ERIC Number: ED204444
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Assessing Multi-cultural Television Characters for Children. Revised.
LaRose, Robert; Eisenstock, Barbara
Two studies were undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of portrayals of minority group characters in television productions. One study evaluated minority children's identification with minority characters in the "Superfriends" series. The second study focused on interracial attitude changes associated with exposure to a pilot for "The New Americans," a multicultural series about Indochinese children. The study population consisted of several hundred elementary school children from different ethnic groups. Measurement instruments included a semantic differential tool, an adaptation of the Projective Prejudice Test, a social distance scale, and measures of intergroup similarity and knowledge of Indochinese people. In the first study, Black and American Indian children were found to identify more with characters from their own racial group, while Hispanic and Asian children tended to identify more with Anglo characters. In the second study, positive changes in Anglo, Black and Hispanic children's attitudes toward Indochinese children were noted; among Indochinese children of different nationalities, however, a negative attitude change toward Vietnamese children occurred. The results show that: (1) it is possible to create minority television characters that will overcome minority children's tendency to identify more with Anglos than with models from their own group; and (2) mere exposure to minority portrayals will not invariably have a positive effect on interracial attitudes. (MK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Earlier version of paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mass Communication Division of the International Communication Association (Minneapolis, MN, 1981).