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Contemporary depictions of race
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Contemporary depictions of race. What role in modern society?. Continuing differences. The economic fortunes of African Americans continue to fall far below those of Caucasian Americans despite the removal of formal, legal barriers to black advancement. Theories of race relations.

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Contemporary depictions of race

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Contemporary depictions of race

Contemporary depictions of race

What role in modern society?

Continuing differences

Continuing differences

  • The economic fortunes of African Americans continue to fall far below those of Caucasian Americans despite the removal of formal, legal barriers to black advancement

Theories of race relations

Theories of race relations

  • Sociobiological theories

    • Tribal sharing of genetic code

  • Racial superiority theories

    • Social Darwinism

  • Political economy theories

    • Divide and conquer by upper class

    • Construction of ‘race’ and inequality to justify slavery, unequal treatment

  • Cultural theories

    • Race is mostly a cultural construct that is powerful because of its resonance with religion, folkways, and familial and clan beliefs and loyalties

Do depictions matter

Do depictions matter?

  • The evidence points to a relationship among whites between exposure to stereotypic racial depictions and stereotyping

  • However, the relationship between minority exposure to depictions and lowered self-esteem is mixed. When parents co-watch the exposure can enhance self-esteem. Effects on Latino/Hispanic children are unclear.

Contemporary depictions of race ethnicity

Contemporary depictions of race, ethnicity

  • Certain groups continue to be underrepresented

    • Latino/Hispanic groups

    • Native American/Aleut

  • Overt racism, stereotyping is unacceptable to most audiences, members of media professions

    • With the possible exception of Arabs

Contemporary depictions of race

  • More subtle differences in treatment of minority and majority characters may still be in place, however

    • Black male leads don’t kiss white women (or any women, for that matter)

    • Continued overrepresentation of minority/ethnic law enforcement

    • Depiction of subcultures tied to characters

      • Overly uniform

Changes in societal attitudes

Changes in societal attitudes

  • Clearly, social attitudes have become more liberal in terms of race and ethnicity

  • Your generation is far more accepting of interracial contact of all sorts than earlier generations

  • Less stereotypical view of racial and ethnic minorities

    • not clear in regard to Arabs, a few others



  • There is an alarming rise in the number and size of race hatred groups

    • Extremism on the rise

  • Views about racism itself are changing

    • General belief that racism is not the source of continued social disadvantage experienced by African Americans

    • “Burnout” in regards to discussion of race

    • Satirical treatment of racism rather than silence or direct confrontation

Concerns over representation

Concerns over representation

  • There is a greater concern among both Caucasian and African Americans about representation of African Americans in rap and hip-hop than in mainstream television, film, or other forms of music

Race may be declining as a focus of identity

Race may be declining as a focus of identity

  • Identity is crucial to behavior and personal satisfaction

  • Constructing a personal identity is one of the most compelling and difficult tasks children and adolescents undertake

  • It may be that popular culture plays a critical role in identity development

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