Who we see, hear, and read on television, radio, newspapers, and in movies has a great
deal of influence on shaping the attitudes of all Americans. How African, Hispanic
(Latino), and Asian Americans are portrayed in these mediums often stereotypes and
reinforces negative images of each ethnic group. And the lack of diversity in the
media impacts how stories are covered and limits opportunities for Ethnic minorities in
According to a recent study by Children Now, the 8 to 9 PM television-viewing
"family hour" is the least ethnically diverse, with only one in eight programs
having a mixed cast. This sends highly skewed messages about diversity in America to
viewers, especially children.
The Screen Actors Guild, which collects ethnicity data on all casting roles in TV and
film, reported that roles for African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans for the
first time declined in 1998, in spite of the increasing visibility of this issue.
We should be concerned about having the casts on TV programs reflect the ethnic
diversity that exists in society at large, and ensuring that news reporting is fair,
balanced, and color-blind. What can be done to change this? Contact your TV or
radio station directly to voice your concerns. You can also write a letter to the
sponsors of the programs - they are always concerned about being associated with
controversy and have the power to make changes.