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Background and Statement of the Problem



The representation of race, gender, and ethnicity on television has been the object of much research as evidence of the power of media characterizations achieve in perpetuating stereotypical ideas and preconceived notions about specific social groups (Giles et al., 1977; Macrae et. al., 1995; Graves, 1999; Harwood & Anderson, 2002). Television is an important medium where the relations and interactions between social groups, stereotyping, and group identity are presented (Harwood & Anderson, 2002).
Stereotyping is a concept that has been linked to television production and audience response. Stereotyping as defined here is when one evaluates and attributes oversimplified generalized characteristics to members of a certain group (Allport, 1954/1979; Macrae et. al., 1996). Some psychologists have suggested that a component of the process of stereotyping is categorization, which is a required process that people use to make sense of the world (Allport, 1954,1979; Stephan, 1985). However, stereotyping implies an uncritical thought, a pre-judgment response bias of what the other person might be or represent. It creates a rigid expectation of people, discounting their individuality, and may ultimately lead to people’s prejudice against different groups (Devine, 1989).

Television portrayal of different social groups, not limited to race, but also to age and gender, received the attention of numerous studies (Harwood & Anderson, 2002). Some studies of frequent television viewers (Gerbner et al., 1982, 1984) argue that this mass medium plays a dominant role in defining people’s cultural and social values, and in shaping the viewer’s worldview. A recent quantitative research of race and gender representation in television advertisement in the US (Coltrane & Messino, 2000), demonstrated that TV commercials continue to reproduce many stereotypes of race and gender. According to the study, contrary to earlier studies, African American men are frequently portrayed as independent and respectful. However, they are depicted as aggressive and gaining visibility primarily through sports. While white women were shown more frequently as sex objects, African American women’s beauty was not as revered, and their commercials did not allow for the portrayal of romance and family bliss. From their observation, Latinos/as, Asian Americans, and Native Americans are practically invisible.

Regarding the influence of television portrayal of social groups, Graves (1999) points out that both forms of television representation, either by including or excluding race or ethnicity, influence children’s beliefs about racial and ethnic groups. Graves believes that by omitting certain ethnic or racial segments of society, there is an implication that viewers might infer that this group is not important, negligible, and powerless. However, television effects are not limited to children, as Harwood & Anderson (2002) point out:

…the media are transmitting and perpetuating stereotypes of social groups, and these images are affecting majority and minority group members' perceptions of groups and intergroup relations

 



 


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements / Dedication - Abstract

CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION
01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE




Acknowledgements / Dedication -

Abstract


CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

CHAPTER III - THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

CHAPTER IV - THE STUDY

CHAPTER V - THE RESULTS

CHAPTER VI - CONCLUSION

APPENDIX - MESSAGES STUDIED

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