intersectionality

MEL Notes: Just for Laughs: How Race Affects Enjoyment of Ethnic-Oriented Comedy

MEL Notes:  Just for Laughs: How Race Affects Enjoyment of Ethnic-Oriented Comedy

The overall findings of Dr. Banjo and her co-authors research were fascinating, but they also raised many important questions. In order to uncover the true effects of in-group and out-group viewing conditions and understand what compels people to enjoy ethnic-oriented comedy programming, the experimental study could be replicated with a different sample and a different minority population—Asian-Americans.

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MEL Notes – Insert Stereotypical Blog Name Here

MEL Notes – Insert Stereotypical Blog Name Here

There is no questioning that television is a dominant source for information that assists us in understanding others and ourselves. What we watch on television helps us define social standards and behavioral norms. It tells us who should be esteemed and who should be ridiculed. For better or for worse, television is a powerful information source that has the ability to shape the way we think and act.

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MEL Notes: Social Roles and Stereotyping

MEL Notes: Social Roles and Stereotyping

The week of February 15 we spent the class period discussing social groups, stereotyping and the role media play in creating, distributing and perpetuating individuals’ perceptions of others. In many instances, media become the only venue through which we may come to interact with and learn about individuals who are dissimilar from ourselves. So, understanding how the media actually depict certain groups of people (especially marginalized groups), becomes important as these representations can have effects on media consumers and how we navigate the world.

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MEL Notes: Effects of Racial and Ethnic Minority Portrayals on Television

MEL Notes: Effects of Racial and Ethnic Minority Portrayals on Television

This post is written in response to: Ramasubramanian, S. (2010). Television viewing, racial attitudes, and policy preferences: Exploring the role of social identity and intergroup emotions in influencing support for affirmative action. Communication Monographs, 77(1), 102-120. doi: 10.1080/03637750903514300.    Folasade Adesanya is a first year masters student in the Manship School of Mass Communication. Her research interests explore how exposure to news media influences individuals’ perceptions of race and police violence. Racial minorities are generally given stereotypical roles in the media. We all know of Tyler Perry’s Madea, the tough, loud, short tempered and stereotypically “ghetto” African American character we love to watch. Or Sophia Vergara’s character on Modern Family – Gloria – who is the feisty, overly sexualized trophy wife from Colombia. These portrayals are often seen as no big deal, because it is “just entertainment” – not to be taken seriously. Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian disagrees. She suggests that the media affect our opinions, attitudes, prejudices, and actions. The media can influence any and all of our cognitive processes – even something as seemingly unrelated as support for policy decisions (S. Ramasubramanian, personal communication, February 16, 2016). Ramasubramanian conducted a study to prove this point. The study focused on how portrayals of African Americans and Latino Americans on television affect Whites’ attitudes toward them in real life. The high frequency of stereotypical portrayals of minorities on television presumably reinforces stereotypical beliefs in Whites and fosters prejudice. She hypothesized that the prejudicial feelings would ultimately lead to lack of support for pro-minority government policies like affirmative action (Ramasubramanian, 2010). Approximately 274 White college students participated in a survey measuring perceived portrayals of racial/ethnic groups on television, stereotypical beliefs, prejudicial feelings, and policy support. Ramasubramanian found that her hypothesis was supported. As perceived stereotypical portrayals of African Americans and Latino Americans on television increased, negative real life stereotypical feelings increased, hostility toward African Americans and Latino Americans increased, and support for affirmative action policies decreased. These findings suggest that television plays a prominent role in influencing viewers’ racial attitudes and policy preferences (Ramasubramanian, 2010). What is even more significant about these findings is that they prove that the media affects many of our decisions and attitudes, even if we do not realize it. As for the best way to combat this issue – there is no clear answer. Ramasubramanian suggests having more diverse portrayals of all racial minorities on television as a logical start....

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MEL Notes: In-Group Bias and Comedy

MEL Notes:  In-Group Bias and Comedy

This post is written in response to: Banjo, O.O., Appiah, O. Wang, Z., Brown, C., Walther, W. O. (2015). Co-viewing effects of ethnic-oriented programming. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92(3), 662- 680. doi: 10.1177/1077699015581804. Lunden Chenevert is a first year masters student in the Manship School of Mass Communication. Her research interest focuses how means of communication, specifically social media, affects how people consume political information. In “Co-Viewing Effects of Ethnic-Oriented Programming: An Examination if In-Group Bias and Racial Comedy Exposure,” researchers had black and white participants watch The Boondocks in a co-viewing setting with either in-group members or out-group members. After viewing the comedy program, participants were asked about: perceived similarity with the characters, identification with the characters, attitudes toward the show, feeling of excitement and absorption in the show. Researchers were looking to determine participant’s level of social identity. They wanted to know if the context in which the content is viewed had an affect on viewers. The research conducted by Omotayo Banjo, Osei Appiah, Zheng Wang, Christopher Brown and Whitney Walther confirms that black television viewers find ethnic-oriented programming more rewarding than white viewers. They found that black participants conveyed more positive excitement, attitudes, and absorption than white participants. The viewing condition did not have affect with these dependent measures. The viewing condition did have an affect when measuring identification and perceived similarity with the characters. Black participants responded more positively when viewing with in-group members as compared to viewing with out-group members. Regardless of the dependent measure and viewing condition, white participants showed no significant results. In a future study examining co-viewing effects with in-group and out-group members, I think it would be beneficial to have a control group that would view the program alone. Comparing the co-viewing condition to an along viewing condition could strengthen the findings. Another addition to a future study would be to include Latino Americans to the participant pool. Not only would it be interesting to see how they respond to Latino portrayals on television, but also to see how they respond to other minority group portrayals. Latino Americans are currently the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States, but they are more underrepresented on television than African Americans. While talking with Dr. Banjo during a video conference call with my classmates, the underrepresentation of Latino Americans was mentioned. She pointed out how the language barrier could...

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