Fall Colors: How Diverse is the Prime-Time Lineup?, 2000

Jan 02, 2000

Download file: fall_colors_lineup_2000.pdf

Children today are growing up in an era of increasing racial and ethnic diversity. In a 1998 Children Now poll, over three fourths of children reported having a best friend of a different race. While diversity is easily seen in many children’s lives, the question remains whether this diversity is reflected in television programming. Television is a significant influence, with children spending, on average, about 2 hours a day and 20 hours a week viewing TV. Young people get clear messages about racial and class divisions and their own racial identity through the characters they see in television programs. For example, children see that media gives recognition and respect to racial groups that are positively portrayed. Yet, when children do not see members of their racial group on television, it “suggests that they are not worthy of viewers’ attention.” With the changes in racial demographics and the steady influence of television media in children’s lives, an examination of racial diversity on television is increasingly important.

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