ERIC Number: ED444707
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Fall Colors II: Exploring the Quality of Diverse Portrayals on Prime Time Television.
Heintz-Knowles, Katharine E.; Chen, Perry; Miller, Patti; Haufler, Adrienne
Children understand that media grant recognition and respect to racial groups that are positively portrayed. Approximately half of the programs in the 1999-2000 broadcast prime time entertainment programming exhibited some diversity in their opening credits casts. This study examined the nature of the portrayals of diversity. The study examined 10 "mixed" programs (character set included a mix of racial and ethnic characters) and 10 "only one" programs (all characters but one in program character set belong to the same racial group). Two additional programs with predominantly African American casts were selected for comparison. The first three episodes were recorded for each program and coded. Among the major findings are the following: (1) African American characters overall were more likely to be integral to primary storylines in situation comedies than in dramas; (2) Asian Pacific American characters were seen the least frequently; (3) the few Latino characters were more often integral to secondary dramatic storylines than to primary ones; (4) characters of different races frequently interacted professionally, sometimes socially, rarely romantically; (5) many shows adopted a colorblind approach to interracial interactions, with the exception to colorblind portrayals being racial humor and stereotyping by characters of one race toward characters of another; (6) much of the racial humor and stereotyping targeted Asian Pacific Americans and Latinos; (7) characters of color tended to be shown at work/school or home, whereas white characters were shown in both environments; (8) nonwhite characters, particularly African Americans, were likely to be portrayed as successful, good, and competent, whereas white characters were more likely than nonwhite to be shown as unsuccessful, bad, or incompetent; and (9) programs featured many African American characters that could be positive role models for viewers. (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Children Now, Oakland, CA.