino castas of this writing the TV landscape appears to have made little improvement in terms of the overall quantity of Latino representations.

These sexual figures are both sensual but also hot-tempered and sexually aggressive Berg, 1990. Regrettably, research indicates that only rarely are Latinos portrayed as having high-status jobs. Quantity and Quality of Film Portrayals Many of the patterns in representation found in televised depictions of Latinos also exist in popular film. It is, therefore, difficult to offer insights into the numeric representation of Latinos in the movies.

It seems probable, however, that trends in the underrepresentation of Latinos that exist on television are also likely in Hollywood cinema. This assertion is supported by a recent analysis of top-grossing films across 11 countries that found that Latinos comprised a mere 1. Early-20th-century cinema was marked by unflattering depictions of diverse groups and Latinos were no exception.

Here, we saw Latinos presented as pillaging bandits, who were morally corrupt and intellectually lacking. As a result of outcry from Latin American countries who were unwilling to continue to import U.

By the 1960s, however, films featuring Latinos decreased significantly, and a resurgence of depictions with Latinos as treacherous and dishonorable villains emerged. Of course, some exceptions can be identified during this decade e. More recently, a handful of Latino actors and filmmakers have achieved superstardom; however, their successes have not yet appeared to signal a change in the quality of Latino characters in the U.

Quantity and Quality of Video Game Characterizations Investigations into the characterization of Latinos in video games are uncommon.

However, the research that does exist indicates that Latinos are again underrepresented compared with their proportion of the population. In an examination of the top-selling game titles for seven major consoles. At the time of the study, Latinos comprised 12. Similarly, in a study of 150 top-selling video games which included 4,966 human figures only 2.

In this analysis, the vast majority of characters were white 80. Moreover, Latinos did not appear as primary characters in any game appearing only as secondary characters. If these data are representative of the current video game environment, it is fair to say that the meagre gains in representation that Latinos have achieved on television are not being realized in the gaming world.

There is also limited evidence suggesting that some of the common stereotypes of Latinos that have been seen in other forms of media are perpetuated in this environment. Although some have argued that Latinos and Blacks appear more often in violent subgenres of gaming, which prominently feature brutal, and illegal acts e.