Mastro & Behm-Morawitz

Mastro & Behm-Morawitz - LATINO REPRESENTATION ON...

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Unformatted text preview: LATINO REPRESENTATION ON PRIMETIME TELEVISION By Dana E. Mastro and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz This study analyzes the frequency and quality of depictions of Latinos during the 2002 primetime television season. Research on cultivation theory and social identity theory provides insight into the potential implications of exposure to these images. Findijtgs suggest that while advances have been made in terms of the quality of depictions of Latinos, many of these images remain tied to a few, longstanding media stereo- types. In addition, the rate at which Latinos are portrayed on television remains dramatically below that of the real-world population. Introduction Despite promises of improvements in Latino depictions by major U.S. networks, the limited portrayal of Latinos on primetime television remains a persistent issue. Headlines such as "Where are the Latinos?"' highlight this striking absence. Since the National Council of La Raza participated in a 1999 "brownout" encouraging a one-week boycott of programming, networks have pledged to increase the frequency and quality of Latino representations. To date, however, efforts have result- ed in only incremental advances.^ At 12.5% of the population. Latinos constitute the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the United States.^ Yet research suggests that they remain dramatically underrepresented on television compared with real-world figures—typically comprising 1% to 3% of the primetime television population.* Although decades of research document images of African Americans on television, few quantitative studies have focused speciti- cally on characterizations of Latinos. To this end, a two-week sample of primetime entertainment programming was systematically ex- amined to determine the quantity and quality of portrayals of Latinos. Although effects cannot be determined from content, such data provide insights into the potential influence of consumption on consumers when viewed from the perspectives of cultivation theory and social identity theory. Portrayals of Latinos on Television. Empirical research has consis- tently demonstrated the influence of exposure to television imagery on viewers' real-world perceptions regarding racial/ethnic groups in U.S. society.^ These studies have revealed modest but significant associations between viewing media portrayals of race/ethnicity and outcomes con- cerning attributions of competence,* socioeconomic status,^ group sta- Dana E. Mastro is an assistant professor and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz is a Ph.D. stu- dent in the Department of Communication at the University of Arizona. ¡&MC Qua Vol. 82, No. 1 Spring 2005 110-130 ©2005 AEIMC 110 JOURNALISM & MASS COMMUNICATION QUARTERLY tus,* social roles,' as well as stereotypical judgments.'" Examining the portrayals of Latinos on television, therefore, is of both social and theo- retical significance....
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Mastro & Behm-Morawitz - LATINO REPRESENTATION ON...

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